Seminar Instructors: Caryn Carlson, PhD & Michael Starbird, PhD

Next Run: February 10, 2017

This course presents practical strategies for optimizing individual and organizational performance by identifying and utilizing character strengths, regularly achieving a state of immersed involvement or flow, and creatively conceptualizing issues and solving problems.

Virtual Participation Option: We are excited to announce that the next run of “Flourishing in the Workplace” will be the first of HDO’s one-day professional seminars to feature a virtual participation option! Due to the first-time nature of this option, we are offering reduced pricing for both in-person and virtual participants. See the “Registration” tab for more information.

Flourishing in the Workplace

Learning Outcomes

Participants will become more successful and effective professionally and personally. They will: 

  • Identify personal strengths;
  • Identify the flow activities in which they are currently engaged and develop methods for bringing increased flow to their current work activities;
  • Increase positive emotion in the workplace;
  • Improve their effective thinking strategies, especially to augment innovation;
  • Learn to identify the real questions on which they should work;
  • Learn how to find the essential issues from among the clutter;
  • Learn to use mistakes to guide discovery and reveal issues at the heart of work challenges; and
  • Generate specific action plans to improve ongoing challenges faced by the participants and their organizations.
This course presents practical strategies for optimizing personal and employee performance via identifying and utilizing character strengths, regularly achieving a state of immersed involvement or flow, and creatively conceptualizing issues and solving problems. Participants identify personally relevant areas for improvement or growth and work individually and in small groups to apply practical strategies presented in the course to enhance satisfaction and success both professionally and personally.
Lasting improvements in an individual or organization stem largely from using personal assets effectively. Dr. Carlson and Dr. Starbird will describe the classification of strengths and the relationship between strengths and outcomes in various life domains. Participants will attain a more refined understanding of their personal profile of strengths by taking an online questionnaire previous to the course or through a brief in-class Character Strengths questionnaire, and having an opportunity to discuss their strengths and explore methods to develop and apply them. Elements of flow and positive emotion will be discussed, along with interventions for increasing these – and thereby productivity – in the workplace.

One of the basic lessons of this course is that many positive character traits are accessible and available to anyone who takes practical steps to attain them. For example, creativity is not an inborn trait. Everyone can learn to apply strategies of effective thinking to become a creative problem-solver. These strategies include techniques for using mistakes to guide discovery, for asking questions that reveal the core issues of a situation or problem, and for focusing on fundamental components at a deep level as a means to develop expertise at a high level.

Participants exercises and activities designed to help them with their individual challenges and situations. Exercises are designed to help participants to develop the satisfying habit of concentrated focus or flow, to generate specific methods to increase positive emotion in the workplace, and to provide practical strategies for how to create innovative ideas that can be used to see opportunities and solve problems creatively. Participants will be asked to take an issue or problem in their own world and generate specific action plans based on these techniques.

Flourishing in the Workplace

Location: UT Austin Campus & Virtual Participation
Date: February 10, 2017
Time: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Seminar Pricing

In-Person Participation

  • Standard Fee: $650
  • Early-Bird: $487.50 (25% discount); Expires 11/10/16
  • UT Staff/Alumni: $520 (20% discount)
  • HDO Master's Alumni: $200
Virtual Participation

  • Standard Fee: $400
  • Early-Bird: $300 (25% discount); Expires 11/10/16
  • UT Staff/Alumni: $320 (20% discount)
  • HDO Master's Alumni: $200
Virtual participants will participate actively and in real-time in the course, interacting with the course instructors as well as their in-person colleagues. Fees are reduced for virtual participants due to absence of costs for catering, parking, and hard copy materials.
Seminar Fee Includes:
  • Course Registration
  • Parking
  • WiFi Access
  • Lunch 
  • Refreshments
  • Course Materials


If you have questions prior to registering, please see our Professional Training FAQ or contact Lewis Miller, HDO's Marketing Coordinator, at lewismiller@utexas.edu / 512-232-8330.

Caryn Carlson is a professor of Psychology at UT Austin. Her academic work is in Positive Psychology, which suggests that psychology can be utilized not only to reduce human suffering but also to enhance our potential. The Positive Psychology approach employs scientific methodology to elucidate factors relevant to understanding and promoting what is good in people, including positive emotions, character strengths and virtues, as well as health, well-being, and life satisfaction. She has received several teaching and service awards, including the Raymond Dickson Teaching Fellowship, the Eyes of Texas Excellence Award, and the President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award. In addition to her teaching at the university, Dr. Carlson has presented seminars to employees at Apple, Inc.

  Michael Starbird is a professor of Mathematics at UT Austin. He has received numerous teaching awards, including membership in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the UT Regent's Teaching Award, and the Mathematical Association of America's National Teaching Award. He has given more than 20 workshops since 2000 ranging in length from 4 hours to 5 days. He has given more than 100 invited lectures since 2000, many pertaining to teaching effective thinking. His video courses in the Great Courses Series have reached hundreds of thousands of people outside of academia. He has also given many presentations to general audiences and some presentations business groups, including the Financial Planning Association and Rotary Clubs.
The majority of participants in our Seminars and Certificate Programs are mid- and upper-level professionals working in the business, nonprofit, government, or military sectors; however, professionals at all levels of experience are welcome to participate. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in an HDO Professional Seminar.

While all HDO Seminars are developed with wide-ranging applicability in mind, the following individuals and groups will likely find Flourishing in the Workplace most directly relevant to their work:

  • Senior/Executive Leadership
  • Middle Management
  • Team Leaders & Supervisors
  • Human Resources/Recruiting Directors & Managers
  • Creative Professionals
  • Project Managers
For participants coming in for seminars from outside the Austin area, there are several hotels near campus, many within walking distance. HDO recommends the following hotels:

HDO works with these many of these venues on a regular basis. If you need assistance selecting a hotel, please contact Jessica Crawford, HDO's Senior Administrative Associate at 512-232-7343 or jessica.crawford@austin.utexas.edu.

On-campus parking is covered for all participants for the day of their seminar. For transit information, please visit Capital Metro's website.

I found the seminar extremely worthwhile, and I’m recommending it to co-workers. Drs. Carlson and Starbird were very knowledgeable and helped us apply concepts to real world situations, which was extremely useful.

– Jeannine Vater, Analyst, Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA)




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