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Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing

"We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education."

– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Purpose of Education,” 1947 

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To flourish means to live well, to thrive. We believe that humans flourish when they develop to their fullest potential as rational and moral creatures living in healthy communities.

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Our Vision

The Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing (ISHF; the Institute) is revitalizing and renewing the study and cultivation of virtue in higher education, advancing the study of virtue through leadership in virtue research, and improving the flourishing of students and of all people in Oklahoma and beyond through effective and inspiring outreach programs.

Our Mission

The mission of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing is to advance the study of virtue and promote flourishing through leadership in virtue education and outreach. Learn more

Latest News

August 3, 2020

Dr. Berk Esen shares opinion on conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque

Dr. Berk Esen, a consultant on the project, "Mindful Moral Identity and Public Virtue among Humanitarian and Democratizing Justice Exemplars in the Context of Turkey," which is funded by the "Self, Virtue, and Public Life Project," shared his opinions on BBC World about conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.  Click to Listen

July 7 & 9, 2020

Reading group exploring Race, Police, and the State

Hosted by the OU Carceral Studies Consortium

Join the OU Carceral Studies Consortium via Zoom for a moderated discussion about race, police and the state. We will discuss short pieces by Keeangha-Yamahtta Taylor, Allissa Richardson and Stuart Schrader.

June 29, 2020

Citizenship in a Network Age - A Podcast with Dr. Nancy Snow -

Digital networking and algorithms are transforming the ways we make decisions and interact with one another. In 2018, scholars at the University of Oxford launched a research project  to promote human flourishing in this evolving technological landscape.

Today, the choice is not between citizens and machines, it is about identifying and protecting humans’ uniqueness as moral decision-makers.

Please join Dr. Nancy Snow as she discusses Trust, Unity & Democracy in the Networked Aged.


May 1, 2020

Teacher of the Year Recipients

The Institute congratulates Ms. Jessica Eschbach, teacher-librarian at Kennedy Elementary School, for being named the Norman Public School District Teacher of the Year!

We congratulate Ms. Jessica Bigbee of Washington Elementary School for being named the Norman Public School District Special Education Teacher of the Year! 

We congratulate Ms. Wendy Trott, teacher-librarian at Irving Middle School, for being named Site Teacher of the Year at Irving Middle School!

All three of these schools partner with the Institute, and all three of these exceptional teachers have been leaders in virtue implementation initiatives at their schools.  We are honored to work with them.


April 20, 2020

Post-docs in Leadership and Character in Computer Science and Engineering at Wake Forest

We have two new postdoctoral fellowships with the Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest, one in collaboration with the Department of Computer Science and another in collaboration with the Department of Engineering. They are supported by grants from the Lilly Endowment and Kern Family Foundation, respectively. 
Links to the full job descriptions are below:

If you know of colleagues or students who might be interested in applying, we would appreciate your help spreading the word.

April 9, 2020

Please see this important report on Citizenship in a Networked Age :

March 23, 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you are well and safe during this troubled time.  I'm writing to let you know that, in accordance with University of Oklahoma policy, all Institute events have been canceled through July 2020.  This means that we will not be hosting Krista Tippett this April, but we will be rescheduling this event in the future.  In addition, all Virtue Forum luncheons have been canceled until the fall.  

On a more positive note, Dr. James Sidanius of Harvard University will be speaking as part of our "Faith, Civic Virtue, and Public Life" series in the fall on Thursday, October 15.  In addition, we will be scheduling events celebrating the fifth year anniversary of the Institute.  Please stay tuned for further developments!  

I wish you peace, hope, and resilience!

All best, 


Nancy E. Snow

Professor of Philosophy

Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing

The University of Oklahoma

March 9, 2020

3-year research fellowships with the Oxford Character Project

Oxford Character Project is recruiting five University of Oxford postdoctoral fellows (four Research Fellows and a Psychology Research Fellow) to work on a 3-year, Templeton-funded project, exploring the intersection between character formation, leadership development and institutional culture in four specific sectors: business, finance, law and technology. We will conduct research in these industries and design and deliver character and leadership development programmes for professional education in the university and beyond.

Entitled, "Virtues and Vocations”, the project's research is intended to advance theoretical and practical knowledge of character formation as it concerns the focal sectors. Our work will be thoroughly interdisciplinary, considering philosophical, theological, psychological, educational, and sociological aspects of character virtue development. The project builds on the existing work of the Oxford Character Project. It will be housed in the Faculty of Theology and Religion and work in conjunction with faculty from relevant Oxford departments as well as industry partners.

Each postholder will be responsible for carrying out research and developing and piloting character and leadership development programmes in one of the project's four focal sectors. 

Successful candidates will hold, or be close to completion of a relevant doctorate in philosophical, theological, psychological, educational or sociological accounts of human character and virtue with relevant knowledge of at least one of the industry sectors and a demonstrable research interest in character and leadership development. 

If interested in applying please check the following links. Research Fellow (4 posts)Psychology Research Fellow (1 post)


Speaker Series - Krista Tippett

Krista Tippett is a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and New York Times bestselling author. As the creator and host of public radio’s On Being (, which airs on over 400 public radio stations nationwide and globally via podcast, Tippett takes up the great animating questions of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? Krista and her guests reach beyond the headlines to explore meaning amidst the political, economic, cultural, and technological shifts of twenty-first century life. Her guests have ranged from poets and artists to activists and spiritual leaders. The On Being podcast has been downloaded and played more than 200 million times and was named one of The Atlantic’s 50 best podcasts of 2017. Tippett’s Civil Conversations Project (, launched in 2011, is a series of conversations, public events, and resources that offer ideas and tools for healing our fractured civic spaces. Tippett is also the author of three highly regarded books exploring spirituality and meaning, including the New York Times bestseller Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit, and Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters and How to Talk About It. In 2014, she received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama for “thoughtfully delving into the mysteries of human existence.” Tippett’s next book, Letters to a Young Citizen, is described as a field guide for discovering creative possibilities and reclaiming conversation and civility.  For more information:  

February 4, 2020

This I Believe: OU

We would love to see you at This I Believe: OU on Tuesday, Feb. 18th from 3:30-5 p.m. in Meacham Auditorium, located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union. For more information on this event please go to

February 3, 2020

Holmes Leadership Symposium Call for Poster Presentations

If you are conducting research on any aspect of leadership, teamwork, diversity, inclusion, or related topics, you are invited to present a poster at the Holmes Leadership Symposium on Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Oklahoma Memorial Union. The symposium is a biennial event hosted by the Jerry Holmes Leadership Program at OU's Gallogly College of Engineering. This year’s theme is Leadership for a Changing World, and we will be exploring various aspects of diversity in leadership.

If you’d like to participate, please email with the title of your research and a brief synopsis. Include "Symposium Poster Session” as the subject line. We are interested in research related to any of the items on our list of leadership capabilities ( and we are especially interested in work that explores the intersection of these topics with diversity and inclusion. 

The grad student poster session will be held in conjunction with the evening reception at 5:00 PM in the OMU Governor’s Room. We hope you will make plans to attend other symposium events as well. This year's event will open with a lunchtime plenary address by Dr. Robin Minthorn, associate professor at the University of Washington Tacoma and an expert in Native American leadership. Terri Kelly, retired CEO of W. L. Gore and Associates, will give the keynote address over dinner. The day will include workshops, invited talks, and panel discussions, all related to the theme. The symposium is open to the public and will be relevant for a broad audience, from students to experienced professionals. Register and read more about the symposium at

January 28, 2020

International Conference: VIRTUE & HUMAN DEVELOPMENT Gdańsk, 21-22 May 2020

Virtue ethics, one of the most influential recent approaches to ethics, is founded on the Aristotelian idea of eudaimonia, having developed one’s potentialities. Eudaimonia so conceived, is to most virtue ethicists the goal of human life.

In order to achieve this goal, virtue ethicists say (and in saying that they also follow Aristotle), we need to develop ethical virtues, i.e., stable dispositions to perform morally good action, or in, other words, a morally good character. It is the realization of these virtues that constitutes the perfection of a human being as human being.

The above characterization of virtues is quite general, one can still ask about many important issues relating to the idea of eudaimonia, the central one being the one of human development. Thus, during our conference, we want to raise the following questions: How should human development be understood? How should we understand eudaimonia in the contemporary world? Is perfecting moral character necessary for achieving eudaimonia? What is the role of epistemic, executive, social or political virtues? Do virtues always enhance human development or do they, at least sometimes, impede it?

Learn more here or for information on speakers here.

December 2, 2019

Open positions in the Program for Leadership and Character, Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University is seeking to expand its Program for Leadership and Character by hiring six new staff to assist with student programming, research, and assessment. The positions are funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment to develop leaders of character at Wake Forest and support other colleges and universities who seek to infuse leadership and character on their campuses. Dedicated, creative, and collaborative colleagues are sought for the following positions: 


·         Senior Research Scholar (apply here)

·         Assistant Director of Leadership and Character in the Professional Schools (apply here)

·         Assistant Director of Programming for Leadership and Character in the College (apply here)

·         Assistant Director of Programming for Leadership and Character in Religious Life (apply here)

·         Program Manager (apply here)

·         Administrative Assistant (apply here)


Wake Forest University is a private, coeducational institution dedicated to academic excellence in liberal arts and in graduate and professional education. Located in Winston-Salem, NC (“The City of Arts and Innovation”), the University is ranked among the top thirty national universities by U.S. News and World Report. The University has a deep institutional commitment to public service and engagement with the world, as indicated by the motto Pro Humanitate (for humanity), which encourages students to develop the qualities of human character needed to serve humanity. With the aim to educate the whole person, the University has established an innovative Program for Leadership and Character that helps students develop the character needed to lead in an increasingly complex world. The program is based on cutting-edge academic research on leadership and character, including research conducted by Wake Forest faculty who are leading experts on the study of character. The program has established a partnership with the Oxford Character Project and has been profiled as a model for how universities can educate character. The program recently received a grant from the Lilly Endowment to develop leaders of character at Wake Forest and support other colleges and universities who seek to infuse leadership and character on their campuses. For quick facts about the University, see For more on the Program for Leadership and Character, see For articles highlighting Wake Forest’s commitment to leadership and character, see


Please apply at

November 6, 2019

Job Opportunity

The Department of Philosophy is seeking an individual for a tenure-track assistant professor position or early associate professor position with tenure, beginning fall 2020. If you are interested in learning more please go to the following link -

October 26, 2019

Institute Holds Virtues Strategic Plan Implementation Workshop for Norman Public Schools Partner Schools

On October 26, 2019, the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing held a Strategic Plan Implementation Workshop at Norman North High School for educators from Kennedy Elementary School, Washington Elementary School, Longfellow Middle School, Irving Middle School, Norman High School, and Norman North High School. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation and led by the Institute’s Assessment Coordinator, Dr. Michael Warren, the workshop provided leadership teams with an overview of the first 12 months of strategic plans that were collaboratively developed by ISHF and school principals. Each school’s strategic plan includes 6-10 virtue-related activities (e.g., weekly in-class virtue lessons, developing an extracurricular virtue program, etc.), a timeline for implementing the activities, and an assessment plan that involves collecting data from students, teachers, and leadership teams.   

Beyond providing leadership teams with this essential information, the workshop offered: (1) a brief presentation by Dr. Nancy Snow on virtue and virtue education, (2) a structured process for refining virtue definitions to better connect with students’ experiences, (3) time to meet with their team to plan the implementation of their school’s strategic plan, (4) resources for integrating virtues education into the classroom, and (5) opportunities to share their school’s virtue education efforts with other schools in the district.   

The workshop was attended by 29 educators, including principals, assistant principals, librarians, counselors, and teachers of various grade levels and with various areas of subject expertise. At the close of the workshop, attendees completed a survey that assessed how well key workshop objectives were achieved. Findings indicated that attendees thought the workshop was successful in achieving all five objectives, and the workshop either met or exceeded all attendees’ expectations. In addition, educators indicated that they especially valued the focused, designated time to work with colleagues on their own leadership teams, and they left the workshop thinking about how to build a greater sense of buy-in from other colleagues to help ensure that the virtues initiative has staying power.

October 20, 2019 - Immediate opening

Research Associate Position

The Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing (ISHF) seeks a PhD-level research associate with expertise in evaluation to continue our work with six Norman Public Schools.  The Civic Virtues Project is being done in collaboration with educators from three of these schools to integrate compassion, fairness, and civility into their teaching.  This project will end on May 31, 2021. The Longitudinal Virtues Project (with four of these schools) and Five Year Strategic Planning Projects (with all six partner schools) has recently started and will continue for the next 15 months.  In addition, the position requires assessment of ISHF events and participation in the Kern Family Foundation Partners in Character and Educational Leadership.  Duties will include designing and administering surveys, analyzing data, and compiling reports; interacting with educators to devise and integrate strategies for cultivating virtue into their teaching and curricula; revising a Teacher's Guide to Civic Virtue, and compiling and revising a Teacher's Guide to Intellectual Virtue.  This work will done under the supervision of and in collaboration with the ISHF Director, Dr. Nancy Snow.  The salary is $50,000/year plus benefits, with supplemental pay not to exceed $12,000.  This work can be done remotely. 

For more information and to apply, please go to and reference job #193317.

July 31 - August 1, 2019

Institute Hosts Civic Virtues Project Workshop

On July 31st and August 1st, the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing hosted a Civic Virtues Workshop at the University of Oklahoma. Led by the Institute’s Assessment Coordinator, Dr. Michael Warren, the workshop provided middle and high school teachers with an overview of a semester-long quasi-experimental study in which teachers will deliver in-class lessons on civility, compassion, and fairness. A draft of the Teachers’ Guide to Civic Virtues—a working document with over 65 virtue activities—was shared with the teachers and served as a foundation for the creation of developmentally sensitive virtue lessons. After constructing concrete lesson plans that will be implemented throughout fall 2019, teachers were briefed on an assessment plan by which the efficacy of the virtue lessons will be evaluated according to how well they foster the development of civic virtues in students’ lives. The event was rounded out with a brief lecture by Dr. Nancy Snow on the relevance of civic virtues in the lives of students, and by a sample lesson presented by Dr. Pamela Pittman-Adkins from Norman North High School. 

The workshop was attended by educators from Norman High School, Norman North High School, and Irving Middle School. In addition, school counselors, administrators, and officials from Norman Public Schools district participated. At the close of the workshop, attendees completed a survey that assessed how well key workshop objectives were achieved. A forthcoming assessment report is in progress to document the survey results. Teachers will begin in-class virtue lessons during the week of August 20, when the new school year begins.


June 14, 2019

Call for Papers - Populism and the Recovery of the Intellectual Virtues

An announcement from Greg Peterson (South Dakota State University):

Our SDSU Ethics Lab has recently received a South Dakota Humanities Council Grant to support a small workshop on "Populism and the Recovery of the Intellectual Virtues." The workshop is Sept 25-27, and will feature Heather Battaly (Philosophy, University of Connecticut) and Kirk Hawkins (Political Science, Brigham Young University). For six participants who commit to coming and writing an article for a proposed edited volume, we are offering $1,000 ($800 for attendance and $200 upon receipt of the article at the end of December). If you feel like this is up your alley, I encourage you to apply. If you could kindly forward information about the workshop to others who might be interested, we would deeply appreciate it.  More information can be found at

Call for Papers

Scholars in philosophy and related disciplines are encouraged to submit a proposal for participation in a workshop at South Dakota State University on September 25-27, 2019. The topic is: “Populism and the Recovery of the Intellectual Virtues.” Paper proposals may be on any topic as it relates to the project theme, including papers on populism and populist movements, intellectual virtues and virtue epistemology, democratic virtues, deliberative democracy, epistemic democracy, political cognition, and democracy and science. Proposals should include the following documents and information:

  1. A short cover letter including Name, Role and Institutional Affiliation
  2. An academic C.V.
  3. A description of a proposed paper (300-500 words) addressing some aspect of the workshop theme, “Populism and the Recovery of the Intellectual Virtues.”

Six selected scholars will receive $1,000 as a stipend ($800 for attending the workshop and $200 upon submission of a paper by December 31 for publication in a proposed edited volume). Applications may be sent by email to Application Deadline: June 30

Learn more

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The Institute is made possible by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation
and by support from The University of Oklahoma and the Kirkpatrick Foundation.