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Dr. Jennifer Carpenter



School of Medicine

Dr. Carpenter made a significant effort to accommodate all students this year in light of the pandemic. She truly cares for the students she instructs and puts health and wellbeing above all else. Dr. Carpenter's class is a welcoming environment whereby students will partake in self-directed learning regarding topics of personal interest.

Dr. Carpenter is extremely understanding. She really cares about each of her students and takes personal circumstances into consideration.

Dr. Jenn Carpenter's role extends far beyond the confines of traditional teaching; she embodies the role of a mentor and advocate, deeply committed to the holistic well-being of her students. For me, her classes have been transformative, marked by her genuine care and proactive measures to ensure that each student feels supported, both academically and personally. Her support on my mental health has been profound due to her encouragement and understanding having helped guide me in my academic journey - helping me navigate challenges with confidence.

Dr. Carpenter makes mental health a key component of her curriculum, integrating discussions and resources that address well-being into her courses. She emphasizes mental health awareness and self-care, encouraging open dialogues that have made a significant difference in destigmatizing mental health issues among students, thoughtful structures assignments, and offers flexibility - recognizing the diverse challenges students face. This approach not only alleviates stress but also empowers students to perform their best without fear of judgment. She creates a safe and welcoming environment for students to share their concerns, fostering a sense of trust and community, with availability outside of the classroom through extended office hours and mental health check-ins.

In GLPH271, she was always quite vocal about seeking support and being a resource for students to approach. She would allot some time in her lectures to discuss TSM: Time & Stress Management, whereby she would discuss various wellbeing tips such as monitoring oneself and acknowledging when things were getting difficult, balancing life and schoolwork and would encourage healthy behaviors such as good sleep habits and exercising, social time and scheduling of tasks all with the goal of maintaining one's mental health despite the various pressures students experience. She would use this rope analogy about "keeping your rope loose", that there is always going to be something that comes along and causes a "stretch in your rope”. And you want to avoid it snapping. So if you feel like the rope is getting too stretched, to seek help. She would also share tips from previous TAs and peers. This is in addition to giving anecdotes and sharing personal life experiences that depicted resilience and highlighted that it was okay not to be okay. Her classroom always felt warm and like a safe space despite there being well over 100 students.

Anonymous Students

Mental Health is an overall sense of wellbeing. It requires balance, resilience, and reflection that are developed through life-long practice. It can certainly be fostered through inquiry and exhilaration about one's studies under optimal circumstances, however this also requires skills in stress and time management, the development of which can and should be an integral part of the University experience.

When this avenue for wellness is hindered by the stress of perceived failures, it can snowball for the learner and affect both their mental health and their ability to succeed in their studies. It is a priority for my teaching team to reach out and support learners that are behind, both to help them succeed in the course, but also to find ways to rediscover their grounding. This year, I piloted a mini Time and Stress Management curriculum, within my second-year core BHSc course. This allowed me to share strategies that I have learned over the course of my career, but more importantly, it allowed the learners to recognize the benefits of sharing struggles and successes with trusted peers as a way to develop their own strategies for thriving in their academic career.

The past year has allowed learners and instructors to emerge from what was a very disruptive 2 years. For some, the transition to the post-pandemic era has been more difficult that for others. Striving for empathy and compassion, while attempting to foster resilience and accountability is a tightrope that we must walk together. Our learners are the leaders of the future. Supporting them to find their grounding and resilience is just as important as the academic knowledge that we endeavour to share with them.

--- Dr. Jenn Carpenter