"I previously thought flourishing was shown by the amount of success one encounters. But it isn’t measured at all. It’s the small end goals and everything we do leading up to those goals.”
MADISON – A crisis in college student mental health and access to mental health resources has been evident for some time. According to an international annual survey of college students, 39% experienced depression and 34% experienced anxiety in 2020.
To address this crisis, faculty from UW–Madison, Penn State and the University of Virginia came together in 2015 to develop The Art and Science of Human Flourishing (ASHF), an innovative three-credit, semester-long academic course to support college students in their overall flourishing — an emerging mental health concept that encompasses self-awareness, attention and focus, social connectivity, and purpose in life.
Faculty, instructional staff and graduate students from UW–Madison and other universities can now apply for the first in-person Student Flourishing Teaching Workshop at UW–Madison, June 13–16, 2022. It is not only for those who wish to join the growing ranks of instructors, but also participants who would like to incorporate elements of the course into other curriculum to support student flourishing.
Nearly 630 first-year students have taken the team-taught, fall-semester course at UW-Madison since its pilot offering in 2017 (with additional participation in variations of the course taught at Penn State and UVA). Students who have taken the course report increases in attention regulation, meaning in life and happiness, as well as decreases in anxiety and a buffering effect against depression. In addition, students have been found to gain greater compassion toward roommates, increased ability to see other perspectives, more mindfulness, self-compassion and a sense of connection.
Interest in the course has repeatedly exceeded capacity, showing student value of resources to cultivate lifelong flourishing skills and achieve greater well-being.
The workshop will provide an inside look at the course framework, content, teaching best practices and impacts of ASHF, plus integration of the Healthy Minds Program app, panel discussions and breakouts including a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion as it relates to student and community well-being. Other program highlights include a keynote talk and discussion with Dr. Richard Davidson, Founder and Director of UW-Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds and short guided group meditation practices to begin and end each day of the workshop. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to join an optional half-day meditation retreat to engage in and explore elements of guiding group meditation practice.
This is an application-based program and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until program capacity is reached, so it’s best to apply early. Visit the Student Flourishing Teaching Workshop website for detailed information and to apply online. With the help of a private donor, funding designated to support participants of color with financial need is available. Discounted fees are available for graduate students.
"I previously thought flourishing was shown by the amount of success one encounters. But it isn’t measured at all. It’s the small end goals and everything we do leading up to those goals. Transforming and being resilient are our checkpoints. It’s being built brick by brick by each individual human.” -Marcellus Lawrence, 2020 Art & Science of Student Human Flourishing Student and PEOPLE Program Scholar