Update on Wellbeing at UCC from Scott Cowie
There are many exciting initiatives underway as we continue to develop our whole-school approach to wellbeing. Below are updates on progress towards some of our near-term initiatives.
It’s important as a community that we have a common understanding of what wellbeing means at UCC. To help further our thinking in this area we have assembled a working group of faculty and staff. In the new year, this group will be reaching out to members of our UCC community to gather feedback.
Dr. Geoff Sorge was recently appointed the College’s first full-time psychologist. UCC is one of very few schools in Canada to have a psychologist on staff and we are fortunate to have Dr. Sorge as part of our dedicated Health Centre team. His previous experience in schools and expertise is of great value as we review the processes and practices we use to support the social and emotional wellbeing of our boys. Dr. Sorge is also providing advice to faculty and staff through consultative conversations with the goal to help our boys become their best selves.
Old Boy Focus Groups
This fall we hosted a number of focus groups with young Old Boys currently working on their undergraduate degrees to talk about their transition from UCC to university. Focus groups were facilitated by myself and Avia Peacock, a nurse and psychotherapist on our Health Centre team. Discussions centred around the successes and challenges experienced by young graduates as they transition to and through university. I will be inviting some of the Old Boys involved in these discussions to return to UCC during their reading week breaks to participate in a panel discussion with Year 12 boys.
At the beginning of this academic year, we hosted a full-day workshop for faculty and staff on wellbeing facilitated by Dr. Mathew White, Associate Professor from the University of Adelaide.
Since that inaugural session, our boys, employees and parents have heard from several other experts on wellbeing topics. Last week, Dr. Anthony Levitt spoke to Upper School boys about cannabis and substance use. I’m grateful for the school’s partnerships with our Parents Organizations who have supported our wellbeing education efforts with sponsored speakers on the topics of resilience and mindfulness. I’m also pleased to announce an upcoming session with Dr. Lea Waters, a renowned psychologist, researcher and leading expert on wellbeing, who will speak to the boys, employees and parents on March 25. Please save the date.
UCC has engaged in a research project with the University of Adelaide to measure the wellbeing of our students (Y6-Y12) and employees. This will include Dr. Mathew White and Dr. Faye McCallum creating and facilitating a survey to the UCC community. In addition, they will share a written report back to our community before the end of this academic year. The survey will be available to boys and employees in the new year. A note from Principal McKinney will follow shortly with more information about the survey.
Please watch Heads Up for updates on all our wellbeing initiatives and feel free to get in touch with me to share feedback and suggestions.