Colleges to measure wellbeing

Everyone is talking about wellbeing, from Gross National Happiness in Bhutan to the Gallup Student Poll. 


Gallup and Purdue will reveal the results of their first study next week. 

The Gallup-Purdue Index will measure the most important outcomes of higher education – great careers and lives that matter – and provide higher education leaders with productive insights for meaningful performance improvements. The initiative aims to create a national movement toward a new set of measures, created by and for higher education, and to help foster a new level of accountability for the sector.

 Gallup’s spin goes beyond are you working and how much are you earning (although it includes that). Gallup wants to understand’s alumni’s engagement:

“In the last seven days, I have felt active and productive every day,” and “I like what I do each day,” and “The mission and purpose of my organization makes me feel my job is important.” Survey takers will also be asked to respond to items such as “In the last 12 months, I have received recognition for helping to improve the city or area where I live,” and “I feel proud to be a [university name] alum,” and “I would recommend [name of university] to a friend or colleague.”

I would love if this could be paired with the National Survey of Student Engagement, which would cover the student experience through college to the end and out into the world of work.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest Universit has struck out on their own to devise an isntrument to explore wellbeing:

As you can see, the items overlap with most of key aspects that positive psychologists are exploring. 

Free mediation course from Deepak and Oprah

Inspiring wonder

While she was denied at not one art school but six, she never let it discourage her as she spent the next 10 years painting. Janet Echelman has an extraordinary career:

Echelman first set out to be an artist after graduating college. She moved to Hong Kong in 1987 to study Chinese calligraphy and brush-painting. Later she moved to Bali, Indonesia, where she collaborated with artisans to combine traditional textile methods with contemporary painting.

When she lost her bamboo house in Bali to a fire, Echelman returned to the United States and began teaching at Harvard. After seven years as an Artist-in-Residence, she returned to Asia, embarking on a Fulbright lectureship in India.

Her Ted talk installs a sense of wonder:

You can her Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence call out as she leverages her Creativity, perseverance and Curiosity.

Happiness for free

Ed X is offering a free online course about Hapiness taught by Greater Good Society fellows:

The Science of Happiness

Starts September 9, 2014 – Register Now!

An unprecedented free online course exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life. Co-taught by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner andEmiliana Simon-Thomas

“The Science of Happiness” is a free, eight-week online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.

Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course zeroes in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

What’s more, “The Science of Happiness” will offer students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So each week, students will learn a new research-tested practice that fosters social and emotional well-being—and the course will help them track their progress along the way.

The course will include:

  • Short videos featuring the co-instructors and guest lectures from top experts on the science of happiness;
  • Articles and other readings that make the science accessible and understandable to non-academics;
  • Weekly “happiness practices”—real-world exercises that students can try on their own, all based on research linking these practices to greater happiness;
  • Tests, quizzes, polls, and a weekly “emotion check-in” that help students gauge their happiness and track their progress over time;
  • Discussion boards where students can share ideas with one another and submit questions to their instructors.