Should colleges be teaching how to be happy?

There is a movement across college campuses to help students learn to live life with meaning and purpose and be happy. Here’s more from USA Today.

From USA Today:

“The well-being bandwagon is gaining traction across college campuses as administrators seek to demonstrate the value of college — and broaden the definition of success beyond employment rates and earnings. Well-being is so integral to George Mason University that it is included in the school’s 10-year strategic plan.

“If you think about what our goals are, we get people ready to have successful lives,” says president Angel Cabrera. “A part of that, but only a part, is to have skills and knowledge that can land students a good job. It is also our responsibility to make sure they have habits and behaviors and awareness about how to have a good life.”…

“College professors have been teaching the subject for years. But only recently have universities applied the research to their own institutions. Frostburg State University in Maryland plans to assess the “hope, engagement and well-being” of entering students this fall. St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York plans to include findings of a campus well-being study in a report to its regional accreditation association. Several universities, including George Mason, Purdue and Ohio State, have signed up with Gallup Education, a division of the polling firm, to see how they might foster a greater sense of well-being in their students.

“All of us are reacting to a generation of college students that is especially stressed and anxious,” says Penny Rue, vice president for campus life at Wake Forest University, which is launching a well-being initiative. The school aims to help students “live life with meaning and purpose,” she says….

One study mentioned the article found that graduates were more likely to report feelings of well-being if they felt like they had professors who cared about them and made them excited to learn and follow their dreams.

One professor found in a different study that even calling students by their first names made a difference in how they felt.

Should colleges be concerned with teaching happiness or purpose? Should that be in their mission? Or should helping students prepare and find careers they are well matched for be enough? Should that accomplish helping them be fulfilled?


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