The International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) offers members year-round opportunities to learn about the science and application of positive psychology, and to connect with experts in the field. One example is through the Positive Psychology Leader Series program, which features monthly webinars and Q&A with distinguished practitioners and academics.

This month, the Positive Psychology Leader Series is excited to welcome Peggy Kern, Ph.D., who will share insights from his recent summary of two decades of positive psychological research.

Creating Positive Change in Schools and Workplaces Despite Complexity
with Peggy Kern, Ph.D.

Aug 5, 2020, 5:00pm – 6:00pm EST

Abstract: Positive psychology as a discipline has focused primarily on understanding and building individual wellbeing. But the application of positive psychology within schools and organisations brings a number of challenges, which transcend simplistic approaches. It is not only individual wellbeing that matters. We need to consider people within the broader systems in which they exist. Schools and workplaces are dynamic in nature and subject to numerous pressures and competing priorities, which have become even more apparent as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Positive psychology interventions can be helpful, some of the time, for some people, but there is a need to identify and transcend the disabling paradigms that drive our research, practices, and beliefs, moving beyond simplistic interventions and programs to broader awareness and mindful action. Systems-Informed Positive Psychology (SIPP) is an emerging perspective that explicitly expands the focus of positive psychology beyond the individual, incorporating the broader forces and contextual factors that shape and impact individual and collective flourishing. This session will explore SIPP, compare traditional versus systems informed responses to the pandemic, and illustrate key principles for creating positive change within schools and workplaces.

Bio: Dr Peggy Kern is an associate professor at the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education. Originally trained in social, personality, and developmental psychology, Dr Kern received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Arizona State University, a Masters and PhD in social/personality psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania. She received the IPPA Early Career Researcher award in 2017 and is the founder and president of the IPPA education division. Her research is collaborative in nature and draws on a variety of methodologies to examine questions around who thrives in life and why, including understanding and measuring healthy functioning, identifying individual and social factors impacting life trajectories, strategies for creating positive educational communities, and systems informed approaches to wellbeing. She has published 3 books and over 90 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. You can find out more about Dr Kern’s work at


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