The Center for the Advanced Study and Practice of Hope (The Hope Center), aims to provide a space where researchers and community partners can work together to support all individuals through a strengths-based, goal oriented, cognitive-motivational approach. This can be done through studying and practicing hope. Contrary to wishful thinking or general optimism, hope is defined as a teachable set of skills whereby individuals can set specific goals, route pathways toward them, and then agentically progress along those pathways, adjusting when necessary. Although context certainly plays a role in human development (e.g. poverty, discrimination), hope can represent a cognitive tool and resilience mechanism that helps individuals pursue positive development across context.
The Hope Center aims to provide a central location for collaboration among interdisciplinary scholars interested in the advancement of the science of hope. Although research on hope has breadth across many disciplines, depth is lacking. This is unfortunate as hope has the potential to shape life course trajectories and foster resilience. Specifically, the following areas would be well-served for additional research:
- Investigating hope development during early and middle childhood
- Investigating the socialization of hope in families, schools, extracurricular settings (e.g. sports teams) and community organizations (e.g. religious organizations, youth groups)
- Investigating the role and implications of context for hope development
- Investigating barriers to hope among marginalized communities
- Investigating how hope interacts with individual developmental factors such as temperament and personality to affect developmental outcomes.
- Investigating best practice for teaching hope skills across contexts
Translation work and social embeddedness
Although some of the research conducted in conjunction with The Hope Center focuses on basic science, we emphasize the importance of research that can be translated into actionable items that the community can utilize and emphasize. As such, The Hope Center focuses on three main routes of translation: community partners, center-based resources, and academy-community relationships
The Hope Center brings together researchers and practitioners in a collaborative environment to better understand and implement hope. Working in collaboration with a non-profit already serving local, national, and global communities, the Hope Center achieves social embeddedness. The Hope Center is an anchor institution serving the pillars of communities. Student and faculty success is measured both advancing our understanding of hope but also in advancing hope in the community. Students and faculty through advanced independent research provide insights. The non-profit partner then utilizes these insights to better serve communities.The Hope Center actively participates in an innovative knowledge network. Research informs practice and practice provides richer opportunities for research. The Hope Center is a mutually beneficial partnership with both depth and breadth of scholarly and community engagements.