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«A Message from the Conference Chair A warm welcome to the Meaning Conference 2010! It has been ten years since our first International Meaning ...»

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Over the years the most critical investment of resources that educational institutions have made has been in the human capital that is referred to as faculty. It is generally accepted that the academic vitality and quality of a college or university is a function of the vitality and quality of the institutions faculty. As higher education attempts to chart its course in and through this century, among the most critical problems institutions will face will be those involving their most valuable resource, their faculty.

A dispirited or disillusioned faculty, a faculty that lacks vitality, is an institutional problem of great magnitude. Academic institutions depend on vital, dynamic employees to accomplish their educational goals and mission. The faculty represent the key human resource asset colleges and universities have for adapting or responding to the profound changes that will be occurring in the years to come. Consequently, faculty vitality and institutional vitality are, without question, unavoidably intertwined.

This paper will explore the concept of faculty vitality definitively, and historically, as well as its current state as it relates to institutional effectiveness.

Factors which enhance or diminish faculty vitality will be discussed. Implications for best practices will also be proposed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Keynote Speaker, Todd Kashdan, PHD Ⓚ Todd Kashdan, PhD Author and Associate Professor of Psychology, George Mason University

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In about 40 minutes I will weave through three lines of empirical research on:

• Why we need to move beyond happiness as a target for the good life

• The benefits of focusing on spiritual experiences in daily life to understand meaning in life

• How can the science of meaning inform treatments for anxiety disorders

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Finding personal meaning is a key element to happiness and involves the discovery of personal goals. However, all goals are not created equal (Ryan et al., 1996). For example, the Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000) proposes that personal goals could be characterized as intrinsic or extrinsic.

Examples of extrinsic goals are the desires to be wealthy, popular, physically attractive and conform to others’ expectations. Intrinsic goals may include striving for personal growth and health, developing nurturing relationships and fostering community involvement (see also Kasser 2002). More recently, Grouzet and his colleagues (2005) identified a second dimension that represents a continuum, from body-oriented (e.g., hedonism) to self-oriented (e.g., personal growth or financial success), to self-transcendent (e.g., spirituality) goals. The two orthogonal dimensions (intrinsic vs. extrinsic; physical self vs. selftranscendence) serve as framework for a circumplex model of personal goal Thursday, August 5, 2010 content. Individuals may vary in terms of the types of goal that they pursue and develop their own goal system. Individuals’ goal systems can be revealed through cluster analyses. A total of four goal profiles have been empirically observed: “Extrinsic”, “Physical Intrinsic”, “Transcendent Intrinsic”, and “Undifferentiated” individuals. Whereas well-being can be predicted by the nature of personal goals, personal meaning can be captured only through the examination of goal systems. Using Grouzet et al.’s circumplex, I propose to a closer look at the role of personal goals in finding meaning and predicting wellbeing.

ⓅNeil Soggie, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology Crandall University Successful Discursive Management: A Phenomenological Existential Investigation into Higher Educational Leadership This presentation examines the existential essences of those in higher educational leadership, especially as it pertains to the conflict management embodied by university Vice Presidents of Academics. This paper grows out of a phenomenological study within the theme of heuristic research, including the analysis of interviews with seven vice presidents. The phenomenological essences drawn from this analysis are assembled into a structure of principles for successful self organization and positive conflict management in educational leadership. The results show that the foundational feature is death salience used via death acceptance and transcendence to drive the individual to create meaning through family and work efforts. This leads to a desire for internal integrity and the ability to recognize the power of choice in engaging others in a positive manner. This ability to choose one’s reaction to the situation affords a level of transcendence above a conflict situation and the rational detachment to not be swayed by the discursive forces of the conflict. This transcendence then allows the leader to give voice to the stakeholders, affording care to the emotions of those involved. This flexibility to hear from all involved ensures that the leader can have positive, constructive engagement towards a positive resolution of the conflict.

Educational Objectives:

The participants will gain a better understanding of:

1. Basic worldview defense strategies and thinking errors that spark and feed most conflict.

2. How existential issues can be structured to enable positive engagement of conflict.

3. How the logotherapeutic ideas of self-detachment and self-transcendence can be used as keys to hardiness and happiness in the workplace.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 Ⓟ Michael Steger, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology Colorado State University Why Does Meaningful Work Exist?

Many counselors, psychologists, and interested individuals take it for granted that finding meaning in the work we do (and the lives we live) is a rich and desirable end. Research easily supports theoretical arguments that meaning is a part of the good life, and is associated with a host of psychological boons and a relative absence of psychological maladies. Applying what has been learned about meaningful living to the workplace leads to the obvious hypothesis that meaningful work is a good thing, too. A growing body of research has supported this hypothesis so far, yet theoretical accounts of why meaningful work is important are scarce. Using meaning in life theory as a springboard, I argue that an evolutionary perspective adds a novel and much need framework for understanding what kind of work is likely to be meaningful, and, indeed, why meaningful work exists at all.

Educational Objective:

The educational objectives for this session are for participants to understand an evolutionary perspective on meaningful work, and consider how such a perspective contributes to a rich psychological framework for understanding why meaningful work is centrally important to people’s welfare.

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Ⓟ Roger Tweed, PhD, Gira Bhatt, Stephen Dooley, Andrea Spindler, Kevin S. Douglas, Jodi L. Viljoen Youth violence and positive psychology: Research and applied potential through integration One topic receiving little if any attention within positive psychology is the application of positive psychology to youth violence. However, a positive psychology approach to youth violence may not only be possible, but beneficial.

In the past, positive psychology has largely ignored aversive outcomes such as youth violence. Because of this inattention to aversive outcomes, positive psychology could be criticized as being somewhat imbalanced. Positive psychology has largely ignored challenges faced by many in society. We will argue that some core constructs and perspectives from positive psychology can be integrated into youth violence research and interventions. In particular, the study of strengths can be integrated into research and interventions targeting Thursday, August 5, 2010 youth violence. Dimensions such as gratitude, forgiveness, sense of meaning, altruism (or at least apparent altruism), prudence, and humility have received attention within positive psychology. Empirical evidence suggests that these and other positive psychology constructs may also reduce levels of violence.

However, youth violence research and interventions seldom integrate these types of constructs. Thus, positive psychology may contribute to research and interventions for youth violence. Furthermore, youth violence research may bring greater balance to positive psychology.

ⓅYoshiyuki Takano, MA PhD Candidate University of British Columbia The compassion approach: Working with the violent offenders Working with the violent offenders are very challenging task for the counsellors and therapists in the field. Traditionally, the approach being used for working with the offenders has been a more confrontational and punitive ones.

However, in the recent years, research indicates values of the quality of the therapeutic relationship and the importance of the process of engagement with the offenders to promote change (Jenkins, 1990; Murphy & Eckhardt, 2005;

Scott, 2009; Stefanakis, 2008; Takano, 2010). In this regard, Stefanakis (2008,

2009) proposed the compassion approach as an effective way of working with the offenders. Compassion approach addresses the issues of violence and abuse and invites the offenders to take responsibility for their actions, while we acknowledge the struggle of them being stuck in a violence and abuse cycle (Stefanakis, 2008, 2009; Takano, 2009, 2010). Compassion is a core element of this clinical work to facilitate self-confrontation. The aim of this presentation is to discuss compassion from different theoretical perspectives to advance our understanding of the concept and application of it when working with violent offenders. The compassion is a very important concept to improve engagement with the resisting clients, while promoting their transformation.

Ⓟ Tom Wojick, MA Owner of the Renewal Group The Art and Science of Thriving in Turbulent Times Recent history is characterized by global flux and turbulence, which has affected the structural underpinnings of our social, religious, educational, governmental and financial institutions and the fabric of life. To thrive in this climate we must possess the highest levels or personal, professional, and organizational resiliency. This presentation will highlight a model that focus on this goal.

Thursday, August 5, 2010 The Four Movements to High-Level Resiliency model integrates the concepts and skills of Maddi’s 3C’s, Deci’s Self-Determination Theory, Bridges’ Transitions and emotional intelligence, which have demonstrated there effectiveness in assisting individuals and organizations in maintaining their energy, clarity, focus, balance and courage to transform adversity into meaningful experiences that build competence and confidence in living a healthier, more satisfying and effective life. The Four Movements are: Emergence – The Leap – The Landing – The Launch

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Ⓦ Deborah Fortney, MA Owner of Team Talk Consulting Francesca Brar Team Talk: How meaningful conversation created hope and productivity in a healthcare environment In this 2 hour presentation and workshop, Deborah and Francesca will talk about their recent experiences in moving a negative work environment to one of hope and possibility through a series of focused conversations with a nursing team working in residential care. Practical techniques and powerful questions will be shared that opened up possibility, along with a new positive context for this nursing team that changed how they viewed their work and how they worked together.

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Ⓟ Charles Chen, PhD Professor of Counselling Psychology AECP, OISE, University of Toronto Meaning Making: Humanistic Means for Vocational Wellbeing The emerging and evolving postmodern school of thinking in worklife psychology has shown its liveliness in promoting the vocational wellbeing of individuals in our post-industrial world of work featured by digital revolution, knowledge economy, and globalization. One of the key constructs in the postmodern vocational psychology (PVP), namely, meaning making, manifests the core of helping people manage their career and vocational Thursday, August 5, 2010 aspects of life in a dynamic world of work that is full of uncertainty and challenges. This address focuses on the meaningfulness of exploring and elaborating the role and function of meaning making in people’s workilife, aiming to facilitate individuals’ vocational and career wellbeing via meaning making.

Just like PVP has its historical and philosophical roots in the humanistic tradition, the construct of meaning and meaning making has long been a foundational building block for the broad realm of humanistic psychology.

From a humanistic worldview, humans are purposeful and intentional beings who make sense of their lived experiences. People construct their perceptions and reality through the interaction between their phenomenological world and external and social contexts. The centrality of human phenomenology lies with people's capacity and tendency of discerning meanings associated with living experiences. As part of their total life, people's career development and worklife pursuit exemplifies a pivotal experience of meaning making, meaning construction, and meaning implementation.

With an integrative and passionate eye on the dynamic intersection of humanistic and vocational psychology in a postmodern context, this address attempts to explicate a few related aspects. It reviews the notion of meaning in humanistic psychology, drawing upon primarily some of the key concepts of major humanistic theoretical approaches and models in counselling psychology and psychotherapy. It then highlights the meaning construct underlying key concepts in major vocational and career psychology theories, illustrating the shared construct of meaning and meaning making in humanistic and vocational psychology. Finally, meaning making will be utilized in proposing career counselling implications.

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