Towards a positive university

Lindsay G. Oades, Paula Robinson, Suzy Green, Gordon B. Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the concept of a 'positive university'. Whilst positive education is becoming a better known concept, particularly applied to secondary schools, and positive organizational scholarship is further assisting the understanding of positive institutions, it is useful to examine the university as a special institution, in its entirety beyond a circumscribed focus on student academics (e.g. student motivation) or student well-being (e.g. well-being of medical students). In this article, we will sample the relevant evidence to date from positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship and apply it to five key environments of the university: Classroom and formal learning environments (e.g. curriculum, academic achievement), social environments (e.g. student relationships), local community and external organizations (e.g. volunteerism), faculty and administration work environments (e.g. employee stress) and residential environments (e.g. student well-being). Specific recommendations are provided for each context with reference to five routes to well-being: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-439
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Positive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • academic success
  • happiness interventions
  • higher education
  • positive education
  • positive organization
  • positive psychology
  • well-being


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