Happiness And Optimal Development Focus Of Faculty Lecture

April 08, 2010

Dr. Stephen Kramer, professor of psychology, was selected to speak at the annual Mount Union College Faculty Lecture, held Tuesday, March 26. The Lecture, which has been held since 1959, is designed to allow faculty to relate interesting or important developments in his or own field or to explore matters of general concern to the faculty. This year, Kramer spoke on the topic of "Getting a Life- Pursuing Happiness and Optimal Development."


Kramer was introduced by President Jack Ewing who said that Kramer is "always striving for more effective ways to help his students learn." Kramer is still learning himself; he started off the lecture by disclosing that he would include his first-ever Power Point presentation, an admittance that drew applause and laughter from the audience of Mount Union faculty.

He chose to speak about happiness because he has discovered through life experiences and teaching that it entails leading a meaningful life and getting on track, which is included in the Mount Union College mission statement. "I think that happiness is a universal pursuit," said Kramer. He also chose to speak about the positive aspects of psychology because, he said, people tend to study the disorders and other negatives of psychology.

Kramer noted in the lecture that depression is reaching younger ages, and believes that the breakdown of family is the "first and foremost" cause of child and teen depression. He suggested that people come across happiness en route to other goals, yet is difficult to seek out specifically. He said that optimism, helping, and flow (the "zone" between anxiety and boredom) are key parts to attaining happiness.

He concluded his presentation with various theories and models created by psychologists that illustrate the pursuit of happiness. "The real key," said Kramer, "is keeping an open mind and adventurous spirit."

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