Why Take the Leap! ?
The National Standard for Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary students was released in Canada in 2020.
It’s the first of its kind in the world.
Post-secondary institutions are taking student health and well-being very seriously.
Urgency for action is in the air.
Our students are at risk.
They stress about their purpose, and wonder if what they are studying today will help them for the future.
They want to do something they have passion for, make the world a better place AND secure their financial future.
Health and well-being includes, exercise, access to mentors and counsellors, getting enough sleep, feeling safe and understood, having social connections, financial well-being and more...
That’s a lot to stress over.
While health and well-being services are abundant at colleges and universities across Canada, they are available for those who seek them and feel comfortable in engaging in these classes and services.
As a post-secondary educator and award-winning program developer, I saw an urgent need.
I am passionate about working with emerging leaders to help them discover their strengths and purpose so that they can feel grounded in their future impact on their community and the world.
This focus is linked to four of the 17 sustainable development goals set forth by the UN.
The solution lies within these four areas...
These are the areas that fuel me every day.
These are the questions that drive my own purpose.
This was the seed that took root through my work as Part-Time Faculty at Concordia University where I received the 2018 Engaged Scholar Award for my support in connecting student experiences with community needs. I also was awarded the 2019 President's Excellent in Teaching Award and the 2022 Concordia Council on Student Life (CCSL) Outstanding Contribution Award.
The desire to connect students to experiences beyond the classroom to help them apply their learnings, discover what makes them tick, why they want to do the things they do started in 2013 when I accompanied groups of students yearly until 2017 to participate in an international case competition.
In 2019 I took the Leap! and birthed a program modelled after my award-winning book to help students ground their learning journey in personal choices grounded in purpose.
The program helps participants determine what they want and why based on who they are.
Starting at 2-hours a week over 8 weeks provides self-reflective activities, combined with opportunities to journal, get mentored, and share with peers in small pods and with the larger group. And this is not only for students. We all need this opportunity to reflect, reorient, and move forward.
In May 2020, the program received an Award of Excellence (AoE) for Outstanding Human Performance Intervention by the International Society for Performance Improvement and received multiple-funding by Concordia University to research the transfer of this program to the online format to study whether it can increase clarity, engagement and resilience in students, staff and faculty. The research is ongoing and continues today after 4 cohorts in two universities in Canada. Qualitative feedback is included below in the section, "What Graduates Say".
The impact of the program since 2019? Increase clarity, confidence, engagement and well-being.
View a sample student application page with video and program objectives.
WHAT GRADUATES SAY
I am very grateful for this program and all it has taught me. The program is excellent.
I was able to put into one statement my intention for the year and larger purpose of my why.
I think it's a great, simple, straight-forward program. I've recommended and shown some of these exercises and methods to friends and it has been fruitful for them.
I found that some things made more sense once I used them and applied them regularly in my daily practice/routine. The writing and creative aspects were most helpful/useful to me.
It was important for me to discover that goals can be planned, so do dreams and so does my legacy. The program gave me tools and a strategic way of perceiving the legacy I want to build along my life and leave even beyond it.
Building a community of like-minded people does not necessarily mean building a community of people just like you. Mixing students and professionals from different areas was an added plus. We were all there for the same reason but, we understood and interpreted things from our viewpoint. To be able to share and hear others opened up my horizons and widened my understanding.
YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
Who is this program for?
The program can target any student population in any faculty or program, targeting smaller subgroups can work. Currently we have students across faculties and at every level: undergraduate and graduate (Master’s and PhD students).
What do you need from us?
The investment for the pilot provides a turn-key solution, my team comes in, we integrate the program into your current system and we run it. Currently it runs on Moodle but can be adapted to any platform.
What comes after the pilot?
We can continue to lead the program (with no involvement on your end) or we can train your staff to run it going forward. The program is designed to have alumni from the program come back to lead small groups as Peer Mentors.
Who has experienced it?
We have run this program four times with two Canadian Universities. 246 applied and 175 students were accepted in the program since September 2020, including students across all levels, staff, faculty and administrators from Montreal area educational institutions.
Can't attend Live events?
There are no formal penalties for missing Zoom events, though we make it clear that the program is more impactful when participants engage in all elements. We have decided not to record the small PODs eMentoring sessions, but students can still engage with their POD via a private online forum. We do record and share all full group Zoom sessions, which students can watch and learn from on their own time.
Timing & requirements?
We recommend participants dedicate a minimum of 60 minutes a week. All elements are self-paced with the exception of the two different types of Zoom events: on odd weeks they have a 30-min live eMentoring event with their small PODs (led by the eMentor) and on even weeks they have a 60-min live event with the entire cohort (led by the Lead Instructor).
How will they meet?
Your learning will be online, offline, in groups and self-directed. We will be using an online platform to deliver the activities and Zoom for the live sessions.
Will they get support?
You will have an opportunity to meet in small and large groups throughout the program with program leaders.
Not keeping up?
When participants are inactive for a period of 2 weeks or more, a friendly check-in is sent to see how they are doing and if they need any assistance to get back on track.