Developing resilience in HE: a new toolkit for Student Services

Resilience toolkitToday AMOSSHE launched a new sector resource: the resilience toolkit – an open, online resource bank of research, case studies and practical tools to help Student Services professionals in higher education develop student resilience to stress, anxiety and similar barriers to achievement and success.

The project was made possible by funding from Unite Students, the UK’s largest manager and developer of purpose-built student accommodation, who are driven to provide a ‘Home For Success’ for almost 50,000 students across the UK. It builds on the theoretical model published in their Student Resilience: Exploring the positive case for resilience report, which explores the positive case for resilience.

The resilience toolkit is a practical and educational resource, drawing on publicly available materials from around the world, to help Student Services professionals develop new strategies and approaches underpinned by research, and to learn from others’ experiences. The toolkit advocates a positive and proactive approach to student resilience, focusing on what higher education providers can do to develop supportive, enabling cultures for students by making improvements to their physical and social environment.

What’s in the toolkit?

The resources are grouped into three key approaches to developing student resilience, which arose from the research into student resilience by Unite Students:

  • Emotional control – use these resources to help students control their emotional responses to the negative experiences they may encounter academically or socially while studying.
  • Self-management – use these resources to help students develop self-management techniques for dealing with stress, anxiety and the pressures of higher education.
  • Social integration / networks / relationships – use these resources to help students feel integrated, develop their social networks and relationships, and get involved with different networks, communities and extra-curricular activities.

You can find the resources you want by exploring one of these approaches, or by searching for key words to identify the type of resource (for example, case study, research report, practical tool, learning material), or subject (for example, mental health, careers, accommodation).

Get involved

AMOSSHE will continue to add resources to the toolkit from across the UK and international student support sectors – you can subscribe to get an update every time we add something new. As the number of resources increases, areas of professional expertise will develop too (for example, resilience in careers, building resilience in accommodation).

Do you have a practical tool, research, or a case study to contribute? If so, please get in touch on by clicking Contribute at the top of the toolkit. And please leave your comments, and share what you find with colleagues across the sector.

Find out more about the toolkit, check out the resources, and contribute to the project, here:

2 thoughts on “Developing resilience in HE: a new toolkit for Student Services

  1. lauenna

    I use Dan Seigel’s “hand model” and talk about the front brain and back brain. Teaching students how to manage their nervous systems to come into their “front brain” and optimize their cognitive function seems to work well.
    But I take issue that your first step is to “control your emotions”. This is very unfortunate language setting students up to feel like failures because our emotions need to be allowed and felt while using tools to regulate our nervous system so we can then choose how to act. Emotions just are. Students need to learn they can tolerate them, not try and control them. That leads to all sorts of problems.

    1. Fay Sherrington (Vice Chair AMOSSHE)

      Hi lauenna, thanks for commenting. I can understand your point when talking about emotional control as not necessarily the most appropriate use of language. I think the initial research conducted by Unite Students (that led to the additional research that the toolkit is based on) used this term to demonstrate the results at the time. The toolkit is designed to create a positive approach to resilience, and the resources on the site hopefully supports your views given the wide nature of the work. In addition AMOSSHE is planning to run an event later this year which will include discussion on the perception and interpretation of resilience within the sector to help the toolkit to continue to evolve in a productive and impactful way. Your comment on the terminology is something we will definitely feed into the event and the outcomes will help shape how the toolkit is taken forward. If you have any resources that you think would be appropriate for us to review for inclusion in the toolkit it would be fantastic if you could refer these to us using the form on the toolkit website under the contribute area here:

      Please do keep your comments coming as we are keen that this is a resource that continues to grow and be directed by the sector with the excellent research that continues to help us support students to succeed.

      Fay Sherrington (Vice Chair AMOSSHE)


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