Take Action

We can all enhance well-being at SFU.

As a faculty or staff member, you can contribute to the well-being of the broader SFU community through the actions you take in your professional role, including:

SPACE is an easy-to-remember acronym outlining five evidence-based areas of well-being. Browse the list of suggestions below to see how you can make SPACE for well-being in your classroom, in your work environment, and with your colleagues.

Making SPACE for yourself

Are you looking for ways to maintain your own well-being? Supporting yourself is the first step to take before supporting others. Learn how you can make SPACE for yourself.

Read more >

S: Social connection

Quality relationships are central to individual and collective well-being. Invest in your relationships, make new connections, and engage with your community.

Faculty: You can support students to develop greater social connections by creating opportunities for them to engage with one another and by letting them develop a genuine connection with you.

  • Have students introduce themselves during the first class or use a social connectedness activity in tutorials
  • Design assignments that require students to collectively work on study questions
  • Ask students to take down the name and number of a classmate so they can connect should they miss a lecture or want to form a study group
  • If possible, move tables and chairs into small groups to facilitate discussion
  • Demystify your role by sharing an anecdote, joke, or sharing something about yourself
  • Be learner centered: “be interested in learners instead of trying to be an interesting teacher”
  • Consider the “whole student” and the challenges students may face outside your class
  • Share upcoming social events with students
  • Invite small groups of students to attend office hours
  • Invite your TA/TMs to be part of the TA/TM well-being project
  • Review examples of how policies, physical spaces, and programming in faculties can be designed to enhance well-being
  • Learn more about creating Well-being in Learning Environments

Staff: You can create social connection with students, between students, and with your colleagues to support well-being on campus.

  • Create physical spaces such a student lounge or group study space that fosters social connection and inclusion
  • Review and revise any policies or processes that might limit a sense of belonging for certain students
  • Communicate policies & processes in a way that fosters support, belonging and a sense of community
  • Create community and connection among faculty members and students by providing mentorship and social gathering opportunities
  • Review examples of how policies, physical spaces and programming in faculties can be designed to enhance well-being
  • Get to know your colleagues beyond their professional capacities
  • Start team meetings with an activity that encourages social connection
  • Take the initiative to plan an out of office social outing with your colleagues

P: Physical health

Good physical health supports good mental health. Plan for adequate sleep, nourish your body with healthy food, and get active every day.

Faculty: You can play a role in supporting the physical health of students by adopting strategies in the classroom that encourage movement and promote the importance of sleep and healthy eating.

  • Allow for stretch breaks during longer classes
  • Regularly remind students about the importance of sleep, especially during busy times in the semester
  • Encourage movement in your class by asking students to move between tables for group work, scheduling stretch breaks and encouraging students to stand when they need to
  • Allocate 1 slide at the beginning of each lecture to remind students of the importance of movement, sleep and healthy food for both health and learning
  • Let students know about upcoming Peer Health activities and the SFU Wellness Wheel

Staff: You can make small changes to the way your workplace operates to support the physical health of your team.

  • Facilitate the use of standing work stations for students, staff and faculty
  • Coordinate walking groups with your colleagues
  • Support a team at SFU’s annual Terry Fox Run
  • If you are able, take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Encourage walking meetings
  • Normalize standing during meetings with students and colleagues.
  • Bring healthy food options to staff meetings
  • Access the facilities at Recreation (i.e. try drop in Yoga)

A: Awareness

Awareness of ourselves and our surroundings allows for deeper connection and enhanced perspectives. Know and use your strengths, practice mindfulness, and exercise gratitude.

Faculty: Being aware of varying student needs will help you to foster an inclusive, flexible, and accommodating classroom environment that supports student well-being.

  • Create class guidelines as a group to respect difference and create a safe place for discussion
  • Make students aware of expectations as well as the services available to them
  • Use activities and practices in class to help build intercultural awareness and competence
  • Seek feedback from students throughout the semester to build your own awareness of the experience you are creating for students
  • Offer students opportunities to set their own deadlines or percentages of final grade for assignments
  • Be aware of the timing of exams and assignments so that they do not cause undue stress
  • Avoid heavily weighted assessment, such as an exam worth 50% of the final grade, and its impact on well-being
  • Learn more about creating Well-being in Learning Environments

Staff: Being aware of how your role can enhance student and staff well-being will help create a thriving and inclusive community.

  • Embed resilience training, mindfulness, gratitude, or strengths tools into mentorship programs, orientation, or career exploration programs for students
  • Reflect on policies or processes that do not foster inclusion or a sense of belonging and revise these
  • Become aware of your physical surroundings and take action to build spaces that support your well-being by including access to nature, calming colours and accessible design
  • Undertake cultural awareness training
  • Create space for reflection and self-awareness in committee meetings
  • Create opportunities for student voice and involvement in decision making within your department

C: Contribution

Contributing to something bigger than ourselves gives us purpose and meaning. Find meaning, perform acts of kindness, focus on others, and contribute to your community.

Faculty: You can help support student well-being by creating opportunities for your students to make valuable contributions through their coursework and connecting their learning to real life outcomes. 

  • Create assignments in which the results can be utilized by a community group or campus initiative
  • Where possible, incorporate community service or service learning components into your course
  • Utilize examples from the real world in class (e.g. news clips, career advice, guest speakers from the workforce students hope to enter)
  • Consider what skills students will need to succeed in life and in their careers and try to foster these in class (for example teamwork, problem solving, empathy)
  • Learn more about creating Well-being in Learning Environments
  • Support your TA/TM to contribute and gain skills for well-being through the TA/TM Well-being project  

Staff: You can enable students and staff to make meaningful contributions through their work and foster a kind and giving culture at SFU.

  • In program planning, develop service learning courses, co-ops, or volunteer opportunities that give students opportunities to give back and build real world skills
  • Encourage your faculty or department to explore ways to create well-being through policies, physical spaces, and program design
  • Organize volunteer or fundraising activities within your department, either on campus or in the community
  • Embed a culture of celebrating others in your department by marking staff birthdays, milestones, career achievements, or length of service

E: Emotional health

Keeping positive and negative emotions in balance is important for our overall well-being. Create and savour positive experiences, practice resilience and self-compassion, and seek help when you need it.

Faculty: You can support the emotional health of your students by supporting their personal and professional growth in class and ensuring they know what support services are available to them.

  • Use mindfulness or relaxation videos in a break in class
  • Link students to SFU resources that support their well-being such as Health and Counselling Services and My SSP
  • Invite guest speakers from various campus services to talk about the services they offer
  • Bring in guest speakers to help students connect in-class learning to their career development
  • Share the Bouncing Back Resilience course and the SFU Wellness Wheel with your students
  • Encourage your TA/TMs to be part of the TA/TM Well-being Project
  • Use journaling or other reflective activities to encourage personal growth
  • Encourage students to seek co-curricular and volunteer opportunities (for example Passport to Leadership, Mentorship Programs, or Peer Education)
  • Consider what skills students will need to succeed in life and in their careers and try to find ways to foster these in class
  • Learn more about creating Well-being in Learning Environments

Staff: here are many ways you can support the emotional health of students and staff and support an open and safe culture.

  • Attend a Supporting Students in Distress workshop held by Health and Counselling Services
  • Refer students to the Mental Health at SFU website and My SSP
  • Reflect on policies or processes that might be causing undue stress for students, and revise them
  • Advocate for design elements that support emotional health, such as comfortable furniture, natural light and greenery, to be adopted in staff common areas
  • Attend a Supporting Students in Distress Workshop held by Health & Counselling
  • Embed the Bouncing Back Resilience and Well-being course or the SFU Wellness Wheel into mentorship programs or other departmental programs
  • Ensure frequent performance reviews are in place for staff to support growth and development
  • Ensure professional development funding and opportunities are available to staff
  • Start department/staff meetings with short videos, quotes, or news articles that include a positive emotion (i.e. humour, gratutide, contentment, or awe)
  • Normalize a culture of help-seeking and ensure colleagues are aware of emotional supports