More students will have the opportunity to learn vital 21st century resilience skills when the online option for Mason’s Resilience Badge program launches during the 2020-2021 academic year. While the current hybrid program (featuring some in-person sessions and some online sessions) will continue and may expand, the new entirely online program that is being developed will make it optimally convenient for students to participate.
“Our students are too busy for a lot of the great optional programming opportunities that are available to them. Schedules are too varied for us to reach everyone through an in-person option and even a hybrid option has its challenges,” said Katie Clare, Associate Director for Resilience Programs, University Life. “With this in mind, we’re developing the online option to help more students prepare to be successful in the workplace and in life overall by developing the resilience skills they can learn in this program.”
Nearly 200 Mason students have earned the Resilience Badge program during the its first few years. A generous grant from the deLaski Family Foundation has now made it possible to develop the all-online version of the program.
“Digital badges like this often work to build 21st century skills that set students apart from others in the workforce. What I love about Mason’s commitment to resilience as a 21st century skill is that it’s not just about career development and a professional skillset but very much about helping our students to be successful in life in the 21st century with all of its inevitable challenges,” Clare said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty to life today. Mental health is a concern across all demographics. Careers are shifting with multiple changes throughout one’s professional life, not to mention the side hustles. All of these issues – and plenty of others - demand resilience.”
Learning to be resilient is critical for students to strengthen their well-being, said Clare. “To be resilient, you need a variety of strategies and a high degree of self-awareness. For me, that connects very directly to well-being. I’m not sure you can experience high levels of well-being without the skills that allow one to be resilient.”
The resiliency that students can build while earning the badge can help them in all circumstances – not just in their careers, but in all aspects of their lives. “This program will help students adapt well to, and successfully navigate through, all types of situations,” Clare said. “It’s not just setting up students for success in a job; it’s setting them up for success in life. That said, we want students to see the direct benefit to their professional lives as well, and for this reason we partner with Career Services to offer the hybrid version. The badge is a great opportunity to connect our students to one of our best on-campus resources. We will need to be creative in thinking about how we do that will the fully online version that’s in the works.”
One of the great things about going through the process to create the online version is that it provides the opportunity to assess the hybrid program as well. As the entirely online version of the program develops, the curriculum may expand, said Clare. “This online program may open up the opportunity to cover a wider variety of material than is possible with the hybrid program. But the hybrid program continues to offer a strong core of resiliency skills for students. In making those choices for the online program, it may inform adjustments to the hybrid version to ensure that it remains relevant and engaging.”
January 15, 2020