Nansook Park headshot.

November 13, 2023

6 p.m. ET

Ann Arbor District Library (Downtown Branch)

No registration required for this event

U-M Department of Psychology speaker graphic.
Talk Overview:

Building and sustaining a good life is a goal shared by all individuals and societies. A good life entails happiness, health, engagement, deep relationships, moral character, and meaning, which is more than the absence of problems. Traditional approaches to a good life largely focus on identifying problems and reducing them. Required is a new kind of science and practice that expands existing approaches. Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. Research findings from positive psychology are intended to contribute to a more complete and balanced scientific understanding of human experience and to teach valuable lessons about how to build and sustain a good life. Positive psychology takes a strength-based approach. It reminds us that problems coexist with strengths and assets. It calls for as much focus on strength as on weakness, as much interest in building the best things in life as in repairing the worst. This lecture will provide major positive psychology research findings and effective hands-on skills that can be applied in various settings to build and sustain a good life.

About the Speaker:

Nansook Park, PhD is a professor of psychology, director of the Michigan Positive Psychology Center at the University of Michigan, and a nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP). She did her graduate work both in South Korea and USA in the field of clinical and school psychology. Her main research focuses around a psychology of human strengths and the promotion of positive development and well-being across the life-span in different culture settings. Her research spans many topics in positive psychology including character strengths, moral virtues, resiliency, optimism, life meaning and purpose, prosociality, school kindness, positive relationships, and strength-based practice, and their role in health, family, work, and education across cultures. Her work in collaboration with the late Christopher Peterson in developing ways to measure character strengths and virtues and studying their development, contributors, consequences and ways to cultivate good character is considered one of the most ambitious undertaking within the field of positive psychology. Her work has had impacts on research and practices in various settings including education, healthcare, business, and military. She played a major role for the Positive Education project in Australia, Positive Youth Development project with Annenberg Foundation, Positive Health project with Robertwood Johnson Foundation, and Soldier Psychological Fitness, Resilience, and Growth Project with US Army.She served as a core member of scholars for the Science and Ethics for Happiness and Well-being (SEH) initiative led by the Vatican City and UN-Sustainable Development (2019-2022). She has received several honors including the 2015 Christopher Peterson Gold Medal Award (International Positive Psychology Association(IPPA)’s highest honor), a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa, the Academic Excellence Award (Ministry of Education & Beijing Institute of Education, China), and a Templeton Research Fellow at the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania. She has given invited lectures and workshops in 23 nations across six continents. She loves teaching and working with students! Her teaching has been honored by being the inaugural recipient of J. Frank Yates Award for Excellence in Seminar-based Teaching at the University of Michigan-Dept of Psychology.

Exploring the Mind: Community Talks by U-M Psychology Faculty is a talk series held in collaboration with the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL).

Talks for Fall 2023 will be held in person at AADL’s downtown branch. Flyers for each talk, including abstracts and speaker bios, will be sent in advance to members of our audience located in the greater Ann Arbor area. Talks will also be recorded and made available for later viewing online. Visit the Community Talks website for more information and to view past presentations.