“Creating mental health-positive environments via principles of universal design” Sarah Whitwell & Sam Clarke
Jul 13, 2023
12:00AM to 11:59PM
Date(s) - 13/07/2023
This workshop focuses on the creation of mental health-positive learning environments and the tenets of universal design. We will first set a foundation by discussing research on mental health in postsecondary settings, including recent trends and promising initiatives. Key topics will center around accessibility, equity, and community-building via course design—especially in light of online learning and the pandemic. The group will then be guided through several case-based exercises to make the discussion more concrete. Approaching these topics with curiosity rather than judgement, our hope is that the conversation will draw upon the diverse backgrounds of everyone in the group, allowing us all to share and elucidate best practices.
Sarah Whitwell is an educational developer with the Paul R. MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation & Excellence in Teaching. She recently completed her PhD in History at McMaster University and has several years of practical teaching experience in addition to her work in the field of educational development. Sarah’s teaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of active and inquiry-based learning, as well as creating an inclusive classroom environment where everyone feels as safe and comfortable as possible. To this end, she specializes in accessible educational practices in remote, in-person, and blended learning environments, along with student-centred approaches to teaching and learning.
Sam Clarke is an educational developer at the MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching here at McMaster. She specializes in accessible and equitable educational practices, as well as community-building and engagement in blended and online learning contexts. Sam is working toward completing her PhD in the Department of History, where she has put pedagogical theory into practice as a teaching assistant and sessional instructor. As an instructor, Sam’s teaching philosophy is premised on compassion: just as she seeks to understand the motives behind historical actors’ decisions, she seeks to understand students’ needs and motivations for learning in order to better support them in achieving their goals. She believes in student-centred learning experiences, including active learning, multiple methods of engagement, representation, and expression, and feedback which is supportive and solutions-based. Both learning and teaching are iterative processes and the goal should be to continuously improve and grow.