Resources and best practices for social-emotional learning in higher ed

By the time students enter their first year of college, it’s widely assumed that any social-emotional learning (SEL) they received as part of their primary and secondary education will have to carry them through the college years. What educators have begun to realize, however, is that continued SEL is necessary for college students.

Competencies related to SEL – like responsible decision-making and self-management – can set students apart as they prepare for the modern work environment. Additionally, a lack of SEL competencies could pose a significant barrier to persistence and academic success. Here are some of the most helpful resources and research related to SEL in higher education:

Research and Best Practices for SEL in Colleges and Universities

A Guide to Incorporating SEL in the College Classroom

This 69-page manual offers extensive information about how to create an effective SEL framework suitable for higher education. The guide is based on the real-life teaching experience of Drs. Kristel M. Gallagher and Shevaun L. Stocker. Read the guide.

The Handbook of Social-Emotional Learning

In this book, contributors describe effective intervention and prevention methods designed to build college students’ social-emotional skills. The book also explores conceptual and scientific connections between SEL, improved academic performance, and better cognitive health. Read the handbook.

Journal of Social and Emotional Learning: Research, Practice, and Policy
This independent, peer-reviewed journal is designed for academic leaders, practitioners, and policymakers striving for a more connected SEL field. The quarterly journal was founded by CASEL (The Collaboration for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) to share research, spark productive dialogue, and ensure that educators focus on evidence-based solutions. Read the journal.

Examples of Existing SEL Initiatives in Colleges and Universities

University of California, Los Angeles: Resilience in Your Student Experience (RISE)

The RISE program is an extension of UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services department and is designed to provide students with the tools and resources they need to enhance resilience, well-being, and manage academic stress. The program offers drop-in support and workshops about several topics – including self-care, reflective journaling, and how to navigate insurance to find a therapist. Read more.

Tuft’s University: Tisch College Initiative on Social-Emotional Learning and Civic Engagement (SEL-CE)

The SEL-CE initiative takes a two-pronged approach to SEL. First by equipping educators (including all staff and faculty) with the skills to build their own SEL competencies. Second, by providing support for educators interested in incorporating SEL into their coursework. The initiative also takes into account how diverse identities (including race, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, or sexual orientation) interact and affect the experiences and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. Read more.

Lafayette College: Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CITLS)

As part of its CITLS program, Lafayette College provides educators with recommended practices for SEL-based instruction. Examples include pacing the class so the workload is lighter during midterms and incorporating mid-course feedback surveys. Overall, the CITLS SEL Methods Area is designed to help educators incorporate specific SEL approaches, no matter whether they teach virtually or in person. Read more.

Articles and Blogs About SEL in Higher Education

College Students Need SEL Too

This Inside Higher Ed article outlines different SEL prompts that educators can assign to students. A key takeaway is that there’s often a disconnect between the instructor’s goals and the student’s goals. To improve SEL competencies (and ultimately perseverance), it’s helpful for students to set and regularly evaluate their own SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) throughout the semester. Read the article.

Building a Social and Emotional Learning Community for Our Students

This article in Faculty Focus offers simple, actionable SEL tips for instructors. As social-emotional barriers are broken down, students may feel more comfortable sharing their opinions, voicing their ideas, and asking questions that guide academic exploration and facilitate peer relationships. The author explains what instructors can do to cultivate this type of learning environment. Read the article.

Kids Aren’t the Only Ones Who Benefit from Social-Emotional Learning

This Ed Surge article explores the importance of SEL for adults, especially as educators struggle with overwhelming workloads. The author states that a leader must have the bandwidth and skillset to model the very social-emotional competencies students need to succeed, and suggests that institutions offer counseling and mental health support for staff and faculty. Read the article.

Five Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning in College, with Examples

This blog post explores five different benefits of incorporating SEL into higher education. For example, intertwining SEL with academic coursework better equips students for future leadership roles and improves their soft skills. The blog also includes ideas for educators to try, such as assigning case study analyses related to their field of study. This could help students review the ethics and complexities of SEL competencies like responsible decision-making or social awareness. Read the blog.

Resources and best practices for social-emotional learning in higher ed

Like What You Read? Share It With Others!