Professor brings positive psychology to Baruch
Published: Monday, September 27, 2010
Updated: Monday, September 27, 2010 03:09
Dr. David Sitt, professor and deputy chairman of the psychology department at Baruch College, will introduce a course in spring 2011 that is geared towards positive psychology.
Positive psychology is based on the principle that all human beings have an innate desire to live happy, fulfilled lives. It focuses on spreading positive emotions that result in the optimal functioning of people, groups and institutions.
In an interview with The Ticker, Sitt disclosed what the course will truly entail and what Baruch students can hope to gain from taking such a course.
How did the idea of starting the positive psychology course come about?
Last spring, while studying consciousness in the Introduction to Psychology class, students were presented with one question: How can you make a positive difference on a large scale and bring people of all backgrounds together? The student response was overwhelming, and soon everything snowballed into one mission of challenging the class to elevate the consciousness of NYC. Dance.Love.Now was a direct result of that and the extensive student interest and involvement in such a project was a great push towards introducing a course primarily based on increasing general awareness towards positive emotions.
What is Dance.Love.Now? Is the group still active?
It was a movement propelled by around 30 students to generate positive energy by dancing. It was one of the most magnetic attractions of Spring Fling 2010. It was truly a mind-opening experience. To be honest, this movement has been so magnificent that it still hasn't sunk in.
The group is still active and well, and phase two is percolating. I have the blue print of an amazing event. To stay up-to-date on everything, visit www.dancelovenow.com.
What will this class encompass? What are the learning objectives for this course?
This most certainly will not be one of those classes with a sit back and listen atmosphere, and an assigned textbook. The purpose is to create an environment where everyone feels connected, and the work produced is at the optimum best. There will be readings from authors such as Edward Diener, and a huge experimental portion to the class. Students might be asked to go out and engage in acts of pleasure versus the acts of kindness. The objective would be to assess the impact of each action and how long the resultant emotion lasts. Of course, all of these are just brainstormed ideas, and are subject to change as the framework of the course develops further.
As a newly introduced course, how many students would you prefer to take on?
I am definitely open to the idea of expanding but as of right now, I would like to close the section with 40 students. I am looking for students who step out and participate; students who are curious and willing to sacrifice without having the slightest idea of what may lie in their future. This course does have the potential to increase in size and that possibility will be left on the table. With assistance from my coworkers, this course might even turn into a lecture hall class, so the more, the merrier.
What do you hope to accomplish, or what is your long-term goal for beginning this wave of thought to Baruch?
If I were to leave my imprint on Baruch, I would like to be remembered as the person who evoked positive emotions. Psychology in Motion is a new undergraduate club, which is a direct result of Dance.Love.Now. The purpose of the club is to promote happiness all around. A radio show, most probably called ‘Sitt on It,' is also in the works. It is a project to bring together music and arts and spread positive energy through audio media. It will most likely broadcast on Fridays, starting mid-October, around 12:30 p.m. on stations such as WBMB and podcast.
The positive psychology course, the psychology in motion club, and the new radio show all have one common objective: to fuse as much positive energy as possible in Baruch College, and hopefully spark a chain of events, which will spread positive energy throughout New York City.