FoE Wellness Framework and Implementation Plan

Development of the FoE Wellness Framework and Implementation Plan

The FoE is currently undertaking a large-scale initiative to develop and implement a Wellness Framework, often called a Model of Change. A program framework guides the development, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives designed to address specific needs or concerns. There are many advantages to using frameworks at each stage of program development (exploration, preparation, implementation, and sustainment). Program frameworks create a common language, clarify priorities/objective, provide reference points, and define the scope and outcomes of a change process.

Why Develop a Framework?

A framework explicitly defines what changes initiatives will bring about and the results we expect to see for our community. A framework helps keep actions, effort, and decision-making moving towards the defined outcomes. Evaluation plans help determine the program's effectiveness and to what extent outcomes have been achieved. Evaluation plans also provide feedback on program effectiveness and any needed adjustments.

There are currently several university-level frameworks and initiatives dedicated to improving wellbeing across campus. Several departments within Engineering have also developed department-level wellness frameworks. However, no unifying Faculty level wellness framework exists that links these two levels together and identifies Faculty specific wellness outcomes for our community.

In addition, many of these frameworks are newly created. As a result, a strategy for operationalizing these initiatives or integrating department-level activities into a strategic approach that progressively fosters a culture of wellbeing has yet to be created.

A Faculty level wellness framework will provide direction, define the scope, identify outcome metrics, help align various wellness activities, and to guide the implementation, sustainment, and ongoing evaluation process.

Developing a framework and implementation plan of this complexity and scope takes time and has many steps.

Step 1: Acknowledge needs

The first step in creating change is acknowledging a need you want to address, or a goal/outcome you want to achieve.

Action Taken: Wellness was included as a strategic initiative in the 2020-2025 Faculty of Engineering Strategic Plan.

Status: Completed 2020

Step 2: Confirm leadership support

It is difficult to do things alone. Support from those around us, especially from those who can help facilitate change, always makes the journey a little easier.

Action Taken: Wellness was included as a strategic initiative in the 2020-2025 Faculty of Engineering Strategic Plan.

Status: Completed 2020

Step 3: Gather input/feedback from the community

A crucial step in creating effective frameworks and strategic initiatives is gathering feedback, insights, perspectives, and suggestions from key stakeholders and community members.

Action Taken: In Spring and Fall 2022, the Community Wellness Team completed 60 interviews with employees across the FoE. In 2023, the focus is on connecting with currently enrolled FoE Students to gather their thoughts through a series of conversation circles.

Status: In progress, Est. completion Fall 2023

Step 4: Analyze feedback and data

Once qualitative and quantitative data has been collected, it must be analyzed. Findings and key messages are then leveraged and inform the development of the Framework and Model of Change.

Action Taken: The FoE collects wellness feedback from multiple sources such as, the annual wellness surveys, FoE specific results from national surveys, and through interviews and conversation circles. Data is analyzed as it is collected.

Status: In progress, Est. completion Fall 2023

Step 5: Establish vision and mission

This step can also be done at the beginning of the process. At this stage, the community and key stakeholders unite to set the direction and focus for the group’s efforts.

Anticipated Action: FoE embraces the Waterloo @ 100 guiding principles, further informed by feedback from the FoE community. Waterloo @ 100 says the following:

"We will ensure our students’ and employees’ physical and mental health and well-being and support them to achieve success in their personal and professional lives."

Status: Estimated start date-Winter 2024

Step 6: Identify priorities and outcomes

Based on feedback and strategic vision, desired goals and outcomes are defined. These outcomes are then ranked in order of priority and used to inform or guide the development of initiatives and programming.  

Anticipated Action: Once any needed refinement to the FoE vision and mission is completed, outcomes and goals will be defined.

Status: Estimated start date-Winter 2024

Step 7: Develop Framework or Model of Change

During this step, a map or model for change is created to outline the relationships between resources, proposed interventions, the results of the interventions, and outcomes or change indicators. This process creates a testable model and outlines the underlying mechanism for change. It also outlines organizational values and guiding philosophies, defines terms, and creates a common language to support the community through the change process.

Anticipated Action: A Model of Change, Glossary of Terms and other needed resources will be created and shared with the FoE and University community.

Status: Estimated start date-Winter 2024

Step 8: Design effective interventions

During this step, promising approaches, actions, and activities, that when put into practice as intended will meet local needs, are identified. Intervention strategies are based on what has been learned through research and experience in community contexts. What needs to change is linked to empirical and experimental evidence that guides the development of the interventions.

Anticipated Action: These interventions will be based on a realistic assessment of community needs, capabilities, and resources.

Status: Estimated start date is Winter 2024

Step 9: Implement initiatives, strategies, and programming

Once the implementation and evaluation plans are created, the community begins implementing the activities developed in steps 7-9.

Anticipated Action: The FoE is currently offering numerous wellness initiatives to support students and employees. At this time, programming is being offered in response to an immediate need, without empirical evidence to guide long-term, systemic change. With the completion of the framework and Model of Change, future programming will be designed using evidence-informed decision-making.

Status: Estimated start date is Fall 2024

Step 10: Sustaining the work

Once all plan stages are implemented and evaluated, the focus shifts to an ongoing quality assurance process.

Anticipated Action: Ongoing quality assurance process replaces the Model of Change process.

Status: Estimated start date is Winter 2025

For more information on the Best Change Process and Evaluation Frameworks, visit the Community Tool Box developed by the Centre for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas and the Canadian Evaluation Society, or contact the Community Wellness Team.