Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Service Learning Projects

Each spring, MAPP students "give positive psychology away" by undertaking various service learning projects as a part of their coursework. Working in small groups, students study particular non-profit organizations, conduct literature reviews, then create Application Plans for how the organizations can apply positive psychology. This allows worthy non-profit organizations who might not have the funds to hire positive psychology consultants to benefit from the application of positive psychology.

If you are a MAPP student or graduate and would like to have your MAPP 702 Service Learning Project uploaded onto this site, please submit your project and make sure that each of the authors submits an Author Agreement form.

Search results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 55
  • Publication
    Reaching for Cultural Change
    (2009-01-01) Polly, Shannon; McQuaid, Michelle; Jewell, Louisa; Dauman, Bobby
  • Publication
    A Culture of Mattering: Building Staff Belonging, Purpose and Meaning at an Indigenous Recovery Centre
    (2019-01-01) Downton, Mark J.; Biondi, Carolyn; Fulwiler, Dana; Curtis, Christy; Frederiksson, Evelina
    The Ngwaagan Gamig Recovery Centre/Rainbow Lodge on the Wikwemikong Unceded Reserve in Ontario, Canada provides culturally-based alcohol and drug addiction treatment. We seek to support the staff’s sense of belonging and mattering, and engagement with their leader’s vision to incorporate positive psychology into the culture of the centre. Indigenous culture is being leveraged to heal from within after a history of oppression and cultural genocide in Canada (TRCC, 2015). Informed by the inherent resilience of the Anishinaabe people and culture, and current psychological science, we propose two positive interventions to cultivate mattering among staff. We recommend a peer support framework to establish a foundation of connection, and accompanying storytelling interventions grounded in Indigenous cultural practices. The literature emphasizes storytelling and cultural identity as essential for building resilience and belonging in Indigenous communities, especially for those dealing with addiction. We build upon current storytelling initiatives at Rainbow Lodge and incorporate Anishinaabe culture. We suggest culturally relevant measurement through talking circles and tools already used by the Rainbow Lodge to measure impact. We believe the proposed applications will enhance among the staff a sense of individual and community belonging, purpose and mattering, resulting in a willingness to participate and contribute to new initiatives, and overall increased well-being.
  • Publication
    Cultivating Resilience: A Plan to Build Resilience in a Low-Income, American Public School
    (2018-04-30) Biggins, Yvonne; Bachrach, Tracey; Irani, Anna; Valera, Lorena
    This paper describes both the theoretical underpinnings and an action plan for building resilience as requested by teachers in a diverse, low-income public high school in Patterson, New Jersey, United States. The authors define and describe widely agreed upon protective factors of resilience, and further operationalize the components into a set of activities for both teachers and students to engage toward increasing resilience. A three-stage learning process is presented for teachers to learn and embed the constructs in their own lives, as well as share with the students. A detailed “learning journey” is appended to describe in detail the specific evidence-based activities intended to target a critical subset of three protective factors: connection, optimism, and self-efficacy. A measurement plan is also provided to assess growth in both students and faculty.
  • Publication
    From Eminence to Preeminence: Developing Resilience and Well-being for Penn Law Students
    (2018-04-01) Danzger, Sharon F; Glaser-Reich, Joseph; Lamperski, Rebecca; Rettger, Mary Beth
    Lawyers are known to suffer from an increased risk of substance abuse and mental health issues. There is evidence that symptoms of these issues may arise years earlier in law school where students often suffer from psychological distress, anxiety, and alienation. The Penn Law Center on Professionalism (COP) seeks to help students at the University of Pennsylvania Law School better navigate law school and their transition into the workforce by increasing their resilience, confidence, and engagement. Informed by current psychological literature, we have proposed four positive interventions to help Penn Law students reinterpret and manage stress, more objectively assess their current situation, and bolster their intrinsic motivation. We recommend a brief social-belonging letter writing intervention, a mindfulness and mindset workshop, a workshop exploring explanatory styles and resilience, and a poster campaign aimed at addressing imposter syndrome. We suggest measuring results through mixed qualitative and quantitative metrics. We believe that developing these skills will enable students to flourish both in law school and in their future careers.
  • Publication
    Measuring Positive Psychology Constructs to Determine the Effect of a Well-being Intervention at GateWay Community College
    (2020-04-06) Richardson, Lisa R; Rivera-Santos, Odilia; Drulla-Rossi, Adriana; Trif, Diane
    In partnership with GateWay Community College (GWCC), the following service-learning project outlines an application plan to implement validated measures of positive psychology constructs through GWCC’s Strategies for College Success (CPD150) course. Supported by a situation analysis and literature review, constructs of Hope, Grit and Career Decision Self-Efficacy were identified as key constructs to be measured in alignment with the course curriculum and research demonstrating a positive correlation to student achievement and well-being outcomes. The application plan describes the identified measures for each construct, resources to support implementation within CPD150, and recommendations for additional measures and limitations.
  • Publication
    From Burnout to Wellness: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Shift MidMichigan Health towards a Strengths-based Perspective
    (2020-05-01) Chohan, Kunal; Fetzer, Karen; Heiser, Sophia R; Norman, Seth
    Over half of providers in the healthcare field experience burnout. Burnout syndrome is defined by the prolonged psychological and physiological response to chronic and interpersonal job stressors, and can result in a number of symptoms that negatively affect workplace morale and performance, including physical exhaustion, job dissatisfaction, and feelings of hopelessness. MidMichigan Health (MMH), a division of the University of Michigan Health system that serves nearly 1 million people in Michigan, has created the Provider Wellness and Burnout Council (PWBC) to address issues of burnout within the organization. To build on their initial work, we propose a long-term intervention based on the science of physician well-being, appreciative inquiry, goal-setting, and employee engagement. This intervention is intended to promote well-being among MMH providers through the creation of a clear, robust positive vision for provider well-being that involves all organization stakeholders throughout the development and execution of this vision. In light of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent strain on our nation’s healthcare resources, we have also proposed a short-term intervention for addressing provider well-being by sharing with providers easy, evidence-based resilience interventions.
  • Publication
    Resilience, Engagement, and Connection: Positive Psychology Tools for Hot Bread Kitchen
    (2020-05-07) Coleman, Keith; Gong, Masa; van der Willigen, Tessa
    Hot Bread Kitchen (HBK), a not-for-profit in Brooklyn, New York City, provides culinary training to women living below the poverty line as a pathway to jobs in the food services industry. HBK provides wraparound support services, ranging from help with childcare and English language skills through to training in professional readiness skills. HBK’s members are carefully screened, yet some still struggle with the stressful, fast-paced, and multicultural kitchen environment. Based on a review of the literature, we propose a positive psychology plan to strengthen individual and team thriving in the kitchen by developing resilience, engagement, and social connection, using specific activities relating to cognitive-behavioral skills, character strengths, team-building, and meaning and purpose. We provide a library of activities that HBK staff—as experts on their population—can adapt and fit into their evolving curriculum, and a short training for staff, to unite them around goals and approaches.
  • Publication
    Get Loony with Play and Other Positive Interventions: Positive Psychology Recommendations and Interventions for the Great Lake Loons
    (2022-05-08) Still, Devon; White, Katherine; O'Brien, Mark; Dickman, Kimberly
    The Great Lakes Loons nonprofit minor league baseball team is built on high quality connections among its staff and between its staff and fans. But after a year of stress and uncertainty resulting from Covid-19 and its consequences, the organization confronted challenges including workplace stress and lingering negative emotions and cognitions related to employee downsizing. The organization may benefit from recommended interventions at the individual, organizational, and community level. At the individual level, the Loons may benefit from supporting staff to develop coping mechanisms for stress and positive psychology strategies for increasing hope, optimism, and other aspects of wellbeing. At the organizational level, the Loons may benefit from increasing play and humor within their workplace culture to build on their strong foundation of high quality connections. And at the community level, the organization may benefit from hosting an Appreciative Inquiry summit to reconnect with the community and reinvigorate the meaning staff derive from their work. A full intervention, including development of the Get Loony Playbook, to assist the organization with increasing playfulness and fun at work is included. Organizations that seek to increase positive emotions and high quality connections can look to this intervention for inspiration.
  • Publication
    The Atlas Corps Effect: Reframing “Shouldering the World” to “Sharing the World” through Positive Psychology
    (2023-05-11) Leifer, Amira; Schulman, Jill; Ybarra, Noelle; Chee, Matthew
    Atlas Service Corps, Inc. (Atlas Corps) supports a global community of social change leaders dedicated to driving social and cultural change by providing world-class training, experiences, and opportunities. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was originally developed as a temporary virtual leadership program due to restricted travel has now become a core program offering that they hope to expand from 300 to over 5,000 annual participants in the next few years. One of the challenges that social change leaders face is burnout due to long hours, limited resources, and complex problems. To support Atlas Corps’ social change leader community, a series of positive psychology lessons were developed to help them learn about high-quality connections, positive stress response, and thinking traps and apply learned skills in practice. These lessons were specifically designed for their virtual leadership program, which could then be applied toward other populations, including in-person program participants, alumni, and Atlas Corps staff themselves. The implications and desired outcomes include fostering improved connections virtually and in-person, enhancing resilience and stress management strategies, and ultimately preventing burnout particularly within the context of a diverse population of nonprofit leaders and the organizations they serve.
  • 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.