Eudaimonia (pronounced you-die-mo-NEE-uh) is Aristotle’s word for the ultimate end or goal in human life, the end for the sake of which we do everything else. Broadly speaking, it represents cognizance of a life well and fully lived, a life of meaning and purpose in the service of ends worthy of serving.
The mission of the Eudaimonia Institute is to study the nature of human flourishing and the institutions that support that flourishing. We chose eudaimonia—Aristotle’s word for “flourishing”—to indicate that we are exploring a concept much deeper than simply “happiness” as that term is used in everyday conversation. The Eudaimonia Institute supports research and teaching that investigates all aspects of eudaimonia from multiple disciplinary perspectives.
The Eudaimonia Institute hosts and supports speakers and conferences, visiting and regular faculty, independent research projects, faculty workshops, teaching, student and faculty reading groups, and scholarship connected with eudaimonia in all its facets.
Yes. The Eudaimonia Institute welcomes partnership and research proposals from any discipline and any perspective that furthers the understanding of the nature of and institutions that support eudaimonia. To apply for a grant or propose a research project, see here.
Reviews of research proposals are conducted by Eudaimonia Institute-affiliated faculty. The proposals are evaluated by the independent Faculty Advisory Board of the Institute, and, where appropriate, the relevant deans and/or the Office of the Provost, in accordance with the institute’s Declaration of Research Independence. Standard university practices are followed when reviewing the work of faculty affiliated with the institute.
The Eudaimonia Institute has a four-layered protection of its academic freedom and integrity. First is Wake Forest University’s longstanding institutional commitment to academic freedom and diversity of thought. Second is the Institute’s Declaration of Research Independence, which provides a firewall between donors to the University or to the Institute, and the research and activities of the Institute. Third is the oversight provided by the independent Faculty Advisory Board, made up of faculty members and staff from across the University. Finally, the existing policies and practices of our academic units apply when reviewing faculty appointments and the teaching, research, and service contributions of faculty members affiliated with the institute.
As befits a liberal arts institution of higher education and Wake Forest University’s mission and tradition, the Eudaimonia Institute supports academic freedom, free and open inquiry, free speech, and the unimpeded search for truth. It is institutionally committed to evaluation and assessment of ideas, arguments, and evidence, as well as research and scholarship, on their merits, without regard to their origin or source.
The Eudaimonia Institute grew out of research and teaching interests of Wake Forest University faculty who believed that studying eudaimonia was important and would benefit from the creation of a cross-disciplinary intellectual home. Like other major initiatives of Wake Forest University, the proposal for the creation of the Eudaimonia Institute was evaluated according to the University’s standard procedures and approved on its merits after due consideration.
After a two-year review process, the Eudaimonia Institute was created by the Office of the Provost at Wake Forest University in May of 2016. After undergoing a comprehensive third-year review, it was renewed by the President and Provost of Wake Forest University in May of 2019.