The Engelhard Project for Connecting Life and Learning builds on the principles of whole-person education by incorporating issues of well-being and health across the curriculum. The project integrates well-being topics with course content in order to personalize course material and positively influence student health behaviors. This “infusion” approach enhances academic learning, encourages students to reflect on their own attitudes and behaviors, and fosters faculty, staff, and student connections in and out of the classroom. The result is not only to deepen classroom learning, but also to support students’ personal growth and to build meaningful relationships among faculty, student-life professionals, students, and the community.
Engelhard Courses explore many topics related to student well-being. A math professor, for instance, worked with a college counselor to teach students about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption; a biology professor invited a health practitioner to class to talk about depression. Faculty and teaching assistants attend safety net training in which they are introduced to health issues on campus. They learn to recognize signs of distress and how to respond to student needs. At the training, campus health professionals provide faculty and teaching assistants with classroom resources, ideas for presentations, and resources on campus.
Begun as part of a Bringing Theory to Practice Demonstration Grant in 2005, the Engelhard Project is now housed within Georgetown’s Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS). It has worked with more than a hundred faculty members on over five hundred courses with an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students.