In recent years, student wellbeing has been widely discussed in the media. Many universities have reported a sharp increase in students seeking counselling due to the impact of high tuition fees and the burden of debt. Russell group institutions reported that 43,000 students availed of counselling in the academic year 2014-15 compared with 34,000 three years earlier. High fees are only part of the problem. In 2017, the THE surveyed 2000 students who indicated high levels of stress due to the pressure of course work. Isolation is another major issue. A new study by the University of Southampton indicates that students who experience isolation are at a greater risk of developing mental health problems. Universities are under pressure to address these issues by creating a student experience and learning environment that supports student wellbeing. Research commissioned by Unihealth in 2017 into student stress is also quite alarming.
Why is Scriptor Cube needed?
The issue of student stress in the university sector is not adequately addressed and as a result of my extensive work with students at various universities, I developed strategies and programmes to address this issue. Due to the success of these programmes in supporting student wellbeing in the university sector, Scriptor Cube was created to provide coping strategies to help students deal with anxiety and develop confidence in areas such as academic writing; networking and engagement with peers; networking with potential research partners and other research or career-related external bodies; developing confidence in entrepreneurial innovation; developing confidence in enhancing creative thinking and interdisciplinary thinking in research; and confidence development in making presentations.
How was it developed?
I have worked as an academic in the university sector for 12 years and have found a paucity of support for students who suffer from stress. Scriptor Cube provides a unique service to universities as the programmes on offer are bespoke courses developed over a number of years to support student wellbeing. It is the one of the first student experience and learning companies in the UK. The various courses on offer evolved over a period of time in the following contexts:
Academic writing: The courses on academic writing are based on a new methodology designed to reduce writing anxiety. Academic writing is a challenge for many students and with the pressures of needing to attain a high grade or having to publish, writing anxiety is a common problem for students. I developed a nine-step strategy which takes an unorthodox approach to planning and structuring a dissertation, thesis chapter or article. Whether it is for an undergraduate or postgraduate, this strategy removes the stressful issues that can cause writer's block. I developed this new pedagogical approach when writing up my PhD thesis in 2009. Over the years I have taught it to undergraduate, masters and doctoral students and it has had a significant positive impact.