George Mason University has as one of its twelve strategic goals to evolve as a model well-being university. The institution has prioritized the well-being of its students, faculty, and staff and is providing learning activities in and out of the classroom drawing on the science of well-being, positive psychology, and neuroscience. Courses on well-being are embedded in the curriculum along with co-curricular programs that engage students and equip them with the science and tools to lead purpose-filled lives.
In the planning process, the university used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to establish the vision and values of our ten-year strategic plan in 2013 capturing the dreams and voices of nearly 1,200 community members. Since then, university leaders, students, faculty, and staff have used Appreciative Inquiry to design the blueprint of Mason’s well-being university initiative and shape the overall initiatives. A university-wide AI summit subsequently was held and planned by Mason faculty and staff. Various AI activities at unit and department levels were also implemented. The George Mason University case study will describe how and why we used AI to integrate positive education and well-being, the outcomes, lessons learned, and future directions.