Center for Character Excellence

Living the Good Life

The formation of a Culver student’s character is woven into the fabric of how he or she negotiates the world. By paying more attention to the nuances of what living the “good life” looks like in the classroom, living unit, athletic field, and stage; our students, faculty and staff collaborate to be the best they can be – individually and collectively.

Read more about character strengths and positive emotions below. 

Positive Psychology at Culver

In Academics

The Humanities classroom is a natural home for examining the character of individuals and groups in literature and history. The Center works with the various grade levels of Culver's Humanities department.

In Athletics

As part of Culver's mission, we agree that proper attention to the benefits of wellness behavior and athletic participation is influenced by a student's character, both performance and relational traits. Performance and relational character are not mutually exclusive.

Tom Lickona and Matt Davidson, authors of Smart and Good Schools, suggest that performance character focuses on the diligence, perseverance, and self-discipline necessary to a commitment to academic, athletic, and other areas of excellence. They claim that moral or relational character embodies the traits of integrity, justice, caring, and respect.

In Our Student Leaders

The Center provides active support for Culver Military Academy and Culver Girl's Academy unique leadership programs.

CMA takes a “Strengths Based-Approach” to officer training while CGA uses Positive Psychology for leadership training.

In Our Faculty

Over the past three summers, 63 faculty members participated in a three-day intensive seminar entitled “Building Strengths and Resilience at Culver.”

"I have been given license to use my strengths, and guidance to use them wisely without exaggeration . . . to attain higher goals." - Culver Academies Leadership Education Instructor

Faculty participants have learned

  • Ways to broaden and build position emotion in themselves and their students
  • Strategies they can use their strengths to be more optimistic and resilient;
  • Relationship-building approaches for building high quality connections at school.

Faculty and staff participants identified their own and student "signature" strengths, such as hope, wisdom, creativity, future mindedness, courage, responsibility and perseverance. They developed strategies to foster a strengths-based approach in the classroom, living unit, visual and performing arts and athletic arenas in the areas of motivation, optimism, resilience and savoring.

By learning about character strengths and ways to build and apply them, teachers can be guided to acknowledge, own, and apply their own strengths, to value their authentic selves, and to increase both their collective and self-efficacy.

In Other Schools & Organizations

The Center for Character Excellence has engaged with a variety of independent schools to assist making their character-based mission come alive. Several schools have sent teams of faculty/administrators for training at Culver, while Center staff has visited a number of schools.

  • Charlotte Country Day School, NC
  • Greensboro Day School, NC
  • Fort Worth Country Day School, TX
  • The Kinkaid School, Houston, TX
  • Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, IN
  • Salpointe Catholic High School, Tucson, AZ
  • The Latin School of Chicago, IL
  • Phillips Exeter Academy, NH
  • Choate-Rosemary Hall School

Center staff has also worked with the National Federation of High School Associations and has presented at the following conferences:

  • National Association of Independent Schools
  • The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS)
  • Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)
  • Centre for Positive Psychology (CAPP), Warwick, UK
  • United States Lacrosse Annual Convention
  • The Lawrenceville School Positive Psychology Conference, NJ
  • The Kincaid School Character Education Conference, TX