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Colleges: Is student engagement the most important design principle?



Kathleen deLaski, founder of the Education Design Lab, stumbled upon the realization that many roads led to the emerging science of well-being…her college design work at the Lab, her philanthropy, her time on a university board and her Dad.
Her article, featured in The Washington Post this week, addresses the importance of engagement, as well as the design challenge it poses to universities.



My father spent his life openly searching for meaning. He served as deacon of our Presbyterian Church, followed an Indian guru through the ’80s and ’90s, and channeled with seers to get in touch with his past lives. The bookshelves of my childhood held the mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Edgar Cayce’s prophecies.

It was not your average household.

When Dad told me he wanted to give George Mason University $10 million to establish a center to spread the study and practice of “finding yourself,” it’s safe to say I was a little concerned.

By this time, in 2008, I had been appointed by Virginia’s governor to George Mason’s Board of Visitors and was chair of the Academic Affairs committee. I felt a sense of responsibility to make sure any gift aligned with the university’s academic agenda.

Turns out, Dad was way ahead of his time with his vision to connect well-being to universities.



Click here to read the full article.


“If engagement = success in college, let’s do it.”

Kathleen deLaski @kathdelaski