Undergraduate Academic Affairs

July 31, 2020

Megan Kennedy named director of UW Resilience Lab

Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Photo of Megan Kennedy

Megan Kennedy, director of the UW Resilience Lab

Undergraduate Academic Affairs is happy to share that Megan Kennedy was named director of the UW’s Resilience Lab in May. Kennedy has been connected to the Resilience Lab through multiple roles on campus that have all focused on student well-being. Since August, 2019, she served as interim director of the Resilience Lab, a unit within Undergraduate Academic Affairs that promotes mental health and well-being at the UW through education, research partnerships and a range of programs and initiatives.

Kennedy brings more than 20 years of experience to the role, ranging from a deep, clinical understanding of the importance of mental health to influencing organizational structures and systems so they better support individuals. Creating more concrete connections between the Resilience Lab and other campus partners whose work intersects with resilience and compassion is one of the ways Kennedy is infusing the Resilience Lab’s work more deeply into current structures.

Kennedy says she thinks about the Lab “as existing along a continuum of care at the UW, working collaboratively and intentionally with colleagues on campus, whose work is complementary. This work is also deeply aligned with my values of community well-being and kindness. It’s one of the ways the Lab is reflective of who I am.”

The Resilience Lab situates itself on the prevention side of that continuum, promoting resilience coping skills and mindsets across campus, including collaborating with faculty and programs to support integrating resilience practices into classroom settings and existing structures.

“The work of compassion for self and others is guided by important research and is much needed now,” says Ed Taylor, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. “Ultimately, Megan’s work on well-being, mental health and her alliance building aims to foster compassionate communities. I am glad Megan is leading this work here.”

As director, Kennedy will primarily focus the Lab’s work on:

  • Supporting faculty to promote well-being within their classrooms by modeling and teaching social and emotional skills and mindsets
  • Providing seed grants to support resilience- and compassion-building initiatives that foster connection and community
  • Offering the 6-week long Be REAL program (Resilient Attitudes and Living) to UW students, staff and instructors
  • Revitalizing a vulnerability collective, a student-led initiative that encourages compassion and fosters resiliency through storytelling
  • Deepening and developing research partnerships with faculty, other UW divisions and initiatives that research themes of resilience and well-being
  • Launching the Well-Being for Life and Learning guidebook, a tool to equip faculty and instructors with foundational research about the importance of integrating well-being practices into their pedagogy as well as practical, how-to tactics.

“This work is designed to deepen the resilience and coping layers of the University so students can see and experience staff and instructors modeling the change,” explains Kennedy. “Staff and faculty play a key role in inspiring a culture of well-being at the UW — starting with ourselves is part of that work.”

Prior to her work with the Resilience Lab in UAA, Kennedy served in the division of Student Life as the manager of strategic initiatives for student wellness and the suicide intervention coordinator. Before coming to the UW, Kennedy was clinical director and interim outreach director at Youth Eastside Services, where she counseled youth and families, was a leader in the organization’s diversity efforts, and brought the clinic’s work into school district and community-based organizations. She is the co-founder and gender and sexual diversity consultant and trainer for Revelry Media and Methods, a consulting company that addresses social isolation, violence and mental health disparities faced by LGBTQ youth. Through this work and her work as an independent counselor and consultant, Kennedy’s career has focused on issues of well-being and equity, empowering individuals to build their resilience and well-being, and engage in the long-term work of creating more equitable systems.