Compassion represents both a strength of character and the virtue of humanity. As a positive emotion, it is also associated with leadership capability, psychological flexibility, physical health and wellbeing. While there is increasing interest in the promotion of prosocial behaviour linked with compassion, the reporting of compassion-based training interventions is surprisingly limited. This presentation reports the implementation of a positive education project in an Australian university, encompassing delivery of a compassion cultivation training (CCT) program developed at Stanford University.
As an eight-week course designed to develop compassion, empathy, and kindness for oneself and others, CCT draws upon mindfulness techniques, loving-kindness meditation and real-world exercises for students to apply outside the classroom setting.
We report here the evaluation findings in relation to feasibility and acceptability of this intervention in a sample of undergraduate students participating in a co-curricular leadership development and innovation program. Outcome measures pre and post intervention include validated compassion and self-compassion scales. In this presentation we discuss the implications of our findings to further build positive education practice. Consistent with the notion of moving towards a positive university, we also consider the potential application of compassion-based training for staff.