Theme to Be Addressed from Multiple Perspectives, Involving Students, Lecturers and Staff
In line with its embrace of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Wittenborg has chosen SDG number 3 – Good Health and Well-being – as the theme of the academic year 2022-2023. Therefore, the theme will be looked at from economic, sociological and political perspectives, with lecturers of undergraduate and post-graduate programmes being asked to address ‘Good Health and Well-being’ in every module they teach this year. Moreover, Wittenborg’s traditional themed project week, which takes place just before the Christmas break, will have the same focus.
Wittenborg president Peter Birdsall stressed that the business school does not choose a theme based on only one aspect of it, but rather intends its various dimensions to be carried across the teaching curriculum as well as the living environment. “When it comes to good health and well-being, you can apply it, for example, to the module Financial Management. The lecturer can address the link between government finance and healthcare provision, by discussing the number of doctors and nurses in the Netherlands and the budgets available to train these people, in order to create a better healthcare service,” he said.
The school started this initiative last year, when ‘Climate Change’ was chosen as the theme of the academic year 2021-2022. In December, after the last themed project week was concluded, students voted ‘Good Health and Well-being’ as the next theme, choosing it over other possible topics. Subsequently, during the Student & Staff Representation Conference Day on 22 February, both students and staff agreed that health and well-being was an ongoing concern among all of them.
According to Birdsall, although the COVID-19 pandemic might have been one of the reasons why ‘Good Health and Well-being’ was chosen as this year’s theme, this is not a new area of concern for the school. “Good health and well-being has been on Wittenborg’s agenda for a number of years, and has been a recurring theme in discussions with student and staff representatives during the past five years. We have taken the opportunity of choosing this theme to highlight the work we have been doing to support students and staff with concerns about mental health care, as well as creating a healthy working environment. Assuming that we have a relatively Corona-free education year, we feel that it is now time to concentrate on health and well-being as a way of life, encompassing our working, studying and personal environments.”
He adds that, in view of the highly international mix of Wittenborg’s students and staff body, it is natural for health and well-being to be a crucial discussion point. “Many of our students and staff are confronted with new healthcare and support systems, and also face the risks of falling into bad habits when it comes to eating and drinking as well as exercise. In addition to that, they have to deal with the pressures caused by worldwide events, personal events and environmental factors – all of which can contribute to mental health issues. When it comes to the staff, work pressures, facilities and the atmosphere at work will also be significant topics, and students’ concerns may also include access to sport and fitness facilities, mental health care, counselling and support. So, there are plenty of questions to be addressed within this year’s theme, and it requires a multidimensional approach,” Birdsall sums up.
by Ulisses Sawczuk