This paper addresses the tricky question of how the Engineering Curriculum can be better designed so as to nurture and improve the mental health of university engineering students. Since the end of the Pandemic, the UK has seen an increase in the numbers of young people aged 18-25 self-reporting mental health problems (Young Minds, 2023). Taking a wider perspective, there has been a rise of 450% in the numbers of young people informing UCAS that they have a mental health problem over the last decade (NUS, 2022). Yet, Engineering Education has the lowest rate of self-declared mental health problems on application, with 1.4% of engineering students giving prior notice of mental health challenges compared with 3.7% of all applicants (UCAS, 2023).
In acknowledging that lower pre-reporting rates of mental health challenges are unlikely to reflect lower rates of mental illness or unwellness amongst our students, one of the driving principles of this project is to address the higher-than-average rates of attrition and failure amongst engineering students. Furthermore, in planning how the curriculum might be further enhanced so as to promote mental health, the need to develop ‘authentic’ engineering education experiences (Chang et. al., 2010) is acknowledged to be central to student success.
In sum, in discussing the importance of embedding mental health into the engineering curriculum, this paper contributes to academic debates around the engineering student experience. In doing so it is argued that there is a real need to extend the concept of constructive alignment beyond the curriculum and across all aspects of the student learning journey.
Palmer, I., Knowles, N., Andrews, J., Clark, R., Cooke, G., & Knowles, G. (2023). Moving Constructive Alignment Beyond The Curriculum: Embedding Mental Health And Wellbeing Into The UK Engineering Student Experience. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/13N9-7606
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.