Greetings, Colleagues,

Last week we hosted the Purpose and Belonging Kick-Off and for those who could not attend, wanted to provide the recording which opens with Neil DeGrasse Tyson sharing his experience in not just finding meaning in life, but creating it. The keynote of this initial event and first presenter in our speaker series is Tim Klein, shares insight about our current educational systems, link to the future of work, and how purpose and belonging play a critical role in student success efforts, particularly for our most vulnerable students.  He also mentions the importance of students taking advantage of support services and forming caring relationships with faculty and staff. To this end, he provides a sample class activity that faculty can use to connect with students, identify their needs and refer them to student support services – a simple yet powerful type of ‘early alert’ activity embedded in teaching practice and connected to student services.

Tim shares research that shows students with a sense of purpose are:

– more academically engaged
– get better grades
– are more likely to graduate
– have lower levels of depression and anxiety
– are more resilient
– have stronger relationships with peers and faculty
– and are 10 times more likely to thrive in their careers (60% of those with purpose said they were thriving in their careers versus 6% without)

We hope you will take some time to watch the event video and join us for future presentations as well as participate in some of our related programming  — workshops, reflection circles, training, and more. Our speaker series will include monthly presentations from national experts in purpose and belonging research and action. We will host our next speaker, Charles Hunt, from the Audacity Firm, during General Assembly on October 1st.  We’ve also conducted preliminary outreach to the The Belonging Project at Stanford University (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine), the Othering & Belonging Institute and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, the Colorado State University Center for Meaning and Purpose (Department of Psychology), and others who have highlighted the way this research can significantly impact our work.

Please share this information with your faculty and staff.  We look forward to connecting, collaborating and nurturing a culture of care with you.

In shared purpose and belonging,

Susan M. Thomason, Ph.D.
Associate Vice Chancellor, TLED