WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 27, 2018 — West Liberty University Dean of the School of Professional Studies Dr. Thomas Michaud returned recently from an international conference that looked at the future of civilization.
Michaud prepared two papers for presentation. The first focused on a trending topic in higher education — happiness. “Happiness Lost: The Ravages of Nihilism” was presented in Lublin, Poland to an audience of professors and graduate students from around the world.
According to Michaud, “Happiness Lost” reacts to the most popular course ever offered at Yale that was introduced this past spring called “Psychology and the Good Life.” This class received major news coverage when the New York Times reported on its popularity.
“These types of courses have become popular throughout the USA. They have been labeled as ‘Happiness 101’ courses,” explained Michaud. “I looked at the question: Why are millennials so interested in and so much in need of courses on happiness?”
Michaud presented his second paper in Warsaw, entitled: “Leadership Elitism: Idealism vs. Realism.”
“‘Leadership Elitism’ identifies the different tendencies in idealistic and realistic approaches to leadership in any sort of organization, a company, an institution, a state or nation,” he explained.
Michaud argues that idealistic leadership tends toward an elitism in which leaders emphasize their superiority over their subordinates or followers, while with realism leaders identify with their followers.
Both papers were well received and many comments by audience members focused on the “happiness condition” seen with USA millennials, according to Michaud.
“The principal concern was whether ‘lost happiness’ is related to the mental health issues and substance abuse so prevalent with the millennial generation in the USA,” he said.
Michaud has presented in Europe several times over the years and enjoys the chance to meet and discuss international topics with this audience.
“I have been to Poland many times over the past 15 years and I am consistently impressed by the how congenial the Poles are. They truly like and are very friendly to Americans. I am also impressed by the vital intellectual and philosophical culture at the universities. With this trip there also seemed to be a more positive and hopeful attitude on the part of so many of the people I have known. Europe and the European Economic Union are changing. The impact of Brexit is still strongly felt. Many Poles believe that such changes could be best for Poland,” he noted.
The June 1 – 10 conference included time spent in two major universities: The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, which enrolls about 17,000 students and is a private university, and the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw which enrolls approximately 10,000 students and is a public university.
The title of the main conference in Lublin was XVIIth Annual Congress on the Future of Western Civilization. The Conference theme, Civilization of Freedom or Civilization of Totalitarianism,” was continued for both universities, June 6 in Lublin and June 8 in Warsaw.
Some of the nations and places from which conference participants and attendees originated were: the USA (Arizona, Missouri, Virginia, Washington, Florida and West Virginia), Argentina, Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia and many cities in Poland.
Michaud leads the School of Professional Studies, located at the West Liberty University Highlands Center campus. He teaches leadership, ethics and rhetoric in the Bachelor of Leadership and Administration (BLA) and the Master of Professional Studies-Organizational Leadership (MPS-OL) programs at the Highlands.
Additionally, Michaud has developed the BLA program for students in Weirton and New Martinsville. He has a teaching background in philosophy and earned both his master and doctoral degrees in philosophy at Marquette University in Wisconsin and his undergraduate degree at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution. Today it offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs including master degrees in education, physician assistant studies, biology, professional studies and two online degrees, a master’s in criminology and the MBA.
For more information, please call 1.866.937.8542 (WESTLIB). To reach the Highlands Center, please call 304.217.2800.