Loughborough Doctoral College

Training and events

Wellbeing Fortnight 2021

Monday 1st March: 12:30-1pm
Caring for your back

Sam MacGregor - Sports Development Centre (Physiotherapy Team)

Online, Microsoft Teams

Book via searching 'Caring for your back' on the my.HR learning page.

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Lower back pain is a common complaint affecting 80% of people in their lifetimes. This talk will look to establish common causes of lower back pain especially caused by sitting for long periods. We will look at some anatomy and give simple practical solutions to prevent and treat lower back pain. We will have time to answer questions from the audience.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify causes of lower back pain.
  • Provide practical solutions to prevent lower back pain.
  • Provide practical solutions to treat lower back pain.
  • Provide practical advice for people sitting at home.

Presenter biography:

Sam MacGregor (BSc, Msc) is Clinical Lead based in Loughborough University Sports Medicine clinic. Working with athletes, student population and public on a daily basis. Previously working as Head of Academy Sports Science & Medicine at Derby County Football Academy for 9 years. Prior to this Sam worked in the NHS working with a wide range of patients.  

Monday 1st March: 3-5pm
Sleep and sleeplessness

Professor (emeritus) Jim Horne - School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences

(Online, Zoom)

Book via searching 'Sleep' on the my.HR learning page.

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Sleep is ‘by the brain for the brain’ and the session begins with a general overview of sleep and why we sleep.

As will be seen, our society’s level of ‘sleeplessness’, is no worse today than it ever was, and claims that adults need around 8h daily sleep are misleading, as are assertions that any such ‘sleep debt’ leads to eg obesity and related disorders.

Nevertheless, all this further adds to the worries for those with insomnia, for whom there is research based practical advice about improving sleep. Feeling ‘tired’ is not necessarily the same as sleepiness.

During this the session, an outline of other common sleep disorders will be given and attendees will be encouraged to discuss these topics. 

Presenter biography:

Prof (emeritus) Jim Horne DSc FRSB FBPsS - Until retirement I ran the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, with the Centre well known internationally for its research. My work has been and continues to be published extensively in the scientific and medical literature (eg go to PUBMED – use ‘Horne J AND sleep’ for search), and is often cited by the media. I was the Editor of the Journal of Sleep Research for 15y. I still maintain various ongoing collaborative projects with other universities and organisations, and I am presently Hon. Sec. of the Sleep Medicine Section of the Royal Society of Medicine. My main sleep interests are: ‘why we sleep’; sleep loss effects on body and brain, critically appraising ‘sleep debt’, and practical issues, particularly ‘falling asleep at the wheel’ for which we have undertaken much research. I have another, recent book “Sleeplessness’ (Palgrave Macmillan – available in printed, electronic and audio formats !). 

Wednesday 3rd March: 2-4pm
Supervisor Forum: Doctoral wellbeing & support

Dr Katryna Kalawsky - Doctoral College (Centre of Academic Practice - People Organisation Development)

(Online, Microsoft Teams)

Book via searching 'Supervisor Forum' on the my.HR learning page.

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The Doctoral College’s Supervisor Forum has been established to support new and existing supervisors of doctoral researchers in dealing with the demanding and changing role of doctoral supervision. Forum sessions run in addition to the ‘Fundamentals of Supervision’ training already provided for new supervisors by the Centre of Academic Practice and the ‘Preparing for the role of PhD examiner’ which is provided via the Doctoral College. Also, Forum sessions are designed to complement the ‘Getting the most out of supervision’ workshop for doctoral researchers.

The next Forum will focus on doctoral wellbeing; a topic that has become a huge issue in Higher Education. It is now widely agreed that universities and student unions must be cognisant of and both proactive and reactive to a range of interacting issues that can impact negatively upon the wellbeing of doctoral researchers. Not only is this important from institutional duty of care and student experience perspectives, it is also essential from a doctoral researcher’s developmental point of view since an individual’s ability to reach their full potential is heavily influenced by their wellbeing.

Given that the supervisory relationship is essential to the experience of doctoral researchers and can influence doctoral wellbeing, the intended learning outcomes of this Forum are:

  • Identify common pinch points/challenges experienced by doctoral researchers
  • Acquire examples of good (and bad) supervisory practice in relation to supporting doctoral wellbeing
  • Develop an appropriate response to support doctoral wellbeing

Thursday 4th March: 1-2:30pm
Maximising the potential of online doctoral supervision

Prof Elizabeth Peel & Dr Cristian Tileaga

(Online, Microsoft Teams)

Book via searching 'supervision' on the my.HR learning page.

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In May 2020 the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) published a Guide to Online Supervision (Kumar, Kumar & Taylor, 2020 see http://www.ukcge.ac.uk/content/publications-search.aspx to download) in this interactive and discursive workshop with research degree supervisors we use this guide as a spring board to reflection on how we individually, and collectively, have supervised our PhD and EngD students since March 2020. As well as sharing experiences, and discussing how to maximize online and blended supervision this session will explore wellbeing and support aspects of supervision ‘at a distance’.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Reflect on supervision during the pandemic and what changes and/or improvements in practice can be taken from it.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of ‘remote’ supervision at Loughborough.
  • Think prospectively as well as retrospectively about the experiences of online supervision for supervisors and students.
  • Propose/share ideas on what could be done to better shape supervisor(s)/student working.
  • Create a summary resource that draws together workshop responses.

Presenter biographies:

Elizabeth (Liz) Peel is Professor of Communication and Social Interaction, and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor (Doctoral College), Loughborough University. A Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, her latest books are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer & Intersex Psychology (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Psychologies of Ageing (2018) and Critical Kinship Studies (2016). Liz is Co-Chair of the Deans and Directors of Graduate Schools Network of the UK Council for Graduate Education (UKCGE) and became a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor, in the first cohort of the scheme in June 2020.

Cristian Tileaga is Reader in Social Psychology in the School of Social Sciences & Humanities at Loughborough University. He is the Doctoral Programmes Lead for Communication & Media and Pathway Lead for Communication & Media of the ESRC Midlands Graduate School. His latest books are Representing Communism After the Fall: Discourse, Memory, and Historical Redress (Palgrave, 2019) and The Nature of Prejudice: Society, Discrimination and Moral Exclusion (Routledge, 2015).

Thursday 4th March: 10-11:30am
Be a more resilient you!

Jonathan Phelan - Evenhood

(Online, Microsoft Teams)


Book via searching 'Resilient' on the my.HR learning page.

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Mental health is a challenging topic. It raises complex issues. It involves a wide range of conditions. Each condition is complex. The impact of mental health conditions differs for each individual, across a wide spectrum. The subject of mental health is often emotional and difficult to discuss. For this reason, individuals often believe that the only support they can get for their mental health is support from the medical profession, therapists and counsellors.

Similarly, initiatives around mental wellbeing in a workplace and education setting reflect this complexity around mental health. Mental health strategies tend to focus on offering in-house training so that people are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of poor mental health. Then they can signpost to external specialist medical or therapeutic support.

As a consequence, managers & leaders in the workplace and tutors & teachers in an education context tend to feel a frustrated sense of responsibility when dealing with mental health. They would like to offer more direct support; but consider that the complexities of the way the mind works are outside their ability to assist.

This workshop approaches mental wellbeing from a different perspective. The starting proposition is that mental health isn’t just about the complexities of the mind; it’s about your environment too. In a supportive environment, someone with a mental health challenge can do well. In a difficult environment, even someone who might be considered resilient could find their wellbeing challenged.

So, there are now two possible strategies. One can deal with the way the mind works. The other can deal with the impact that the workplace or educational environment has on wellbeing.

Approaching wellbeing from a situational or environmental perspective opens up a world of new opportunities. Individuals are empowered to reflect on their environment and identify the situations that have the biggest impact on their wellbeing. They can then make guided choices about how to better manage their wellbeing and strengthen their resilience.

Equally, leaders, managers, tutors and teachers can feel empowered to offer support without feeling a sense of frustrated responsibility. In their role, they are able to directly influence the workplace or educational environment.

By shifting the conversation from the mind to the environment, organisations can provide in-house support and create a culture and a mindset that enables a positive approach to mental wellbeing.

This workshop is designed to help participants work out how to identify the things in their environment that have the biggest impact on their wellbeing. It helps them make choices about how to improve their wellbeing. And it enables them to have focused and mentally healthy conversations so that they can use the same approach to support others.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

The workshop is designed to enable you to:

  • Explore the meaning of “resilience” in a wellbeing context
  • Discover the benefits of reflecting on your daily environment to discover the things that have the biggest impact on your wellbeing
  • Explore your options for addressing challenging situations in a way that enables you to manage your wellbeing
  • Work through some tools, tips and techniques for strengthening resilience.
  • Discover how to have mentally healthy conversations with others, in a non-medicalised way, which leads to you being able to give or get support for wellbeing.

Presenter biography:

Jonathan Phelan runs Evenhood which helps people manage their wellbeing, strengthen their resilience and have mentally healthy conversations. Evenhood works with employers and universities offering training and coaching. Jonathan is the author of ‘The Art of the Mentally Healthy Conversation’, ‘Be A More Resilient You!’ and ‘Boo-Bear’s Favourite Things’.


Tuesday 9th March: 09:00-17:00
SEDA Webinar: Supporting the wellbeing of academic staff in HE

Dr Katryna Kalawsky & Dr Sarah Turner - Centre of Academic Practice (People Organisation Development)

(Online, Zoom)



More info...

Co-Editors of an upcoming Staff Educational Development Association (SEDA) wellbeing special, Dr Sarah Turner (Centre of Academic Practice) and Dr Katryna Kalawsky (Doctoral College and Centre of Academic Practice), are leading three webinars during the spring to enable different higher education institutions to consider and share ideas and initiatives to support student, staff, and educational developer wellbeing.

The sessions will take place as follows:

  • Student Wellbeing (11 February, 12.30pm-2.30pm)

Consideration of students’ wellbeing is a current priority in HE. This webinar will focus on student (taught and research) wellbeing from four different perspectives (international students, comparisons between taught and research populations, extra-curricular activities, and academic resilience). There will be an opportunity for attendees to engage in a detailed discussion to draw upon experiences and importantly share strategies and best practice to support student wellbeing.

  • Staff Wellbeing (9 March, 12.30pm-2.30pm)

Supporting the wellbeing of academic staff in HE has become a growing area of importance within the sector. In this webinar, presentations will explore staff wellbeing from different angles (professional practice environment, new lecturer transition, and mentally healthy conversations) and will include different methods of support that attendees may wish to introduce in their practice.

  • Educational Developer Wellbeing (21 April, 12.30pm-2.30pm)

For those that support the development of academics and other staff with educational responsibilities, it is important to consider the role they play in terms of promoting wellbeing. This webinar will enable discussion on how Educational Developers can incorporate wellbeing into development programmes as well as how they can support their own professional development.

Speaking about the event, Dr Turner said:

“During each webinar, attendees will hear from a range of contributors about work within their institutions followed by a Q&A session. The second part of each workshop will enable attendees to share and discuss best practice.”

Dr Kalawsky added: “The SEDA wellbeing webinars will provide an opportunity for HE colleagues to learn about how some universities are trialling new methods to support wellbeing within their institutions. Ultimately, the webinars offer a time for those with a shared interest or passion for wellbeing to pause and become inspired to introduce positive change.”

The webinars will be delivered via Zoom. You can attend all or individual sessions.

For more information including how to book, visit the SEDA event booking webpage.

Tuesday 9th March:1-2:30pm
Heads Together: Doctoral and staff wellbeing open discussion

Chloe Blackwell,  Rachel Armitage & Guy Tallentire - Doctoral Researchers

(Online, Microsoft Teams)

Book via searching 'Heads Together' on the my.HR learning page.

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We can all recognise that undertaking a doctorate is challenging by its very nature, but the unprecedented times we are now living in threaten to further compound the risks to our mental and physical wellbeing as Doctoral Researchers. At Heads Together, we strive to create an informal and safe environment for Doctoral Researchers to collectively explore their wellbeing concerns, in hopes that these difficult conversations might be made easier. We also believe it is important for staff to be part of some of these discussions, and would like to warmly invite staff members – particularly supervisors and DPLs, amongst others – to join us for this Doctoral Researcher Wellbeing week session, with a view to fostering, and strengthening collegiality amongst staff and Doctoral Researchers.

Specifically, our wellbeing week session will focus on areas of wellbeing that Doctoral Researchershave highlighted that they struggle with the most. We plan to send out a short, anonymous survey in advance to both staff and PGRs, allowing us to draw out the most relevant topics for discussion and to field some pointers from staff who have already completed their doctoral journeys. On the day, our hope is that Doctoral Researchers and staff alike will contribute to a relaxed and helpful conversation in a safe environment, steeped in shared understanding and friendly advice.

Prior to attending, please complete this brief online survey.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Improved understanding of the experiences of Doctoral Researchers and staff, bolstering mutual respect between the two populations
  • Useful coping strategies for common wellbeing concerns, born from the experience of others
  • Signposting to further help within the university 

Rachel Armitage is a third year Doctoral Researcher studying means of tackling mis and disinformation on social media. She co-founded the Heads Together PGR peer network with Chloe Blackwell in early 2020.

Chloe Blackwell is a third year Doctoral Researcher studying the spending, needs and living standards of families raising children with autism. She is a co-founder of Heads Together.

Guy Tallentire is a third year Doctoral Researcher in Geography and Environment, researching glacier meltwater and sediment production and transport in the Arctic. Guy is the Lead Doctoral Researcher Representative for the School of Social Sciences and Humanities and has been a regular attendee of Heads Together since it moved to the online world. 

Tuesday 9th March: 2:30-3:45pm
How nutrition and eating behaviour can influence academic and personal success

Dr Chris McLeod - School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

(Online, Microsoft Teams)


Book via searching 'Nutrition' on the my.HR learning page.


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We all have tried and tested food-and-drink-related routines that we engage in every day, whether deliberatively or not. We tend to repeat these routines because they have somehow satisfied a need or two in the past – perhaps that might have been to stave off hunger, enjoy your meal and/or keep you awake during the day (COFFEE!!).

We tend to find it difficult to break these daily food-and-drink choices because it’s a step into the unknown, even if we know deep down that something’s still not quite right – perhaps you still feel tired during the day or can’t focus when reading a long document. A question that’s buried within us all is: will changing my food and drink choices satisfy my needs and desires as well as my current routines?

Chances are, there are changes to your food and drink choices that you can make that will improve your life in some way, and that aren’t a million miles away from what you’re doing now. You just need to know what to do and how to do it.

Through a mixture of presentation and group interaction, this workshop will explore various food and drink decisions that people make every day that may not best support their wishes to thrive both in and outside of work. Importantly, this workshop will present some solutions for you to try. Matters will be considered from a variety of perspectives and workshop attendees will be asked a series of questions at various points to prompt discussion. Attendees will be encouraged to share examples of their own food choices, if they feel comfortable.

*Chris would also be happy to take questions about food, diet and routines at the end of the workshop, so come with your burning questions.*


Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop your knowledge of various every-day food-related decisions that we make that may not best support your goal of performing your best at work.
  • Engage in discussions with others to learn how food choices and routines differ between people and what others feel they want to change about their diet.
  • Consider which simple changes you can make that may help you thrive both in and outside of work.
  • Receive resolutions to your burning questions about food, diet and routines.


Presenter biography:

Dr Chris McLeod is a University Teacher in Psychology and Chartered Psychologist who lectures, teaches and supervises students across all Parts of the Psychology undergraduate programme at Loughborough University. Chris’s main research interests are in exploring psychological drivers of episodic eating behaviour and interventions to increase the health span of adults.

Friday 12th March: 2-4pm
Doctoral Wellbeing: What we’ve done, what we’re doing and what next?

Dr Katryna Kalawsky - Doctoral College (Centre of Academic Practice - People Organisation Development)

(Online, Microsoft Teams)

Book via searching 'Doctoral' on the my.HR learning page.

More info...

The wellbeing of students has become an important area in Higher Education. It is now recognised that potential consequences of poor student wellbeing can include reduced health outcomes (both physical and mental), impaired academic performance, and reduced completion rates.

Loughborough University’s Doctoral College was one of the first HEIs in the UK to take a pro-active approach to explore Doctoral Wellbeing. In this 'You said, we did' session, attendees will learn about what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we plan to next to support our doctoral researchers. Attendees will also have the opportunity to put forward suggestions on how Loughborough can better support the wellbeing of doctoral researchers.

Presenter biography:

Dr Katryna Kalawsky is a champion for doctoral researcher wellbeing. She has intensively investigated and raised organisational, and Sector, awareness of the various wellbeing challenges doctoral researchers can experience. Her work in this area has been foundational in University agenda setting in this space, and she subsequently presented key findings and recommendations to various University Committees, working groups, team meetings and at four national and international conferences. In July 2019, Katryna received a Vice Chancellor’s of Award of Excellence for her work in this important area.