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Flourishing, The Science and Practice of Well-being


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Topics: Positive psychology; Personal leadership, self-insight, authenticity, connection; Personal development, social relations and societal impact.
Disciplines: Integral and applied approach on positive psychology.
Skills: Collaborating, Oral communication, Written communication, Presenting, Societal awareness, Reflecting, Independent learning, Resilience.
Other skills: Self-insight, stress management, dealing with (difficult) emotions, compassion and kindness, empathy, savouring, mindfulness, building positive relationships and cultivating strengths.

Admission requirements:

This course is an (extracurricular) Honours Class: an elective course within the Honours College programme. Third year students who don’t participate in the Honours College, have the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor Honours Class. Students will be selected based on i.a. their motivation and average grade.


“Flourishing is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” – Aristotle

No matter what you are studying, you are likely being challenged academically on a regular basis. But what is needed to thrive in today’s complex world, both professionally and personally? Researchers Ready, Conger and Hill argue that, if you wish to flourish as a young adult, it is essential to: 1. Increase self-insight; 2. Healthily manage stress and 3. Utilise your potential.   
During this course, we will experiment with various techniques to help you develop these skills. The learning is based on academic rigor and research whilst simultaneously practical and experience-based.  
It focuses on: 

  • improving mental resilience and emotional stability; 

  • learning to cope with adversity through relaxation, meditation and perspective-shifting; 

  • increasing empathy and compassion towards self and other;  

  • exploring your passions, talents and meaning in life.    

You will engage in a group project focused on improving education. You will ask: how might we re-imagine education to (more significantly) enable students and staff to flourish? Beyond expanding your imagination, you will also be challenged to put your ideas into action. As a result, you will enhance your own wellbeing and of those who surround you in daily life.  

The learning activities of this project are structured along three levels: 

  1. The I – Increasing one’s own wellbeing by reflecting and acting on three core questions: What do I love doing? What is meaningful to me? What am I good at? 
  2. The WE – Strengthening interpersonal relationships within and outside the classroom. Gain insight in other people’s perspectives, preferences, personality traits and worldviews. Reflect on the impact of personal growth on academic performance. 
  3. The ALL – Reflecting on the role and responsibility of academia in increasing the wellbeing of students and staff. What is/should/could be the role of education in improving human flourishing?   
    Students are asked to be open-minded towards new ways of learning, which includes a variety of experience based exercises and sharing personal experiences amongst each other. 

Course objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students are able to:

  • Reflect on their life and personal development;

  • Apply techniques to increase their own wellbeing and resilience and that of others;

  • Share and present their own personal story authentically;

  • Formulate their own values and mission in life and act accordingly;

  • Work constructively and respectfully with others to make a positive contribution to society.

Programme and timetable:
The sessions of this class will take place on the following Tuesdays from 13.15 - 15.30.

Class 1: October 10 (Old Observatory, room C0.03) (Meeting canceled)
Starting the journey: Introduction and practicalities. Getting to know each other. Setting intentions. The most important (mis)understandings about happiness.

Class 2: October 17 (Old Observatory, room C0.04) (Meeting canceled)
Positive emotions. What brings you joy and energy?

Class 3: October 24 (Old Observatory, room C0.05)

Class 4: October 31 (Old Observatory, room C0.03)
Strengths. What are you good at? What are pitfalls and challenges?

Class 5: November 7 (Old Observatory, room C0.06)
Social connection. Building positive relationships.

Class 6: November 14 (Old Observatory, room C0.06) (Meeting canceled)
Meaning. What makes your life meaningful?

Class 7: November 21 (Old Observatory, room C0.06)
Resilience. Getting to know your inner critic.

Class 8: November 28 (Old Observatory, room C0.06)
Resilience. Compassion and kindness.

Class 9: December 5 (Old Observatory, room C0.06)
Individual personal presentations.

Class 10: December 12 (Old Observatory, room C0.06)
Individual personal presentations.

Class 11: December 19 (Old Observatory, room C0.05)
Final session: Presenting group work on Flourishing within Education.

Old Observatory, rooms C0.03, C0.04, C0.05, C0.06

Reading list:

For every week a set of articles is provided. Please pick and read at least 2 reads per week. Make your choice based on your personal and/or academic interest.
Also we read ‘Happier, no matter what’ by Tal Ben-Shahar.

Other possible literature will be announced in class or via Brightspace.

Course load and teaching method:

This course is worth 5 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 140 hours:

  • Seminars: 10 seminars of 2 hours (participation is mandatory)

  • Literature reading: 2 hours/week = 20 hours

  • Practical work: 4 hours/week = 40 hours

  • Assignments & final product: 60 hours

Assessment methods:

  • 10% Presence;

  • 30% (15% each) Two personal reflections of 700 words;

  • 10% Individual presentation (not graded);

  • 50% A group assignment consisting of 3 parts: written vision statement (1500 words), intervention, presentation .

Students could only pass this course after successful completion of all partial exams.

Brightspace and uSis:

Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Bachelor Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Application process:

Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday 21 August 2023 up to and including Tuesday 12 September 2023 23:59 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.

Note: students don’t have to register for the Bachelor Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.

Pieternel Boer: