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Dinnocenti makes positivity a priority

Staff Reporter

Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2012 14:05

Prof. Susan Dinnocenti brings positivity to her students in any way she can.

The Spectrum/Dana Maltese

Prof. Susan Dinnocenti brings positivity to her students in any way she can.

    Being happy. It sounds easy, right?         For graduate professor Susan Dinnocenti, she’s got it down to a science.

    Many students view attending a colloquia series as a chore, but that will not be the case with Dinnocenti’s presentation.         Her “10 Ways to Flourish” offers advice for any college student who is on the pursuit of happiness.

    Raised just outside Philadelphia, Dinnocenti started her college career as a business major working managing information systems.

    However, after working in business for six years, she decided she wanted a future in education.  
    She attended Chestnut Hill College and received her masters in education.         With this, Dinnocenti wanted to focus her time on treating high ability students.         With this interest the Sacred Heart University community welcomed her in 2007 as a graduate professor.

    Dinnocenti then began the positive psychology class at Sacred Heart.

    “It’s a lecture class that is based off the colloquia many students attend,” Dinnocenti said.

    “Many of the colloquia’s are about depressing topics like death and dying. But, with the ‘being happy’ colloquia, students embrace the strategies.”
    Dinnocenti has held her colloquia three times while at Sacred Heart, and attendance is typically very high.

    While attending colloquia’s is not always a well-received assignment by Sacred Heart students, Dinnocenti hears positive feedback from students that attend her colloquia.

    She tells the students to ask themselves every night, “what went well, and why?”

    “It is an important way to start and end each day,” Dinnocenti said.

    Dinnocenti also teaches education in a seminar class on positive psychology.

    “Positive psychology premises itself on what is right in your life,” she said.         “What do people who are thriving in your life do differently that we as a community should model?”

    The meaning and purpose of life is addressed in Dinnocenti’s colloquia.

    “PERMA, meaning pleasure, engagement, relationships, meaning and purpose, and accomplishments, is the basis of what I teach in the colloquia,” said Dinnocenti.     
    By thinking positively, Dinnocenti says it only helps to amplify and highlight a person’s strengths.

    “I really believe that thinking positively makes change happen,” she said. “The biggest claim to achieving success is knowing what is right in your life.”

    She expresses that positive psychology is found by forgiving someone, writing a letter of gratitude, or doing a kind deed. She describes that there is no room to get caught up in a dysfunctional pattern.

    “I believe in everyone’s potential,” Dinnocenti said. “I believe we have music to sing and we need a platform to sing it.”

     With her class and colloquia, Dinnocenti opens a platform for Sacred Heart students.

    “Passion makes people find their potential,” she said. “And hopefully my passion ignites some potential in my students.”      

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