University students matter! Improving students’ well-being and academic success through increased mattering

General Overview

The perception of mattering holds profound significance in shaping self-identity, particularly for students navigating the academic landscape.

This collaborative project, encompassing the University of Florence, the University of Birmingham, Semmelweis University, and Linnaeus University, is dedicated to cultivating students’ perceived mattering within the university context.

The goal is to create an environment where students feel not only seen and heard but also to yield positive impacts on their self-esteem, overall well-being, and academic performance.

Purpose and Significance

In the face of various stressors and challenges, students often grapple with the need for tailored support in the academic setting. Grounded in individual student experiences, our project aims to establish best practices that both university institutions and individual educators can adopt to enhance students’ well-being through an increased perception of mattering. Our findings, drawn from a combination of quantitative and qualitative data and collaborative discussions between students and academics, will contribute valuable insights into strategies that promote well-being at the local level - a foundational step towards fostering healthy communities.

Implementation Method and Timeline

The project unfolds across meticulously planned work packages (WPs), all directly involving students and overseen by the University of Florence. Linnaeus University, in charge of WP1, will conduct preliminary analyses and host a virtual kick-off roundtable in June and July 2023. WP2, led by the University of Birmingham, focuses on a needs-assessment conducted from July to November 2023, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Semmelweis University spearheads WP3, dedicated to developing and evaluating a brief mattering programme between December 2023 and March 2024. WP4, orchestrated by the University of Florence, involves a one-day workshop in April and May 2024 where students and academics collaboratively identify strategies for improving mattering within universities. The project concludes with a final meeting in May 2024.

Expected Outcomes

The project’s outcomes will extend beyond the academic realm, offering transformative strategies for future education. Enhancing students’ sense of mattering will not only positively impact their university life but will also transcend into their broader existence, fostering resilience and engagement. This improvement in the learning environment is anticipated to boost academic success and reduce dropout rates, subsequently diminishing the need for psychological counselling. Encouraging connections among students from different universities will prepare them for future collaborations. Importantly, the project sets the stage for ongoing research collaboration among the consortium’s member universities, ensuring a sustained impact on students’ well-being.