LifeWorks Affiliated Courses

When We Dead Awaken: Breakthroughs in Conceptions of the Gendered Self in Literature and the Arts

Instructor: Helen Brooks
FEMGEN 212; Spring 2015

Remarkable breakthroughs in conceptions of the gendered self are everywhere evident in literature and the arts, beginning primarily with the Early Modern world and continuing into today. Many of these works inhere in innovations in literary and artistic forms in order to capture and even evoke the strong cognitive, or psychological, dimension of such ‘awakenings.’ The reader, or viewer, is often challenged to adapt her or his mind to new forms of thought, such as John Donne’s seventeenth century creation of the Dramatic Monologue, a form popular with modern writers, which requires the reader’s cognitive ‘presence’ in order to fill out the dramatic scene. In so doing, the reader often supplies the presence of the female voice and thereby enters into her self-consciousness and inner thoughts. Adrienne Rich, for example, specifically ‘rewrites’ one of Donne’s major poems from the female perspective. This can be, in Rich’s words, an ‘awakening’ for the active reader, as he or she assumes that often-unspoken female perspective. The course will also explore male conceptions of the self and how such conceptions are often grounded in cultural attitudes imposed on male subjects, which can contribute to gender-bias toward women, a subject often neglected in exploring gendered attitudes, but which is now gaining more study, for example, in Shakespeare’s ‘Othello.’ Readings from recent developments in the neurosciences and cognitive studies will be included in our study of artistic forms and how such forms can activate particular mindsets. Writers and artists will include Shakespeare, Michelangelo, John Donne, Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Rich, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, June Wayne, and Edward Albee’s 1960’s play, ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’


Instructor: Jane Shaw
RELIGST 143; Spring 2015

Empathy is fashionable these days - whether in Silicon Valley or the latest neuroscience. There is a deep sense that we need to learn how to walk in the shoes of another. This course will trace the meaning and practice of empathy through Buddhist compassion; Christianity's commandments to love our neighbor; Enlightenment moral philosophy; nineteenth-century aesthetics; and twenty-first century neuroscience. We will also explore how the arts - drama, novels, poetry, and the visual arts - especially enable us to understand and empathize with the other.

Survey of Adventure Experiences

Instructor: CHRIS Pelchat
OUTDOOR 300; Autum, Winter, Spring

An examination of the historical, psychological, social, and philosophical foundations of adventure experiences in American culture and folklore. Experience outdoor living and adventure skills in a variety of contexts.

Fundamentals of Leadership

Instructor: CHRIS Pelchat
OUTDOOR 400; Autum, Winter, Spring

Basic concepts in leadership. Examination of sources required for authentic leadership: connections, identity, integrity and personal power. Analysis of effective leadership practices and the application to collaborative environments.

Beginning Improvising

Instructor: Dan Klein
TAPS 103; Winter 2014

Beginning Improvising is the practice of making up stories and scenes, collaboratively, in front of an audience. The skills practiced include spontaneity, cooperation, team building, and rapid problem solving, emphasizing common sense, attention to reality, and helping your partner.

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Pursuit of Happiness and Health

Instructors: Fred Luskin & carole pertofsky
PEDS 106/206; winter 2014

What is happiness and why is it valued?  What makes someone happy?  Research indicates that positive life practices can help you skillfully undo the impact of negative emotions on mood, health, and coping behaviors. These practices can result in wide-ranging effects. Not only do they help you become more self-aware and thereby, open up new possibilities and solutions, but also they build long-term resources of deeper self-acceptance and more authentic connection with others. These practices can also strengthen the brain's capacities to acquire knowledge and broaden perspectives about the nature of happiness and what is important in life.  Discussion will be based on evidence-based research findings in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, philosophical concepts and applied experiences related to emotional well-being, resiliency, and physical and mental health.  Emphasis on issues relevant to high-achieving young adults.

Design for Diversity: Collaboration by difference in a digital age

instructors: kenneth waldron, tommy woon, & manjula waldron
me 29d; winter 2014

This course invites students to explore rules of engagement to create a global interconnected world that works for them. Students will learn to apply design, technology, and social innovation to create an environment that fosters collaboration by differences. Students will also examine how in a digital age their multiple identities amplify and create unique opportunities for them to bring about social change.  Every class will offer interactive re-socializing skills to cultivate compassion, reflection on common humanity, and somatic literacy to understand how the interaction of mind and body affects our ability to accept the other’s point of view. By the end of the quarter students will express their new literacy in collaboration by differences and use design thinking tools to prototype a diversity collaboratorium, a portable structure and process to create an appreciation of voice and value for global leadership.   View Syllabus

Strengthening the Heart through Compassion

instructors: monica hanson
athletic 18; winter & spring 2014

Guided practices and simple evidence based strategies to develop self-compassion, experience genuine happiness, reduce stress and negative thoughts, resolve differences with difficult others and take compassionate action that makes a difference in the world. Sponsored by Stanford's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and following the Stanford Compassion Training program. Each week includes: meditation, group discussion, current research and its real world application.

Yes+ Empowerment Course

Instructors: M. Molfino, D. Sengupta, E. Seppala, P. Ka
MED 130; fall, winter, spring

YESplus provides us with tools to manage our stress and energy levels, leading us to experience a more happy, fulfilled and meaningful life. This workshop has been taught in 75 universities around the country (including Harvard and Cornell) in addition to progressive and service-oriented institutions such as Google and the World Bank. Learn how to succeed with less stress, more energy, and a state of mind that is both focused and relaxed. Make some of the most meaningful connections you've made on campus and understand how making a difference impacts your wellbeing. Important: In addition to weekly classes, there is a weekend session on campus. Visit for more details and dates. Note this course requires an application and all sessions are mandatory. Priority to residents of Castano Hall.

hacking consciousness

Instructors: michael heinrich
bio 387; spring

Hacking consciousness will investigate the nature of consciousness as a field of all possibilities, as the source not only of the human mind and our ability to experience, know, innovate and create, but also as the source of all structures and functions--from fine particles and DNA to galaxies, in parallel with the scientific notion of a unified field, superstring, or super symmetry at the foundation of time and space. Each lesson will cover a specific aspect of consciousness and will be led by a leading scientist or thinker, including Tony Nader MD Phd (MIT and Harvard trained neuroscientist and author), John Hagelin Phd (Harvard-trained, renowned quantum physicist), and Fred Travis, PhD (neuroscientist who will provide a live EEG demonstration). Because consciousness has been seen in many cultures as a gateway to directly cognizing the laws of nature, meditation has developed as a pivotal human technology for success in all areas of life. Optionally, students may learn a meditation technique of their choice and join a possible weekend retreat. Students are also welcome to attend an optional 20 minute group meditation at 4:05pm, immediately before each class.