27 Jan 2018

From Yale, the Painfully Embarrassing and Appalling News Keeps on a-Coming

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Current Head of Silliman College: Laurie Santos, Harvard ’97 A.B psychology & biology, ’03 Ph.D. psychology.

The new all-time record enrollment Yale course is a 1200-student T-group taught by Yale’s own equivalent of Oprah, the new “Head” of Silliman College, appointed right after all the Snowflakes-of-Color chased Nicholas Christakis and his wife Erika off-campus and right out of town for the hideous thought-crime of defending free Halloween costume expression (!).


On Jan. 12, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, “Psychology and the Good Life,” roughly 300 people had signed up. Within three days, the figure had more than doubled. After three more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled.

The course, taught by Prof. Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview.

“With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

Dr. Santos speculated that Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what she called “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time at the school. …

Students have long requested that Yale offer a course on positive psychology, according to Prof. Woo-Kyoung Ahn, director of undergraduate studies in psychology, who said she was “blown away” by Dr. Santos’s proposal for the class.

Administrators like Dr. Ahn expected significant enrollment for the class, but none anticipated it to be quite so large. “Psychology and the Good Life,” with 1,182 undergraduates currently enrolled, stands as the most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history. The previous record-holder — “Psychology and the Law”— was offered in 1992 and had about 1,050 students, according to Prof. Marvin Chun, the Yale College dean. Most large lectures at Yale don’t exceed 600.

Offering such a large class has come with challenges, from assembling lecture halls to hiring the 24 teaching fellows required. Because the psychology department lacked the resources to staff it fully, the fellows had to be drawn from places like Yale’s School of Public Health and law school. And with so many undergraduates enrolled in a single lecture, Yale’s hundreds of other classes — particularly those that conflict with Dr. Santos’s — may have seen decreased enrollment.

At the start of the semester the class was divided between a live lecture in 844-seat Battell Chapel, a historic place of worship on campus, converted to a lecture hall, and one or two smaller auditoriums where several hundred more students watched a live stream of Dr. Santos. After several weeks, the decision was made to move the lectures to Woolsey Hall, usually the site of events like symphony performances, which can accommodate the entire class.

RTWT and weep.

In the old days, the huge draw classes were things like Vince Scully’s History of Architecture and the draw factor was simply the sheer brilliance and encyclopedic knowledge of the lecturer. Rather than lining up in droves for tea and sympathy and advice on finding happiness, the Yalies of my day would have laughed Laurie Santos right off the stage.

9 Feedbacks on "From Yale, the Painfully Embarrassing and Appalling News Keeps on a-Coming"

Dick the Butcher

I suppose that a course in “Don’t worry. Be happy.” is preferable to the typical humanities hogwash for credit which could be subtitled, “Why I Hate America And Western Civilization.” But, not much preferable.

Seattle Sam

But when we were there the purpose was to become educated about things you couldn’t glean from daytime TV shows. Today, it’s to validate your feelings by avoiding challenging topics.


“the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.”
Say no more.

margot darby

In my day we didn’t have mental illness. If we had problems, we soldiered on through and didn’t tell anyone. This system worked for generations.

bob sykes

I have reached the point where I believe that America and its people must be destroyed.


Bob Sykes,

Start with Yale, Harvard and Brown. Then stop for a minute or two to see if there is any improvement. Then take out Sacramento and San Francisco. Then Chicago and New York. Then…

Soren K

I think I saw the preview for this course in the mid ’80s. “Don’t worry about it. Let it go. Try Smiling”. The wisdom of Michael Harris on The Newhart Show. Yesterday’s mocking satire has become the snowflake mantra.

Steve Gregg

Unfortunately, the plebe American History course at West Point has been transformed into what the cadets call the “I Hate America” course about how America is built on racism and oppression. So, the rot is deep.

Linda Fox

Keep in mind that choosing this class is, in fact, a positive thing. The students, I think correctly, realize that their lack of core philosophical/religious underpinnings is a severe handicap to life, and will likely make any academic or career success meaningless.

In prior generations, the students might have tried joining or exploring organized/semi-organized religions. That this class is needed is a clear indicator that religions have failed them.

Are you truly surprised that students, many of them off-loaded on other, paid child care workers, might want to learn how to truly love themselves and others? Is it a surprise that people so stressed by the need to be #1 at all things might look for validation of themselves when they are NOT the best?


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