Defining Resilience Across Disciplines and Programs

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Communication

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Kelly Rossetto


Resilience is a broad topic, ranging from individual resilience to environmental resilience. In this study, we want to better understand how resilience is defined across disciplines and, more focused on student resilience, across campus programs. Data were derived from previous researchers’ conceptualizations of resilience and program directors’ responses in semi-structured interviews to how they define resilience. With these data, we are conducting a thematic analysis to look for similarities and differences in how resilience is viewed. The research reviewed and interviews conducted were focused on resilience and/or efforts made to influence it. Preliminary analyses have shown two common components to the definition of resilience: adversity and the ability to overcome or adapt; both are necessary in the process of resilience. Depending on the area of focus, adversity could be considered psychological or physiological, and may affect an individual or an entire region. Across almost all disciplines and program directors’ perspectives, adaptation had a strong focus on the system returning to the previous level of functioning, while some even highlighted growth. With the understanding of various perspectives on resilience, efforts can be made to cultivate a campus environment that promotes students’ abilities to adapt and overcome the many challenges they face.

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