Best Practices

    The best practices featured here have been compiled by student affairs professionals from around the country.  The goal is to offer you guidance and tips to help you through the process of creating your own program on purpose and values.  You can begin with the "start-up process" and work your way through the steps or you can select the topics that relate to your current needs.  

    Program Materials

    Several PAVE project contributors have made their program materials available for FREE to any institution who might want to use them. The curriculum, assessment, publicity, and training materials may give you a helpful starting point for creating your own program.  Please bear in mind that these materials were developed for use on specific campuses, to best meet the needs of that particular student body and campus culture.  If you use any of these materials, please contact the program's project manager to share feedback on how the materials may or may not have been helpful on...

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    How to Incorporate Mindfulness Practices 

    Over the past decade, colleges and universities have seen rates of anxiety steadily increasing even while depression and relationship issues have, for example, remained at the same levels.  The pressure on young adults today seems to have created a generation of students who are often perfectionistic, anxious, and sometime lacking in resiliency.  Practices that allow students to pause, slow down, reflect, train the mind, and that assist in developing meaning and purpose are vital for colleges and universities...

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    Incorporating Outdoors Experiences

    • Allow students to experience and try something entirely new without fear of making mistakes or failing (no grades, no rewards/incentives outside of the experience itself).
    • Expose students to people outside their social networks with whom they can...
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    Community Engagement


    • Offers a means by which participants in community engagement programs can process their experiences and examine what they’ve learned
    • Is an essential part of all service experiences--whether short or long-term community service, community-engaged learning, or alternative breaks ...
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    During a recent interview, a senior at Smith College was asked to describe what reflection means to her.  The student explained that reflection has two meanings for her, the first being scientific and the second being personal.  As a geology major, she thinks about how the reflection of light and sound impact our...

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    Purpose endows a person with joy in good times and resilience in hard times, and this holds true all throughout life.”  --William Damon (The Path to Purpose, 2008)

    The Project on Purpose and Values in Education (PAVE) has been heavily influenced by psychologist ...

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    Impact and Outcomes

    What We Know

    The data shown here is about the Reflecting on Your Life program at Harvard College.  Harvard chose to share this data to demonstrate the impact and outcomes of this type of programming.  This particular survey was conducted in the spring of 2014 with analysis by Rachel Gable, doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Much of the credit for the language of the survey belongs to Dartmouth College.  Their assessment of the impact...

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    Project on Purpose and Values in Education (PAVE)
    Housed at Harvard College
    Freshman Dean's Office
    6 Prescott Street
    Cambridge, MA 02138
    phone: 617-495-1574
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    College of Wooster

    Worthy Questions - a program designed for students who wish to investigate their life's passions. Worthy Questions assists students in integrating personal, professional, and spiritual values by providing tools, models, and a community for reflection. 


    • Audience: Students typically enter the program as first-...
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