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Panel sessions highlighted

Read more about two of the five panel sessions: well-being in specific subjects and student support.

Panel sessions highlighted

In this panel session, three good practices were explored that centred on student well-being. 

  1. Betty Huerta from Leiden University shared her approach to a course in which students are challenged to step into the shoes of an entrepreneur in the field of well-being. Throughout the course, the students develop new skills thanks to a challenge-based learning approach: they learn to reflect on their own expectations, work in a team, and take initiative. This approach positively affects the students’ well-being and teaches them skills they will need after their studies. 
  2. Semmelweis’ Humania Socialisation Workshop focuses on teaching soft skills to medicine and dentistry students. This is done using the Bálint approach, where participants discuss case studies in a safe environment, learn to be open to learning from each other, mirror each other, and discover their blind spots. The course is extremely popular and effective, explained Piroska Balog, because students get to know themselves better and acquire general psychological knowledge, which is enriching on many levels. The tutoring system also plays an important role in this approach, with many former students volunteering as tutors. 
  3. Finally, Monique van den Dries from Leiden University shared the results of her study on the effect of fieldwork on the well-being of Archaeology students during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is generally assumed that engaging in volunteer work or other archaeological activities has a positive effect on the well-being of Archaeology students. But how significant was this effect during the COVID-19 pandemic? The participating students were interviewed four times about their emotions during the fieldwork period and subsequent lab work period. The study showed that students felt happier than the control group, and that their well-being increased during the fieldwork period. 

One of the participants noted that this example showed how the role of lecturers was changing, with new skills, for example in coaching, being needed to support and guide students in an increasingly demanding environment.

This panel session highlighted four initiatives, which are briefly described here. 

  1. L’Aurora Mazzitelli, student assistant and hands-on expert, introduced the POPcorner, an initiative launched ten years ago to help students find their way around their faculty and study programme. The goal is to give students the best start possible and guide them as they progress through their studies.
  2. Anna van der Meulen and Alexandra Blank shared how Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) bachelor’s and master’s students are coached online, individually and in groups, by a specially appointed coach. Especially during the global pandemic, the Institute wanted to stay in touch with its students and sought them out on the platforms they were frequenting. This initiative had a positive effect on the students’ well-being.
  3. György Purebl shared with the participants the approach taken at Semmelweis University. Everyone was very impressed by how soft skills were an integral part of the Semmelweis curriculum. As Purebl put it: ‘By teaching young adults to be better people by training them in these skills, we also help them to become better doctors.’ An excellent example of how well-being can be integrated into a study programme.
  4. Finally, Bob van der Horst introduced participants to the Humanities Buddy Programme (HBP). Matching students who are far away from home to a buddy makes their life in a new country a lot more fun and successful. HBP creates ‘a home away from home’ with the help of more than 20 buddies, recruited from among students. 

Once the initiatives had been presented, there was still plenty of time for participants to ask each other questions. This led to in-depth conversations and demonstrated how much projects can learn from one another. Many of the conversations continued in the network sessions.

Overview good practices

If you would like to know more about the good practices discussed, see the overview page ‘Symposium Good Practices’.

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