Executive Summary

Lethbridge College has made the health and wellness of its students and employees a priority for many years and has identified it as one of the institution’s overarching goals. Although the college has had separate student and employee health and wellness plans in the past, a formal Institutional Health and Wellness Strategy — LC Cares: Stronger Together — that holistically looks at both students and employees is new to the college. The process that led to the development of an integrated Health and Wellness Strategy for employees and students involved determining health and wellness needs related to capacity, infrastructure, training, partnerships and evaluation.

Our institution is committed to promoting an inclusive healthy learning and work environment that nurtures the well-being of all students and employees. Our institutional mission and vision cannot be achieved without a solid foundation of and investment in the health and well-being of our people. This strategy, LC: Stronger Together, provides a five-year roadmap for progress on three goals to which we believe all in our community can contribute.

What happens next matters most

At Lethbridge College, we’re more than bricks and mortar. We’re a place of people coming together. We are a community committed to one another to be the best we can be as individuals contributing to a vibrant and inclusive learning institution. Here, health and wellness are everyone’s responsibility and by nurturing the physical, emotional and mental well-being of all employees and students, Lethbridge College can support their professional and academic success.

Lethbridge College calls on all of its students and employees to act on the priority areas of health and wellness as articulated in this strategy, and to prioritize health and wellness in their own personal and professional lives. Health and wellness are the responsibility of all and demand collective effort to create inclusive, comprehensive campus health and wellness in every sense.

Current Landscape

Health and wellness are embedded throughout the activities and culture of Lethbridge College, including in our 2019-22 Comprehensive Institutional Plan and, more recently, in an Investment Management Agreement (IMA) with Alberta Advanced Education. IMAs are a new way of documenting Lethbridge College’s priorities. What has not changed is the priority given to the health and wellness of our employees and students. The aim outlined in our draft IMA is to:

  • Promote an inclusive learning and work environment that nurtures the health and well-being of all students and employees.
  • Create an inclusive healthy learning environment that nurtures the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of all employees and students, resulting in greater professional and academic success.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 has reiterated the need for psycho-social resources in health and wellness planning. Recent data suggest the mental health of Canadians has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with reports of anxiety and depression increasing as a result of economic loss, concern for family members, self-isolation, household conflict, and social media and news exposure. The implications for Lethbridge College are critical, and the college must reassess and monitor health and wellness risks for students and employees based on the best available evidence as the situation evolves.

The Health and Wellness Strategy is about more than just words, it’s about creating a culture of health and wellness across the Lethbridge College community. As described by Foster-Fishman and Watson (2012), cultural change can be supported by certain explicit conditions and structures, such as shifts in how policies are designed and resources are allocated, but also by implicit conditions such as how we relate and interact with each other. When these conditions are achieved it creates a fertile environment for transformative change. The Health and Wellness Strategy’s goals are designed specifically to create the conditions for transformative change and support a college community where health is a priority.

Our commitment to health and wellness

Institutional Goal

To promote an inclusive healthy learning and work environment that nurtures the well-being of all students and employees.


Our wellness goals

This is a five-year roadmap toward the goal of promoting an inclusive healthy learning and work environment that nurtures the health and well-being of all students and employees. The strategies outlined in this document have been informed by many sources, reviews and documents.

Out of this work, three goals emerged:

 

1

Create a whole of campus approach to health and wellness that addresses employees and students, developing a campus culture embedded in health and wellness.

 

2

Ongoing evaluation and iteration to ensure Lethbridge College efforts are contributing to meaningful health and well-being improvements for employees and students.

 

3

Continued community engagement and partnership with external agencies. Just as we cannot separate our own health and wellness from the world around us, we cannot separate Lethbridge College’s health and wellness from the larger community around us.

Our Goals and How We Plan to Achieve Them

Goal #1

Creating a whole of campus approach to health and wellness – developing a campus culture embedded in health and wellness

1.1 - Enhance the supports that are available to address the unique needs of underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups

Actions

  1. Identify the current gaps and develop action plans across departments to support the needs of diverse populations.
  2. Track health and wellness trends of diverse populations and implement new student/employee well-being surveys annually to measure change over time and to inform programs and service.
  3. Improve ease of navigation to services and programs internal and external to Lethbridge College to ensure clear pathways for all in the college community.
  4. Develop and maintain diversity education and training for employees to facilitate understanding of the challenges faced by all groups within the Lethbridge College community.
  5. Review academic program curriculum to identify if barriers to social inclusion are addressed.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

1.2 - Enhance the diversity of those providing inclusive health and wellness services to reflect the Lethbridge College community

Actions

  1. Conduct a comprehensive survey to collect baseline employee demographic data to identify gaps and hire accordingly to reflect a more diverse population.
  2. Explore options for improving users’ navigation of complex health and wellness services on- and off- campus. This will include investigation, pilot testing, evaluation and iteration of new approaches to build awareness and understanding of systems and services.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

1.3 - Advance measures to promote better work/study/life balance opportunities and expectations, particularly during a pandemic or other emergency

Actions

  1. Place an emphasis on a results-oriented work environment that increases employee work-life satisfaction by placing importance on results, rather than hours worked.
  2. Work with employees to explore innovative and sustainable options to enhance their work-life balance.
  3. Increase retention of employees by exploring factors that positively affect employees, by creating key performance indicators for employee retention.
  4. Support alternative workplace set ups that are appropriate and ergonomic for employees.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

1.4 - Cultivate a healthy and productive culture on campus and actively participate in systems planning and integration activities

Actions

  1. Promote an environment of wellness through placing emphasis on the holistic well-being of individuals as a component of professional and academic success.
  2. Call for enhanced transparency with leadership decisions that may affect work-life/study-life/study-work balance.
  3. Provide opportunities to develop meaningful senior leadership relationships with employees.
  4. Celebrate the successes of students and employees.
  5. Showcase health and wellness activities at Lethbridge College as best practices.
  6. Disseminate findings from the health and wellness survey findings and how this data is being used for decision making.
  7. Increase dialogue between departments to leverage partnerships and coordinate efforts to improve health, healing and wholeness programs.
  8. Implement an Employee Excellence Award for health and
    wellness champions.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

1.5 - Improve access to health and wellness services by evaluating services and programs focusing on the full prevention spectrum (primary, secondary, tertiary)

Actions

  1. Develop a service blueprint/process map for individuals seeking mental health support to create efficiencies and to address gaps.
  2. Create mental health/well-being support with the intent of reducing stigma and providing additional support to students and employees.
  3. Engage internal departments and external partners to develop and share ideas and best practices with respect to mental health and wellness.
  4. Develop and implement a whole campus approach to proactively identify and support students who may need additional supports along the prevention spectrum.
    1. Implementation of a Behavioural Intervention Team.
    2. Increase awareness of proactive reporting system and protocols.
  5. Development of a comprehensive campus suicide prevention and post-vention plan.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

1.6 - Support pivoting research to digital health and wellness innovation

Actions

  1. Continually evaluate students’ access to appropriate workstations and technology.
  2. Conduct a scan of what can be made available to students to accommodate various study environments, whether that be providing supplies at home or rearranging space on campus.
  3. Monitor COVID impacts in areas such as social engagement, social isolation, loneliness, and the balancing of screen time.
  4. Evaluate and evolve virtual care delivery by reviewing data collected, which will help with operational decision making.

Implementation

Year 2

1.7 - Develop supports and initiatives to support basic needs, especially healthy eating, food security, optimal nutrition and diverse food ecosystems

Actions

  1. Increase access to all Lethbridge food banks (including providing transportation when needed or exploration of food bank delivery programs to Lethbridge College and/or students directly).
  2. Target students who have indicated a financial need on the College Student Inventory Survey for further engagement through Financial Services, with particular emphasis on web-based applications and platforms that can support budgeting.
    3. Provide quicker and enhanced access to income assistance for students to manage shortfalls.
  3. Identify and collaborate with partners in Lethbridge to support a coordinated inter-agency response to address basic needs, e.g., City of Lethbridge Community Social Development pods (developed during COVID response), FCSS, Resource Centres, etc.
  4. Develop a service blueprint or process map for individuals seeking basic needs in order to create efficiencies and address gaps. Interventions need to ensure effective responses to prevent issues from arising or escalating.
  5. Continue and evolve coordinated interventions with community partners for:
    1. income, housing, basic needs
    2. isolation/mental health/stress
    3. digital literacy skill development
    4. family/child support

Implementation

Year 2 and ongoing

Goal #2

Ongoing evaluation and iteration to ensure Lethbridge College efforts are contributing to meaningful health and well-being improvements for employees and students

2.1 - Implement and practice the agile development and evaluation of the health and wellness strategy with the intent of developing a consistent college-wide performance management framework...

Implement and practice the agile development and evaluation of the health and wellness strategy with the intent of developing a consistent college-wide performance management framework to track common outcomes and key performance indicators across all lethbridge college business areas that aligns with health and wellness priorities

Actions

  1. Develop a campus-wide health and wellness Logic Model and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with stakeholder input and the strategic advisory committee to oversee this work annually.
  2. Conduct annual tracking of health and wellness trends via surveys offered through a variety of methods, e.g., online, in-person, via phone, to ensure inclusivity.
  3. Conduct annual tracking of campus wide KPIs followed by transparent and broad dissemination of results.
  4. Adjust health and wellness strategies based on annual trends to ensure agile development and continuous evaluation.
  5. Collate health and wellness priorities for each department at Lethbridge College, and assess available data and required data to monitor these.
  6. Provide continuous funding for a Health Promotion Coordinator to ensure programs/events are evaluated and improved upon.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

2.2 - Conduct regular health and wellness audits/evaluations of all Lethbridge College departments

Actions

  1. Develop a mechanism to track and address Primary, Secondary and Tertiary intervention use and outcomes.
  2. Measure the effectiveness of pre to post health and wellness programs/events to continually improve them by scheduling regular health and wellness audits that tracks data and monitors trends.
  3. Measure the effectiveness of the following areas with stakeholder input:
    • The level of physical activity that is maintained by all students and employees.
    • The amount of nutritional education and support students and employees receive.
    • Policies on substance use prevention and relapse support programs.
    • How the college assists students and employees with stress management.
  4. Provide recognition and rewards for audits resulting in excellence.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

2.3 - Enhance accountability for health and wellness actions through regular and transparent reporting on outcomes to the Lethbridge College community

Actions

  1. Produce and broadly disseminate Annual Progress reports with common outcomes and KPIs across Lethbridge College.
  2. Monitor and evaluate KPIs developed from campus-wide health and wellness Logic Model.
  3. Provide learning and discussion opportunities on health and wellness outcomes to increase knowledge mobilization.

Implementation

Year 2 and ongoing

Goal #3

Continued community engagement and partnership

3.1 - Enhance supports for college transitions

Actions

  1. Investigation, testing and evaluation of new ways to help students navigate systems, programs, resources and supports to their mental health.
  2. Collaborate with external partners on how to enhance supports to ensure students feel comfortable and supported when transitioning from high school to college.
  3. Increase partnerships with community partners for warm transitions to community support services.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

3.2 - Enhance Lethbridge College’s role in key community initiatives to bolster Lethbridge’s well-being

Actions

  1. Participate in the following:
    • COVID social response
    • community safety and well-being strategy with specific
    • coordination with integrated coordinated access diversity and inclusion initiatives
    • Lethbridge Community addictions and mental health strategies development
    • Healthy Campus Alberta
    • Okanagan Charter
    • Post-Secondary Collaboratives
    • Primary Care Network
    • Chamber of Commerce
  2. Disseminate knowledge to the college community around issues, initiatives, findings and improvements for the above participatory activities to ensure connections with broader community are seen and heard.

Implementation

Year 1 and ongoing

3.3 - Expand integrated service delivery with community service providers to support Lethbridge College community needs

Actions

  1. Continue and develop a consistent process to match service seekers in real-time and ensure this is built into the service pathways including prioritization, matching and systems navigation for students and employees.
  2. Continue a shared-service contract in partnership with AHS, Lethbridge Family Services and Canadian Mental Health Association to support warm handoffs and integrated service delivery where appropriate. Contracts to include clear process map, roles and responsibilities, procedures and monitoring processes for referrals and follow-up.
  3. Develop a data-sharing agreement in partnership with AHS and the Primary Care Network to mitigate any barriers to service that may arise due to lack of information sharing and improve coordinated service delivery.
  4. Participate in offerings on campus and off campus that are available to Lethbridge College members with the intent of enhancing the integration of health and wellness services within broader health and Wellness ecosystem in Lethbridge.

Implementation

Year 2 and ongoing

Acknowledgement of Siksikaitsitapi

Located on the traditional lands of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Lethbridge College is committed to honouring the land from a place of knowing. We honour the Siksikaitsitapi as both the traditional and current Land Keepers of this area, and we welcome all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples who call Blackfoot territory their home.

Acknowledgement of Contributors

This document reflects work by HelpSeeker, a Calgary-based social enterprise company that was contracted by Lethbridge College in March 2020. Its work included community engagement, data analysis and visualization, best practice research and a review of existing programs and services at Lethbridge College. Their work can be found in documents linked in this summary.

HelpSeeker worked closely with the Institutional Health and Wellness Advisory Committee from Lethbridge College.  Thank you to committee members: Adam Addison, Jorden Ager, Ashley Amson, Kristy Clark, Harmoni Jones, Charles McArthur, Laura Morden, Coreen Roth, Nancy Russell, Ednna Stobschinski, Dawn Sugimoto, Jennifer Yanish and Frank Zappone.

Thank you to our DCM students

The Health and Wellness Advisory Committee extends its thanks to Digital Communications and Media students: Tabetha Burke- Mueller, Kendra Laybourne, Joy Warren and Derek Wipf. These students played an important role in the initial development of the LC Cares branding used throughout this document and for future wellness-related initiatives at Lethbridge College.