New UVa Course Looks to Help First Years Transition into College

Anxiety and stress are factors that heavily contribute to many college students’ daily lives. Maintaining grades, friendships, and involvement in clubs can be difficult for students, especially if they are away from home for the first time.  This is a particularly relevant concern for larger schools like UVa, where students can feel lost in the large student population.

A new class offered specifically to first-year students called “The Art and Science of Human Flourishing” is looking to help students transition into college. The course, which had its inaugural offering this semester, was formulated in concurrence with programs offered at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Pennsylvania State University.

According to UVa Today, the course aims to bring various social sciences, neuroscience, and art together in order to engage students in comprehensive discourse with one another. That discourse requires students to analyze their emotional and mental states in order to effectively handle stress and build relationships.

The course is led by David Germano, a religious studies professor and the director of UVA’s Contemplative Sciences Center.

“We wanted to create a learning environment that is profoundly engaged and participatory … where students are engaged in peer-to-peer relationships, doing reflective tasks together and actively making sense of the what they are learning intellectually and connecting it to their lives,” Germano said in an interview with UVA Today. “We want them to see that these intellectual reflections can translate to apply to their relationships, their family life, the career they want to pursue or the stress and anxiety they feel.”

The success of this course helps further the larger initiative that UVa has started called the “Student Flourishing Initiative, which UVa will continue to work with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Pennsylvania State University to expand. “The Art and Science of Human Flourishing” will be offered again to incoming freshmen in the fall of 2018.




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