Wellness and Health Promotion
Health, Safety, and Well-being Wellness and Health Promotion
The Wellness and Health Promotion Knowledge Community provides opportunities for student affairs professionals, campus administrators, faculty members, and students to explore and address the complex relationships between health, learning, and student well-being. We actively nurture and support the professional development of students and professionals through a variety of programs and by providing leadership and involvement opportunities within the KC.
Message from the Chair
Welcome to the Wellness and Health Promotion KC website! We support the health and well-being of students and professional through a sense of community, engagement, and connection. We encourage you to take a look around the website and learn more about our work and continued focus on promoting healthy living on campus.
The Wellness and Health Promotion Knowledge Community provides NASPA members a place to discuss the many ways in which we can promote healthy lifestyles for students and on campuses in a way that promotes the missions of our institutions.
We facilitate the discussion on the relationship between health and learning in college environments through:
- Sharing data
- Literature process
- Discussions of research and best practices
- Organizing and planning events at regional and national meetings
Wellness and Health Promotion Priorities
- Advance a public health agenda in health in higher education
- Infuse health into student affairs practice
- Enhance alignment of health to the university mission
Wellness and Health Promotion Activities
- Host a minimum of one preconference at each NASPA annual conference
- Strengthen the KC
- Increase communication with KC membership
- Promote evidence- and theory-informed/based resources for health in higher education
Why a Knowledge Community on Wellness and Health Promotion?
Student learning is at the core of the academic mission. Students' physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health and well-being have a significant influence on their academic and personal success. Creating a campus environment that supports student health and safety is therefore an important, broad institutional responsibility that requires commitment and activities both inside and outside the classroom.
A wide range of college and university professionals work to promote health (defined broadly, not just medically) and therefore support student learning. It is common to find residence life staff, health educators, nurses, student activities staff, physicians, campus recreation staff, counselors, and other Student Affairs professionals leading or collaborating with faculty members or administrators on campus-wide health initiatives. Population-level health concerns (such as alcohol, violence, stress, and depression) are increasingly viewed as campus-wide issues that affect the health of students and their academic progress.
The Wellness and Health Promotion Knowledge Community, formerly known as the Health in Higher Education Knowlege Community, was established in July 2004. As NASPA's Health Education and Leadership Program ends, the Health and Wellness Promotion KC will continue the discussion on the relationship between health and learning, and creating environments and healthy campus initiatives that support student achievement.
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Knowledge Community leaders are NASPA volunteers who have generously devoted their time to their Knowledge Community. Chairs are elected by the Knowledge Community members while Regional representatives are selected from within the Region. Additional roles are selected by the Knowledge Community.
One of the best resources available to you is the wide range of professional development opportunities. This list contains both our “Hosted Events,” workshops and webinars that we plan and manage, and some “Related Events,” hosted by the NASPA Central Office or other NASPA Constituent Groups. To see a full listing of NASPA events, please see the Events page.
All reading materials can be viewed and downloaded on the "Resources" section at the bottom of this page.
- An Operational Classification of Disease Prevention (1983)
- Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986)
- Health Promotion as a Public Strategy for the 1990s (1990)
- Health-Promoting Environments: The Next Steps (1997)
- World Health Organization - Health Promoting Glossary (1998)
- The Contribution of the World Health Organization to a New Public Health and Health Promotion (2003)
- Leadership for a Healthy Campus: An Ecological Approach for Student Success (2005)
- Prevention Tactics: The IOM Model Tool for Prevention Planning and Implementation (2006)
- World Health Organization Health Promotion Glossary: New Terms (2006)
- Institute of Medicine Framework and Its Implications for the Advancement of Prevention Policy, Programs, and Practice (2007)
- Healthy Universities: Introduction and Model (2010)
- Collective Impact (2011)
- Standards of Practice for Health Promotion in Higher Education (2012)
- The Well-Being and Flourishing of Students (2013)
- Searching for the Meaning of Community Well-Being (2015)
- Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities & Colleges (2015)
- Wellness: Its Origins, Theories and Current Applications in the United States (2015)
- Widening the View: Situating Collective Impact among Frameworks for Community-led Change (2015)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Well-Being Concepts (2017)
- Health Promotion Glossary (2021)
- Geneva Charter for Well-being (2022)
The Wellness and Health Promotion Knowledge Community has collected the following glossary of terms pertinent to its discussions. When no other source is indicated, the definition is drawn from standard collegiate dictionaries.
- Ambulatory: able to walk about and not bedridden: performed on or involving an ambulatory patient or an outpatient.
- Ambulatory health care: Direct personal health care services to a person seeking treatment or advice on an out-patient, non-institutionalized basis. Primary care, early detection, routine treatment of health problems, and preventive care all take place in the ambulatory health care setting. [Shirreffs, J.H. Community Health: Contemporary Perspectives. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1982. p70, 253.]
- Counseling: Professional counseling is the application of mental heath, psychological or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic interventions, strategies that address wellness, personal growth, or career development, as well as pathology. (American Counseling Association)
- Education: Experiences that influence the way people perceive themselves in relation to their social, cultural, and physical environments; a complex and purposeful process for expediting learning (Modeste & Tamayose); an engaged, interactive process of making meaning that has the potential to transform the learner (Keeling).
- Health: The physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being and fitness that individuals enjoy. Health is not just freedom from disease but is multidimensional and is to a large extent culturally defined (Modeste & Tamayose); a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States [Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100] and entered into force on 7 April 1948); the capacity to work, study, and love (Keeling); a state of well-being and dignity (Farmer).
- Health care: efforts made to maintain or restore health, especially by trained and licensed professionals.
- Information: knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction.
- Medical: of, relating to, or concerned with physicians or the practice of medicine. Note that the definition of health is broader than that of medicine.
- Nursing: The duties of a person who is skilled or trained in caring for the sick or infirm especially under the supervision of a physician; note, however, that nurses now practice with increasing independence, especially in ambulatory care settings. Nurses with additional preparation and certification to provide direct clinical services are often called advanced practice nurses, a category that includes, for example, nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists.
- Patient Education: Any planned learning experience using a combination of teaching methods, counseling, and behavior modification techniques to influence the knowledge and health behavior of patients (people who are seeking health care). Patient education is concerned with helping patients learn how to care for themselves and to participate in decisions about their health care. It helps prepare patients to deal with changes in medical care. The greater part of patient education is done by nurses, although health educators and preventive medicine professionals are often employed to plan and teach patients about exercise regimens, dietary changes, and inherited traits of disease to help them reduce stress and cope with their illnesses (Modeste & Tamayose).
- Recreation: refreshment of strength and spirits after work; also: a means of refreshment or diversion; the restoration of health by relaxing or strengthening the physical, mental, and psychological self.
- Student Learning: A complex, holistic, multi-centric activity that occurs throughout and across the college experience (ACPA & NASPA: Learning Reconsidered).
- Wellness: A dimension of health that goes beyond the absence of disease or infirmity and includes the integration of social, mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of health. The concept of wellness was first introduced in the United States in the 1970s as an expanding experience of purposeful and enjoyable living. Wellness refers to a positive state, illness to a negative state (Butler, 2000; Green & Kreuter, 1999 in Modeste & Tamayose). But note that the comprehensive vision of health embraced by the term wellness is sometimes described using other words.
Standards are agreed upon conditions of educational service that must be provided to achieve the highest level of service to students (Council on the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, 2015). Standards are essential criteria to define successful professional practice in a given field of expertise, for which tangible evidence can be found to support a program or an individual practitioner's level of attainment.
Standards for Health Promotion Services with an introductory Contextual Statement are included in the CAS Book of Professional Standards and Guidelines.
Potential uses of standards include program development, continuous improvement, self-study for accreditation or review, staff development, student development, program planning, program evaluation, and education about student affairs services and programs.
- Council on the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education
- American College Health Association Standards of Practice for Health Promotion in Higher Education
Last Updated June 2022
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Well-Being Concepts (2017)
Widening the View: Situating Collective Impact among Frameworks for Community-led Change (2015)
An Operational Classification of Disease Prevention (1983)
Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986)
Health Promotion as a Public Health Strategy for the 1990s (1990)
Health-Promoting Environments: The Next Steps (1997)
World Health Organization - Health Promoting Glossary (1998)
The Contribution of the World Health Organization to a New Public Health and Health Promotion (2003)
Leadership for a Healthy Campus: An Ecological Approach for Student Success (2005)
Prevention Tactics: The IOM Model Tool for Prevention Planning and Implementation (2006)
World Health Organization Health Promotion Glossary: New Terms (2006)
Institute of Medicine Framework and Its Implications for the Advancement of Prevention Policy, Programs, and Practice (2007)
Healthy Universities: Introduction and Model (2010)
Standards of Practice for Health Promotion in Higher Education (2019)
The Well-Being and Flourishing of Students (2013)
Searching for the Meaning of Community Well-Being (2015)
Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities & Colleges (2015)
Wellness: Its Origins, Theories and Current Applications in the United States (2015)
Health Promotion Glossary (2021)
Geneva Charter for Well-being (2022)
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