Changing the university from a wellbeing perspective
FTDi recently spoke with BCII Alumnus Tyler Key, to discuss his leadership in the faculty’s research into the first year experience of students transitioning into transdisciplinary undergraduate degrees. The project is looking at the ‘what, how and why’ first year students may encounter a jarring transition into university; to develop the necessary interventions to improve their first year experience. He is also heavily involved in other research projects to develop wellbeing & wellbeing measurement methodologies at UTS and effective practices for transdisciplinary teamwork education.
Tyler came about this opportunity to take part in such Wellbeing research at UTS, through a Fourth year BCII assignment; students are encouraged to produce something that will have an impact upon the FTDi system, by selecting a key intervention point. Tyler drew upon his interest in wellbeing from his Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science core degree; he also has a career in Personal Training that has enabled him to gain a unique, tangible understanding of altering human behaviour from a health perspective.
How did you come to the decision to stay on with FTDi after graduation?
"I thought about staying back here around the time of my Legacy assignment; being from the country I thought it could be interesting to see if students from a low socio economic background could have assistance getting into the BCII. I started doing some research and talking to Louise and Alison about how can we play around with entry pathways - this was proven to be quite rigid due to university structures. Along with gaining entry into the BCII there’s also the issue of students’ entering the degree and not understanding it at first, so they simply drop out. With these two large problems, I decided I wanted to tackle them - BCII is such a great opportunity, and if you don’t give it a real chance it can’t show its true self to you yet.
From this point, I started with a first year experience grant that was raised in the faculty – it was used to set up a BCII first year mentoring program, trialled at the beginning of this year. It didn’t go entirely to plan, but we think that with all the feedback given this year, it can run much smoother next year for our new students coming in 2019."
How has this experience working with FTDi reinforced your understanding of the BCII?
"I’ve really enjoyed being on the other side of things. I’m able to see the overarching picture and better understand how each subject interlinks; especially into our final year of consolidating knowledge in a real world environment.
It’s also really highlighted the amount of work that is behind each subject. Staff work tirelessly to develop the experiential learning environment we go through. It’s hard work but, it honestly pays off for our students."
Do you have ongoing plans to continue on with FTDi in the future?
"I’d really like to stick around for another year at least, to reconfigure the first year experience at FTDi. I’ve taken on such an intrapreneurial role this year, utilising my BCII skillset – so it’s important for me to realise the change I set out to achieve. I also want to continue pulling on both my health and wellbeing hat, staying true to my transdisciplinarity.
My ongoing research project poses the following question: "How can we we help facilitate collective wellbeing improvements through grassroots initiatives". In terms of why I believe this is an important issue - Health & wellbeing informs everything I do. If you don’t embed it into the way you work or its structure, it is completely disregarded."
Do you feel like your Personal Training career has provided you with a unique edge during the research project so far?
"With my coaching background, I can ensure that the students we do receive are well looked after with the right support at the right time - it’s a process based thing. I think I had some dormant teaching wisdom that was left over from my PT background – this has really informed my current role. As a coach you try and not necessarily give away the answers; instead you facilitate the person to get to the answer on their own. This has proven to be a very similar approach to the BCII teaching methodology."
If you could list one highlight from your year so far, what would it be?
"Teaching back into problems to possibilities would be the highlight. It’s been five years since I did it myself. To relive the experience and go through the unveiling of what is BCII and the magic that comes with it, was really cool. Helping the students through the process of realising how much potential there is from doing the BCII was fantastic."