Driessen, Erik Otto

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  • Publication
    Using Positive Psychology to Bolster Student Success at GateWay Community College
    (2018-04-30) Driessen, Erik Otto; Burgoon, Adam; Tomasulo, Devon; Chewning, Esther
    Supported by a situational analysis and review of positive psychological literature, this paper outlines an application plan to support GateWay Community College’s ‘experiential learning with a purpose' vision which focuses on infusing meaning into students’ career development and learning. This vision was articulated by Kerry Sanderson, Director of Career Services, and Jessica Brosilo, Service Learning Center Coordinator, in the form of three guiding principles for our work: 1) accessing large student populations, 2) developing students' personal meaning and understanding of purpose through career goals, and 3) cultivating a broader view of success beyond career goals. Future-mindedness and self-efficacy emerged as key pillars in an integrative system for building meaning, along with the importance of persistence which surfaced through our discussions with Sanderson and Brosilo and our review of the Maricopa County Community College District and GateWay Community College’s joint strategic direction on student support goals. Our application plan rests on these three pillars: future-mindedness, self-efficacy, and meaning – with persistence running as a key thread throughout. The plan resides on three key processes: 1) administering a foundational, future-oriented writing exercise for incoming students that also cultivates foundations for self-efficacy and goal setting; 2) administering a growth mindset, belonging and self-efficacy intervention focused on messaging and environmental for incoming students, and 3) ongoing programming for students that supports purpose and meaning as well as student persistence.
  • Publication
    You Only Live Twice: Midlife as a Creative Transition Into Our 'Second Act'
    (2018-08-01) Driessen, Erik Otto
    Our rising life expectancy mandates a re-design of our life span and redefines ‘midlife’ both technically and conceptually. Lagging behind other life stages in its scientific study, midlife is often connoted with a ‘crisis’ of sorts. Yet historically, midlife represented an apex in life; moreover, conclusive ‘crisis’ evidence has yet to emerge. Some manage to thrive in midlife by maintaining an attitude rooted in The Good Life, a concept tracing back to Aristotelian ethics. Positive psychology, the science of what makes life worth living, has studied The Good Life in modern times and contributed to understanding midlife in well-being terms. Together with neuroscience, positive psychology can help dispel myths regarding midlife, reframing it from the onset of decline into a creative transition for our ‘second act’ based on an enhanced sense of authorship. This self-creation process involves three key well-being themes: revision, prospection, and individuation. Reviewing these themes and ‘layering’ them with different well-being perspectives relevant to midlife, we may achieve meaningful positive psychological constructs and activities (and eventually, interventions) in three areas: positive narrative identity, serious play, and self-regulation. Of these, serious play, which unlocks the tacit knowledge our bodies disseminate in a state of play, seems especially key to enhancing authorship. One serious play application, LEGO Serious Play, which aims to build identities trough metaphors, seems especially promising for enhancing well-being at midlife in positive psychology workshops.