Building student resilience

Resilience is fundamental for student retention and it is one of our graduate attributes.  Resilience enables students to cope with the challenges, obstacles and setbacks they are likely to experience on their learning journey, and to graduate with the capabilities and mind set for success.  The term can be applied to both academic and personal aspects of the student experience and is increasingly associated with student well-being, academic buoyancy and a ‘growth mindset’.

A proactive approach to developing student resilience as part of the curriculum at Worcester is therefore important because it will support our objectives to improve student retention and graduate outcomes.  We want our students to understand and demonstrate the behaviours, actions and mindsets that constitute resilience, and to be able to articulate this to potential employers.

Some of the strategies identified by colleagues working with higher education students on developing resilience include

  • Helping to build positive relationships and connectedness
  • Promoting positive emotions
  • Fostering a sense of competence
  • Teaching the importance of health and well-being
  • Encouraging goal-setting
  • Developing problem-solving skills
  • Cultivating a growth mind set
  • Practicing gratitude

We have collated a selection of resources about building student (and in some cases staff) resilience for colleagues to find out more, access useful resources, and inspire the design of sessions with an explicit ‘resilience’ focus.

If you have developed resources with resilience or well-being in mind, please do let us know and if possible share them via the blog.

Strategies for building student resilience

Short blog post outlining five practical strategies for building student resilience:

Article on the importance of developing resilient mindsets and coping strategies and associated ‘resilience teaching tips’ – can be applied to learners of any age or orientation:

More in-depth analysis of student resilience in the context of higher education.  Includes reference to research on various resilience domains and HE case studies:

AMOSSHE / Unite Students resilience toolkit: a resource bank of research, case studies and practical tools to develop student and staff resilience to stress, anxiety and similar barriers to achievement and success.  The toolkit advocates a positive and proactive approach to student resilience, focusing on what higher education providers can do to develop supportive, enabling cultures for students by making improvements to their physical and social environment:

Excellent publication on how educational technology can support staff and student wellbeing, including case studies:

Teaching and support resources

Link to Canterbury Christ Church University’s webpage of resources for staff who want to help students develop resilience.  Includes short videos you could use with students:

PowerPoint developed by the OU on student resilience and what enables some students to have that bounce back ability:

Resources developed by the University of Edinburgh for working with students to build resilience:

Brilliant resources and tips on personal academic tutoring – which is really central to building resilience:

University of Dundee webpage with lots of videos that could potentially be used with students:

Resources aimed at students to help them understand and develop academic resilience. Could be used to develop your own resources:

If you have resources to share or want to be involved in developing student resilience, contact Suzanne Horton:


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