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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Can Universities Help Students Learn to Live a Higher Quality Life?

Students are the center of the academic world. We often hope to create graduates that are skillful in their jobs and with any luck contribute to society through economic and personal contributions. As academics we often think it is about teaching students job skills to meet employment requirements and ignore the quality of life issues. Yet this is what makes the biggest differences to society when students live well and maximize their contributions to society.

Things that students need to learn range from balancing checkbooks to getting regular exercise. The problem is that many of these things are outside the range of normal education.  Higher education is meant to improve lives and often does as more knowledge is gained. Why not focus on life improvement?

College is a transition from old ways of thinking to new ways of thinking. It is about create greater awareness. This awareness should be about one's life, job, and ways of thinking. As higher education increases student's lives it leaves them feeling more fulfilled.

To rectify job skills with life skills into the same curriculum is difficult. The same paradox occurs in companies where human resource management and work-life balance impacts actual performance. There is little difference as you are working on the "entire individual".

One way to integrate these concepts within a school is to use more case studies of individual choice and relate actual decision making to outcomes. This requires the study to be focused a little more on the individual and explanations on how life impacts personal career outcomes.

Another way to do this is through offering required and elective classes that relate to personal finance, investment, time management, decision making, emotional intelligence, etc... with a few examples that they will use when making personal life decisions. Students may not want to take some of these courses and it may not always be beneficial to do this. For the most part, student satisfaction increases as student maximize their learning outcomes through life-long incremental improvements.

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