Resilience and student wellbeing in Higher Education

A theoretical basis for establishing law school responsibilities for helping our students to thrive

  • Nigel Duncan City University London
  • Caroline Strevens University of Portsmouth
  • Rachael Field Bond University
Keywords: student wellbeing, self determination theory, neoliberalism, curriculum design, learning methods


There is widespread concern for the mental wellbeing of our students. We argue that, while resisting the neoliberal tendencies that contribute to this, we have a responsibility for helping our students to thrive. Rooted in a theory of positive psychology: self determination theory, we present methods which may help us in this endeavour. These include our approaches to marketing and recruitment, curriculum design, assessment and feedback, experiential learning and developing a safe learning environment. We suggest how addressing these areas of our practice may assist students to develop their competence, and to experience autonomy and relatedness during their programmes of learning. In so doing we provide sources which underpin our arguments and which, we hope, will encourage a debate across European law faculties on this important topic.

Author Biographies

Nigel Duncan, City University London

Professor of Legal Education, City Law School

Caroline Strevens, University of Portsmouth

Reader in Legal Education, Head of Portsmouth Law School

Rachael Field, Bond University

Professor, Faculty of Law