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Raising Resilience

Connecting compassion + well-being with pedagogy in the College of Built Environments

a 2019 UW Resilience and Compassion Initiatives Seed Grant project
Julie Johnson and Brooke Sullivan, Landscape Architecture

June 2021 Update

This grant has been transformational, in bringing together a group of CBE faculty to collaboratively explore our pedagogy and support for our students through the lenses of resilience and well-being, systems thinking, and biophilic design.  This core group continues to meet and discuss ways to engage other CBE faculty.  The attached booklet developed by the project Research Assistant, Claudia Sackett Hennum, is one such tangible means to do so.  We hope that this booklet may contribute to CBE faculty resources, as well as support related aspects of the CBE Strategic Plan.

How may the intersections of resilience and well-being; systems thinking; and biophilic design enrich our pedagogy and better support our students?

As part of the UW’s growing work around well-being and resilience, the UW Resilience Lab and the Campus Sustainability Fund offered the UW Resilience and Compassion Initiatives Seed Grant program this Spring. We [Julie Johnson and Brooke Sullivan, Landscape Architecture] were awarded funding for “Raising Resilience: Connecting compassion + well-being with pedagogy in the College of Built Environments.” This builds from our experiences participating in the Well-Being for Life and Learning Initiative’s Community of Practice, with the spring quarter LARCH 303 Ecological Systems studio we co-taught as one of the pilot courses.

This initiative brings together a group of College of Built Environments (CBE) faculty to explore the relationships and synergies of three themes that inform our theory and practice—resilience and well-being; systems thinking; and biophilic design—as a potent means by which to enrich CBE faculty, pedagogy, and students in not only what our students need to know, but how their learning process reflects these interrelated concepts towards greater compassion. Building from insights gained through our course pilot this spring, and as part of the Well Being for Life and Learning (WB4L&L) faculty community of practice, we look forward to engaging interested CBE faculty in collaboratively developing, applying, and reflecting on approaches.

We emailed CBE faculty an invitation to participate and held an information meeting about the project. Interested faculty are responding to a Catalyst survey, and we hope to draw faculty from across the College’s five departments.

This group will co-create a three-day faculty retreat (up to 10 people) at UW’s Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island this September to:
1. better understand and find common ground among each other’s disciplinary framing of these concepts;
2. explore results from the UW WB4L&L Spring Course Pilots and models of well-being and resilience practices from other universities;
3. experience and reflect on affordances of different environments for active learning and fostering well-being; and
4. create a framework of approaches to incorporate into our Autumn courses.

As a group, we will meet early, mid- and post-Autumn quarter to share findings, successes, failures, and next steps. Students enrolled in these courses will be asked to share feedback through optional Catalyst surveys. Our process and findings will be shared across the College and with the UW Resilience Lab, and we aim to explore potential for continued development within CBE.

For more information about the work UW is doing more broadly to promote student, staff and faculty resilience and well-being, please visit: and