Featured Members, Positive Living Newsletter

Featured Member: David Stefan

David Stefan
David Stefan

I have served most of my professional career in higher education administration and instruction and as a therapist. After completing a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Master of Arts in Theology at Asbury Seminary, I continued on with my Ph.D. in Counseling, Education and Program Development at the Union Institute and University. During the first part of my career in higher education, I helped launch a private college in the New York metro region called Pillar College, where I served as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dean of the College and Interim President.

While living in the northeastern United States, I also attended New York University’s documentary film school. After thirteen years in higher education and clinical practice, I formed my own production company (www.openroadproductions.org) and set out on an extended global research expedition; working and living in 20 states and 12 countries on six continents, I fulfilled a vocation exploration and film project called “12 Months to Live.” I asked myself, “What would I do if I had 12 months to live?” as a way of framing my project, and each month for a year I experimented with a new career interest or personal passion. I worked with the United Nations World Food Program in Nepal, walked alone into the Cascade Wilderness of Washington State on a three day/three night vision quest, shot an adventure film while trekking up Everest, worked alongside monks in the Abbey of Gethsemani, and much more.

After completing my circumnavigation of the globe, I rediscovered my calling as an educator, administrator, and therapist. For the past ten years, I have served with Indiana Wesleyan University (www.indwes.edu) as the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and as an Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling overseeing the MA in Psychology program with specializations in Life Coaching and Positive Psychology and Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Within the last five years, I have more recently focused on positive psychology and PP 2.0. Three years ago, I completed another year-long personal research project involving gratitude visits. Each month for the year, I drafted, delivered and read a letter of gratitude to people who have made a significant impact on my life. This has led to a more regular practice of conducting gratitude visits and designing research interests related to higher education, gratitude and grit.

I attended my first INPM conference last fall. As I continue to expand ways that I experience deeper meaning and help others, I’d like to explore options for serving with and contributing to the work of INPM. I plan to also write and research more on topics related to PP 2.0 for my own emotional and personal growth but also for those I work with in life coaching and educational contexts.