WISE: Wellbeing Innovation and Social Change in Education



WISE: Wellbeing Innovation and Social Change in Education
The WISE Network is a collaboration co-founded and co-curated with Stanford University’s division of Health and Human Performance and the University of Virginia Contemplative Sciences Center. Originally named the Higher Education Initiative, the purpose of this network is to inspire and facilitate a culture of inner wellbeing in the social change field through education of adults, graduate, and undergraduate students. In the first 1.5 years, this has been done through sharing practices and learnings around integrating the science and art of inner wellbeing into the heart of social change curricula. Our goal is for new generations of young social change leaders to be exposed to the importance and need of wellbeing in the social change field, as well as to be equipped with some lifelong tools, sparking their curiosity to continue deepening in their personal wellbeing journey throughout their lives. 

We are supporting a shift in adult/higher education programs that train people for the field of social change so that they value and incorporate inner wellbeing into the care of their programming and curricula. This journey during phase one consisted of empowering a group of ten higher education programs to incorporate and/or further develop their offerings to their students by:
  • Developing a strong, nurturing, co-learning community that models inner work and wellbeing.
  • Enabling awareness of, and access to, the science and art of wellbeing through key models, tools, and case examples.
  • Supporting the development, implementation, and measurement of their programming interventions (across an institution, a department, a program).
  • Co-learning, sharing insights, and iterating new ideas that came from initial programming.
After 1.5 years in which the group committed to this co-creative journey, reflecting on their purpose, they have decided to change their name to a more meaningful one that reflects what they are exploring and sharing, thus Wellbeing, Innovation, and Social Change in Education Network. The WISE network will be expanding to a larger number (between 50-100 institutions) of global and diverse participants from the higher education sector. The objectives remain the same, and the format will be adapted to a larger group with a virtual platform along with a yearly in-person gathering designed to allow these exchanges among education institutions. The official start of phase II is planned for October 2021, as we are currently working to expand the network’s reach.

1. The institution has a program or a set of programs in the social change and innovation space (e.g.: ISDM Post Graduate Programme in Development Learning; the Developing Women in Leadership Program from University of Cape Town, the Summer Program on Social Innovation from TEC de Monterrey).

2. There is existing support, meaning a sponsoring administrator or faculty key leader who will receive the invitation, be engaged in the network, be the link to the program. 

3. It is a program, college, or university focused on education for adults. Most will be programs in a graduate or undergraduate level institution, however, we are also open to programs not aligned with a university.
4. Finally, and also very important is that we're looking to support radical diversity.


  • Mondragon University
  • University of North Texas in Dallas
  • UVA Dalai Lama Fellows Program
  • University of Cape Town
  • Yukon College
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey
  • African Leadership University
  • Indian School of Development Management
  • Koç University

The Wellbeing Project coordinates the WISE Network in collaboration with the Division of Health and Human Performance at Stanford University as well as the Center for Contemplative Sciences at the University of Virginia. We have yearly 3-4 day in-person gatherings as well as quarterly virtual meetings and other opportunities to connect and learn together throughout the year. 

For questions or to learn more about this program, email using the subject line: WISE Network.