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Life University Partners with Etsy.org to Integrate Compassionate Integrity Training

August 12, 2016

Life University’s Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics (CCISE) has partnered with etsy.org’s The Good Work Institute to integrate its Compassionate Integrity Training (CIT) into The Good Work Institute’s Hudson Valley Fellowship Program.

The Good Work Institute (GWI) is an independent non-profit organization launched in 2015 by etsy.com through etsy.org. GWI’s mission is to develop business education programs that enable people to work in ways that regenerate their lives, their communities and the planet. The GWI Hudson Valley Fellowship is a six-month, place-based program that brings together a cohort of entrepreneurs to develop leadership skills that impact their personal lives, enterprises, communities, the region and beyond.

“We build transformational business education programs,” says Matthew Stinchcomb, Executive Director of The Good Work Institute. “But business is actually the Trojan horse. What we’re really doing is trying to help people to be humans and allowing them to express their humanity through business.”

Life University became involved with The Good Work Institute when Michael Karlin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Life University and Associate Director of LIFE’s Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics, heard Mr. Stinchcomb describe the program at the Mindful Leadership Summit in 2015. At the time, The Good Work Institute was in the early stages of building its curriculum, a main component of which is teaching compassion and increasing an awareness of interdependence. Dr. Karlin saw an immediate connection with the work at Life University’s CCISE, stating, “we have a great deal of experience in creating and conducting research on programs that train the kinds of skills The Good Work Institute wanted to impart on its cohort.”

Developed by Dr. Karlin and his colleague, Brendan Ozawa-de Silva, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at Life University and Associate Director of the CCISE, Compassionate Integrity Training is a multi-part training program that teaches basic human values as skills based on the Dalai Lama’s model of secular ethics, an approach to the cultivation of pro-social values based on common sense, common experience and science.

The development of CIT has benefited from the leadership of Life University President Guy Riekeman, D.C., and Gerard Clum, D.C, Director of the CCISE and Life University’s The Octagon, a forum for global conversations on health care and the human condition. CIT was developed and honed after three years of The Octagon conferences focused on integrity, compassion and secular ethics. Through The Good Work Institute, CIT will be adapted to focus on harnessing business as an engine for social change.

As an experienced entrepreneur himself, Dr. Karlin says, “Unfortunately, the daily pressures of the business environment are often not conducive to personal and social wellbeing and can lead to unethical behavior by stakeholders. By providing training in such things as ethical mindfulness, emotional awareness, self-compassion, impartiality, interdependence and engaged compassion, we hope to help individuals find greater wellbeing and assist businesses to improve communication, increase innovation, decrease workplace tension and become more ethically engaged.”

Life University and The Good Work Institute’s partnership is a mutually beneficial relationship. CIT filled a gap in The Good Work Institute’s curriculum, while the partnership created the opportunity for the CCISE to productize its research and teachings. The collaboration includes intensive training days for two Good Work Institute facilitators, as well as the creation of a series of podcasts and recorded practices. Each month, the Hudson Valley cohort studies contemplative practices to develop specific skills, as well as answers a series of journaling questions, before meeting as a group to participate in facilitated conversations and small group dialogues.

“Everything we’re developing is currently available online, free of charge, for people who want to listen to the podcasts and do the practices,” says Dr. Karlin. The CCISE team hopes to continue to develop this format, expanding it over time to establish more extensive training materials and programs. For those interested, they can download the podcasts at Compassion.LIFE.edu/CIT.

The GWI Hudson Valley Fellowship kicked off on June 16 and will end on December 16, 2016. Already halfway through the program, the compassion training has been well received by the cohort. “People are yearning for love in business, for compassion and affection in business,” says Erica Dorn, Managing Director of The Good Work Institute. “They are yearning to be themselves. We’re finding there is an awakening when we allow people to be fully expressed in their work; it is really good for them and really good for their business.”

Life University’s Center for Compassion, Integrity and Secular Ethics (CCISE) is dedicated to developing and promoting empirically-based programs that foster the human values most conducive to individual, social and environmental flourishing through research, dialogue, education and community empowerment. To learn more about the CCISE and initiatives like Compassionate Integrity Training, visit Compassion.LIFE.edu. To hear the podcasts developed for The Good Work Institute, visit Compassion.LIFE.edu/CIT

About Life University

Founded in Marietta, Georgia in 1974, Life University is a health sciences institution most known for its chiropractic program, the largest single campus chiropractic program in the world. Life University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, and Doctor of Chiropractic degrees, and also has programmatic accreditation through the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE), the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic  Training Education (CAATE). The mission of Life University is to empower students with the education, skills and values necessary for career success and life fulfillment, based on a vitalistic philosophy.

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