It is needless to remind ourselves of the difficulties that many teaching staff and students have had to go through during the past year, however one thing is certain: the need for compassion is real. Organisational compassion is widely defined as a three-stage process of noticing, feeling and responding to people’s suffering at the workplace (Kanov et al, 2004). Differing from empathy, compassion is an interpersonal process that often requires tangible actions to alleviate one’s suffering. As well as increasing performance, compassion has shown to lead to various positive outcomes for an individual, such as reduced levels of stress, feelings of encouragement, increased job satisfaction and higher commitment towards the organisation (Guinot et al, 2020; Lilius et al, 2008; Eldor & Shoshani, 2016). As part of a dissertation research project, we explored the effects of the compassionate measures set by the University of Glasgow (UofG) on teaching staff and students’ emotional wellbeing during the Covid-19 crisis. In this presentation, we will discuss key findings based on interviews with UofG students and staff, identifying outcomes associated with compassionate measures. The initial findings indicate that apart from the expected outcomes (e.g. feelings of belonging and encouragement), the various compassionate measures put in place by the University were sometimes perceived as lacking compassion and thus resulting in negative outcomes for individuals. As such, it is suggested that for the full benefits of compassion to be felt by students, it is eminent to firstly consider strategies for improving the delivery of compassion at an institutional level. For that to happen, teaching staff must themselves be treated with compassion, which could lead to compassion towards students. This presentation will also show how even during a time where people are self-isolating and not reaching out, different measures and acts of compassion can improve the teaching and learning experience for both teaching staff and students.


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Dupire, N. & Koukou, M. 2021, 'Organisational Compassion During the Covid-19 Pandemic: Improving Teaching and Learning Experience', University of Glasgow. http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/257282/

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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