Note: This article is outdated, however, you can stay tuned for 2024 dates.
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 University of Wisconsin Madison, Penn State and the University of Virginia came together in 2015 to develop The Art and Science of Human Flourishing (ASHF). This innovative three-credit, semester-long academic course supports 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 and instructional staff from UW–Madison, UW System and other universities can now register for the second annual in-person Student Flourishing Teaching Workshop at UW–Madison, June 19-23, 2023. The workshop is not only for those who wish to join the growing ranks of ASHF instructors at UW–Madison, but also participants who would like to incorporate elements of the course into other curriculum to support student flourishing.
Around 900 first-year students have taken the team-taught, fall-semester Art & Science of Human Flourishing 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 Student Flourishing Teaching 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 workshop to engage in and explore elements of guiding group meditation practice.
Last year’s workshop filled up fast, as space is limited to around 50 participants, and had an exceptional endorsement rate from participants.
"In a post-workshop evaluation, one-hundred percent of past participants said they would recommend it to their colleagues," said Susan Huber, Director of Well-Being in Higher Education at Center for Healthy Minds and organizer of the event.
Visit the Student Flourishing Teaching Workshop website for more details and to register. Some funding has been designated to partially or fully cover the registration fees for individuals who may have financial constraints.