The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Sam Gladding (Counseling) to complete a film on humor and positive mental health. The film explains the use of humor as a coping mechanism and shows how self-effacing humor in the form of anecdotal stories can be effective in promoting mental health. Once completed, the film will be used to measure its effectiveness with undergraduate students in the health and human services minor and graduate students in the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University. A coordinated effort with the Mental Health Center of Forsyth County to assess the impact of the film on the public will also be undertaken. Furthermore, Alexander Street Press, a major distributor of therapy videos, will distribute the film nationally. Feedback from Alexander Street Press will be used to evaluate this project although in a more informal way than with students or the public.
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Silvia Tiboni-Craft (Italian) to create a virtual reality map of Marco Polo’s Journey along the Silk Road which was comprised of intercultural exchanges, seeking what was good and to live well. The project includes travel to Venice to make 3D videos on various aspects of the city so that students will be able to use them in class, adding to them crucial information by means of the target language. Since the Middle Ages, the Silk Road was an important part of business life and the business men of that time. Traveling along that route brought back prosperity and glory to the city of Venice; a prosperity that not only carried with it economical growth but also new cultural experiences, such as different habits, arts, fabrics and food – all of these elements are crucial for development of a healthy and fair society. Starting from the Middle Ages, students will be able to understand the fundamental role of intercultural exchange in human flourishing and how contemporaneous this concept still is in multicultural societies such as America and Italy.
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Michael Sloan (Classical Languages) to research and write a book entitled “How Alexander Became Great.” This book presupposes that one might gain a profound understanding of how individual human flourishing can occur when we examine the contexts, conditions, and behaviors of this world leader, without projecting any certain moral code – modern or otherwise – to his specific agenda. Each chapter bears a thematic lesson drawn from Alexander’s life, which is presented in a chronological fashion. Therefore, another way of detailing the plan of the work is through identifying seven themes of human flourishing as found in the life of Alexander the Great.
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Professor Jennifer Burg (Computer Science) for the proposed “SciMuse@Wake Center”, an interdisciplinary Computer Science/Music initiative. The mission of the project is to provide an educational environment where students can learn about music from an interdisciplinary, multicultural perspective. The activities generated and fostered by the proposed project will contribute to the students’ well-being by integrating intellectual challenges, personal and collaborative creative expression, and intercultural understanding. In this educational environment, Professor Burg will assess the ways in which a scientific, interdisciplinary, multicultural study of music can foster intercultural understanding and thereby promote human Eudaimonia, using the results to improve educational practices.
Through the Center’s activities – including a series of First-Year Seminars, culturally-related music courses, and entry-level “Computer Science Through Music” courses – she will be able to assess how the study of music can foster human flourishing and develop better educational practices to serve this end. Additionally, in their own research projects, students may examine the role that music can play in a balanced, tolerant, and spiritually open life.
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Senior Lecturer John Friedenberg (Theatre & Dance) and Associate Professor Maria-Teresa Sanhueza (Spanish & Italian) for a First Year Seminar course that deals with race, gender, identity, etc. to be taught in Spring 2018. The class features an intentionally challenging and collaborative approach to teaching theatre and literature in a student-centered way. It broadens the literature focus to a more interdisciplinary, cultural, and artistic one. It is a new approach to the content; a more holistic view of theatre and the learning process that give students tools, methods, and context for deepening their awareness and understanding of their own and other cultures. Classes such as this can educate in diversity, make a difference, start conversations, help our students to “navigate” through the conflictive years of college, educate the whole persona, and change minds and behaviors to make Wake Forest a more inclusive, better place.