Fall 2018: The Art and Science of Human Flourishing — RELG 1400


Fall 2018: The Art and Science of Human Flourishing — RELG 1400


Monroe 134 (Lab sections at Clemons 220)

Main section: Mon. and Wed., 11:00 to 11:50 a.m.
Mandatory contemplative lab section: Fri., times vary
This innovative course for first-year students explores human flourishing; wellbeing; and resilience; across academic, personal, and professional spheres. It presents a balance of theory and practice, organized into five domains: self-awareness, wellbeing, connection, wisdom, and integration. Each week the 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 that week. Read more about this course and its impact on students in this UVA Today article: “This Class is Helping First-year Students Start College Off Right.”
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 first-year 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. If you have questions about this class, please send an email to either of the instructors:
Juliet Trail: 
Leslie Hubbard: lh2tm@virginia.ed 
Main section: Mon. and Wed., 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. (Monroe 134), from Wed., Aug. 29, to Fri., Dec. 7, 2018
Mandatory contemplative lab section (choose one):
19448 section 102: Fri., 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. (Clemons 220)
19449 section 103: Fri., 11:00 to 11:50 a.m. (Clemons 220)
19450 section 104: Fri., 12:00 to 12:50 p.m. (Clemons 220)
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. 

Instructors: Juliet Trail, Leslie Hubbard