The Art and Science of Human Flourishing — RELG 1400 Fall 2020



The Art and Science of Human Flourishing — RELG 1400 Fall 2020



This course will be offered Spring 2022. Details to come.

This course is now open to all undergraduates.

Lecture – Monday: 11:00-11:50am (100)

Instructors: Leslie Hubbard and Karolyn Kinane
Sections – Tuesday / Thursday
Section 103: Leslie Hubbard, 11:00-11:50am (20)
Section 105: Karolyn Kinane, 2:00-2:50pm (20)


This innovative course for undergraduate students explores human flourishing; well-being; and resilience; across academic, personal, and professional spheres. It presents a balance of theory and practice, organized into five domains: self-awareness, well-being, connection, wisdom, and integration. Each week's class explores a single quality of flourishing through scientific research, humanistic reflection, and artistic expression. In addition, students will experience a set of contemplative practices linked to the quality being explored.

Read stories about the class below.

This class aims to directly assist students in finding answers to questions like these: How do one’s undergraduate years relate to creating a life that is worth living—meaning a life that is insightful, learned, creative, caring, ethical, resilient, engaged, and deeply well? What does it mean not to simply survive, but to flourish? What practices help one embrace and cultivate focus, compassion, courage, wisdom, and diversity while managing anxiety and being productive?


Students will build a sustainable base for flourishing that will stay with them throughout their undergraduate years and beyond, translating to their personal, civic, and professional lives. Students will explore scientific, philosophical and artistic ideas about flourishing, while experimenting with contemplative practices that work with one’s mind, body, emotions and relationships. Together the class will investigate how to cultivate flourishing according to a model with five dimensions and fourteen qualities:

  1. Foundations: flourishing, transformation, resilience

  2. Awareness: focus and attention, emotions, mindfulness

  3. Connection: interdependence, compassion, diversity

  4. Wisdom: identity, values, aesthetics

  5. Integration: courage, performance

Ultimately, this exploration will lead to expanded self-awareness and self-understanding. Such exploration can also yield a greater capacity for growth in order to become more resilient, flexible, balanced, and compassionate. The experiences of this course will make students more efficient learners and help them to form more healthy and caring relationships in their personal lives, to perform at optimal levels in their chosen pursuits, and to find purpose and passion in their studies, career and lifelong growth.


Course Details

This 3-credit graded course is open to all undergraduate students from any school, discipline, or intended major. Students of all backgrounds are welcome, and the only prerequisite is a curiosity about life and its possibilities.


This course is being offered as part of the Student Flourishing Initiative, in partnership with UVA, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Read more about this course and its impact on students: