Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

Teaching the Whole Student: Integrating Wellness Education into the Academic Classroom


College students are increasingly reporting higher stress, which can negatively influence their personal and intellectual development. Greater academic challenges and new social experiences in college may be accompanied by stressors like mental health issues, family concerns, or financial pressures. To help students manage stress, institutions typically provide resources through health services, student life or student affairs, recreation departments, or other entities that operates primarily outside the academic program. Recently, some institutions have integrated wellness education into the academic curriculum, leveraging the power of the classroom to deliver important lessons about accessible, evidence-based wellness strategies. Here we investigate if a first-year interdisciplinary writing class designed to help students learn about physical and mental wellbeing actually improved students’ awareness of their wellbeing and their confidence as first year learners. We share details of the course design, evidence of student learning, and advice for incorporating wellness content throughout the curriculum.

Published: 2019-12-16
Pages:92 to 103
Section:Practice Reports
How to Cite
Johnson, J., Bauman, C., & Pociask, S. (2019). Teaching the Whole Student: Integrating Wellness Education into the Academic Classroom. Student Success, 10(3), 92-103.

Author Biographies

Wellesley College
United States United States

Jeannine Johnson is Director of the Writing Program and a Senior Lecturer in Writing at Wellesley College. Her teaching and research interests include poetry, art, women's education, and sport and society. She received her PhD in English from Yale University.

Wellesley College
United States United States

Connie Bauman, Emerita Professor of the Practice, Wellesley College, is currently researching and developing functional cognitive wellbeing modules for integration into the academic curriculum to enhance learning and strengthen student health and wellness. Professor Bauman received the Pinanski Prize for excellence in teaching at Wellesley in 2010.

Wellesley College
United States United States

Sarah Pociask is a Teaching and Learning Assessment Specialist at Wellesley College where she collaborates with instructors on the design, implementation, and assessment of evidence-based teaching approaches. Sarah received her PhD in Cognitive Science from Stony Brook University and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795