Wellbeing and Religious Identity: How We Are Missing a Component of the Student Experience

with Jenny L. Small, J. Cody Nielsen

November 09, 2016 at 2:00 PM EST

About This Course

The UCLA Study of Spirituality in Higher Education exposed student affairs professionals to the realities of religious identity and practice: amongst students who are religiously active during college, significant decreases in mental health issues, increased retention, persistence, compassion toward others, alongside many other positive characteristics are prevalent.  Further research from Dr. Jenny Small and others though represents that this “wellbeing” may be lower amongst religious minorities, leading to an inference that campuses remain biased toward Christian traditions, even unintentionally.  These findings of wellbeing are an important sign that religious, secular, and spiritual identity is important in the co-curricular experience.  Join Dr. Jenny Small and expert in residence Cody Nielsen as we explore deeper.

When student affairs professionals discuss Wellbeing, we often consider financial wellbeing, physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing and social wellbeing.  But often forgotten is the importance of spiritual wellbeing, an element highlighted extensively in the 2003-2005 UCLA Study of Spirituality in Higher Education.  Follow up work to this seminal study by Dr. Jenny Small and others have found that this area wellbeing may be extraordinarily important for college students.  Yet, the data finds that marginalized religious students may be missing out on these benefits due to environmental conditions present on the college campus.

Our live briefing will cover the essential elements of Wellbeing and the data from the UCLA Study. But it will also cover the underserved religiously affiliated students. The research discussed will highlight methods through which universities might take further steps to support all students on campus, will highlight the important of policies that might affect these students, and will speak to the need for higher education professionals to consider religious, secular, and spiritual diversity work on their campus.

Participants attending this live briefing should expect to learn more about the connections between mental health and religious practice as well as a working definition of wellbeing.  Additionally, takeaways will include methods that student affairs professionals might employ to enhance campus climate for marginalized religiously affiliated students. 

You might also be interested in these courses:

$49 On Demand 60 minutes

Join Expert in Resident Cody Nielsen alongside Hal Ossman, Chief Campus Officer for Hillel International for a one-hour discussion that will include conversations about the model itself, the way Hillel professionals are…

Related Posts

View All Blog Posts


Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education
By Kenneth J. Osfield, Brett Perozzi, Lisa Bardill Moscaritolo, Robert Shea, and Associates

Internationalization of higher education is one of the most important trends for the next decade and beyond, and the implications for student affairs and services are enormous. Supporting Students Globally in Higher Education examines what internationalization concretely means for higher education with a specific focus on student affairs and services.

The Culturally Engaging Campus Environments Model and Survey
By Samuel D. Museus and Edward J. Smith

This report provides an overview of the Culturally Engaging Campus Environments Model and Survey. It examines the importance of building and sustaining campus environments that deeply engage the cultural backgrounds and identities of diverse student populations to improve holistic development, sense of belonging, campus engagement, and success outcomes.

Coordinating Student Affairs Divisional Assessment
By Kimberly Yousey-Elsener, Erin Bentrim, and Gavin Henning

The need for the new role of student affairs assessment coordinator has emerged in response to the increasing demand for outcomes information, the proliferation of data, and the recognition that coordinating this work within divisions is of paramount importance.

College in the Crosshairs
By Brandi Hephner Labanc and Brian O. Hemphill, Editors

Gun violence – whether rampage shootings, homicides or suicides – is a potential reality all campuses have to face. This book provides leaders in higher education – and particularly those in student affairs – with data about past incidents, an analysis of trends, and background on the national debate about gun policies and how they impact colleges, state by state.