Health Promotion principles and strategies are also applied in educational settings. I have been an active member of a local and global movement promoting health in universities. In 2016, I published a book chapter with other SFU staff and a student related to how the University of British Columbia (UBC) and SFU have both started to implement the Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities or Colleges. The Charter calls on universities and colleges to embed health in all aspects of campus culture, administration, operations and academic mandates as well as to lead Health Promotion action more broadly. It provides a framework to guide a whole systems approach and implementation. Health and wellbeing are widely considered important elements for effective learning and therefore it is important for me as an educator to pay attention to how I am creating the conditions for well-being for my students. Social connection, community engagement, personal growth and development are 3 of the 6 action areas for SFU’s Healthy Campus community framework that I focus on regularly in my teaching.
The Okanagan Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges also calls on institutions to partner on and off campus in order to lead action for health promotion locally and globally. In building community partnerships that extend beyond the immediate campus context, institutions must create opportunities for civic engagement and the development of future citizens “with the capacity to act as agents for health promoting change beyond campuses” (Okanagan Charter, 2015).
The following examples in this blog will highlight how my teaching approach has been influenced by the principles outlined above. For instance, the courses I am teaching in Surrey now evolved from multiple conversations and meetings with community stakeholders from SFU, and outside the university to better understand the context in which to engage, teach and innovate.