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.