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Burnout prevention in higher education

By Maud van Wanroij or Maria Stoeva

Are you interested in burnout prevention and/or collective trauma, particularly their impact on higher education for both students and teachers — including insights from the COVID-19 era?

As a team of two, consisting of Maria Stoeva and Maud van Wanroij, with diverse cultural backgrounds (Bulgaria and the Netherlands), we explored a complex issue and system during our semester of Value Creators at Windesheim University in Zwolle. This initiative encourages students to explore a topic of interest, through collaborations and engagement with stakeholders and professional networks.

We explored the topic: burnout prevention in higher education, focused on students and teachers, through the lenses of collective trauma. Engaging with various networks through interviews (11), co-creation sessions (2), and a generative dialogue with diverse students, we examined the connection between burnout and collective trauma. We identified knowledge gaps and the need for greater awareness of teacher and student burnout, and also looked into the systemic influences on this complex issue.


What did we do?

Integrating feedback from experts and a diverse range of stakeholders, we created a comprehensive toolkit. This toolkit delves into collective trauma and its interconnectedness with burnout. Accompanying the toolkit is a conversation magazine, which provides deeper insights into our process, sharing stories and perspectives from stakeholders such as students, teachers, and professionals. Additionally, it includes findings from two surveys (Dutch and English), with a total of 63 responses.


Look at our comprehensive toolkit, accompanied by a conversation magazine filled with insights from stakeholders and professional networks, plus interesting findings from our survey!


Value Creators process

The Value Creators process involved navigating uncertainty and complex systems. By collaborating with passionate individuals, including changemakers, HR advisors, burnout experts, teachers, students, researchers, and an author, we developed a holistic approach to understanding and addressing burnout and collective trauma in educational settings, ensuring our work reflects a broad spectrum of experiences and insights.

We aim to create a supportive community, reducing the stigma and loneliness associated with burnout and trauma. Our toolkit and magazine are steps towards fostering a healthier educational environment.

Frameworks and models used

Theory U guided our shift from individual competition to community collaboration, emphasizing the interconnectedness of heart, will, and mind in our approach to burnout prevention and trauma among students and teachers.

Our mapping process revealed the multifaceted nature of burnout, examining factors such as mental health awareness, academic pressure, loneliness, and climate distress, which helped us identify necessary networks and expertise.

Using the 4E-model, we studied the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on education, pinpointed burnout causes, and prioritized community building and trauma-informed strategies to bolster resilience and well-being.



Connect with Us:

Join Us in Creating Value! Together, let’s foster a supportive community and empower educators and students to thrive in their learning journeys. We are always open for new collaborations or answering your questions purely based on interest in our journey and end products, and continuing this journey with you!

Burn-out Prevention Toolkit
Download PDF • 15.19MB

Contact Us: For collaboration opportunities, further information, or to share your insights, reach out via one of our email addresses: or

LinkedIn: Connect with us on LinkedIn for updates and professional networking opportunities: Maud van Wanroij or Maria Stoeva.



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