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The Positive Start Project

A Proactive Approach to Promoting Wellbeing in the New Academic Community.

Led by Dr Jane Andrews from WMG, The Positive Start Project is a programme aimed at rebuilding a learning community of Early Career Academics (ECAs), reaching across the three domains of:

  • Personal

  • Interpersonal

  • Organisational

It included an Action Research Approach to gain insights into the professional development impact and outcomes of the programme.

Project Outcomes

  • The project garnered participation in professional development activities by ECAs

  • It provided high quality professional development strengths training for 43 ECAs

  • ECAs gained a depth of insight about their own personality and professional profile and actively consider to apply this to their own approach to academia and scholarly activities.


Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring was aimed at supporting and encouraging individual ECAs to reflect upon their professional career-focused aims and ambitions whilst also being supported by a more senior individual.

ECAs were divided into small peer mentoring groups of two and three and matched by strengths profiles conversations within these dyads and triads enabled colleagues to better understand themselves and each other.

It provided an ideal opportunity for conversations on the challenges of conducting research enabled colleagues to begin to develop supportive communities.

This was designed to help combat some of the isolation within our ECA community.

Next Steps

  • Following on from the ‘Positive Start’ kick off workshops, an ongoing series of teaching and research focused workshops aimed specifically at the ECA community is underway. These are aimed at broadening ECAs professional capabilities, experiences and competencies, different academic areas are covered in fortnightly sessions.

  • Professional development activity, a peer mentoring network and teacher training activity are also underway.

Image credit: Hollis Photography