Prioritizing Well-Being in Higher Education

What quality do you value (above all else) in colleagues and co-workers? 

That is what I asked myself as I started a new position where I was asked to consider the future of the department and fill currently vacant positions.  It was important for me to think about what kind of person can both positively represent the institution, consistently meet and exceed expectations of the role and best serve our students.

After reading “Well-Being: The Five Essential Elements” (Rath & Harter, 2010) the answer came to me.  I want to hire and work with people who aspire to be successful examples of well-being.  In short, I want to hire healthy people.  I recognize that “healthy” looks different to all of us.  It’s not about being a size 2, having a certain title, having 30K in savings or running a marathon.  It’s about our overall outlook; making conscious choices about how we live our lives and being intentional about striving for heightened sense of well-being in our lives.  To find out more about this book, check out the website at:

Rath & Harter (2010) discuss five elements of well-being including career, social, financial, physical and community.  Each of these areas profoundly impact our ability to be successful—both personally and professionally. Well-being “…is about the combination of our love for what we do each day, the quality of our relationships, the security of our finances, the vibrancy of our physical health, and the pride we take in what we have contributed to our communities,” (pg. 4).

Based on their research, the authors report that while 66% of people are doing well in at least one category, only 7% are thriving in all five.  What is holding us back from succeeding in all areas?  The answer is staring back at us in the mirror.  As a profession who aspires to help others in their own personal exploration we must be the models of health and vibrancy for our students to emulate.

In an effort to continue towards self-improvement and making progress to be the best version of ourselves I enlisted five friends who I believe exemplify qualities of a life well-lived in each of the five respective categories.

I asked them to share their journey of how they have found a sense of well-being within a particular element.  I hope you find their stories inspiring and aspirational examples of health and wellness.

Because I believe that new knowledge acquired requires taking action (or else it is simply useless information) I am determined to use this model to frame how we recruit, on-board new employees and welcome new people into our department.  This lens provides an outline for how we want to train and assist in the transition of staff.  I hope to share the lessons learned as I use this model to inform my own thinking and work in higher education.

Here’s to a new academic year and a renewed commitment to creating the life we have always wanted!

If this resonates with you I hope you will also share your own wellness success stories.

What area(s) of well-being are you committed to working on this year?


Follow me on Twitter: @annmarieklotz

About annmarieklotz

I write about all things education, personal & professional development and growth. Once is a question, twice is a discussion and three times is a blog post! Born and raised in Detroit Michigan but currently calling the Pacific Northwest home. I work at Oregon State University and belong to a fantastic community of higher ed professionals around the globe! Lover of theater and the arts. Live your best life!
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19 Responses to Prioritizing Well-Being in Higher Education

  1. Liz Gross says:

    I’m so excited for this!

  2. Anne Stark says:

    This is fantastic! Something I push for with those around me. Thank you for sharing the book. I can’t wait to check it out and apply new knowledge to my world!

  3. Ciji Ann says:

    AMK, you have inspired me to read this book. I’m looking forward to reading the upcoming posts related to this topic and adopting some action strategies for creating balance in these areas. Great post & thank you!

  4. Great initiative. Looking forward to reading each entry 🙂

  5. Amma says:

    I love, love, LOVE this. I’m going to read this book, something tells me I’ll really enjoy it.
    Great post, AMK 🙂

  6. Brian Stroup says:

    This is a great book and a really fantastic way to share its concept in the future posts. Looking forward to reading them. 🙂 Thanks for getting this great idea rolling Ann Marie!

  7. Pingback: February 2013 Book Reviews | Becca Obergefell

  8. Vivien Mork says:

    wonderful post, very informative. I’m wondering why
    the opposite specialists of this sector don’t realize this.
    You should continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  9. Pingback: February 2013 Book Reviews: Night, the dip, Well Being, Beautiful Ruins | Becca Obergefell

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