Mindful Managing Class Created by U Students to be Taught Fall 2022


Claire Peterson

(Design by Claire Peterson | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Isaac Dunaway, Sports Writer


A business class created by a group of University of Utah students has been approved and will be taught in Fall 2022. 

MGT 5850, or Mindful Managing and Workplace Management, will be taught by Georgi Ann Rausch, who is currently writing a book about mindfulness. Mindfulness refers to the human ability to be fully present, according to mindful.org. The course was created by U students Matt Wilcox, Nefi Gamez, Trey Provost, Gino Bastone, Nathan Glauser and Nicolas Dishner.

“Spring of 2021, I did the Transfer Scholars Program … we had to pitch an idea to the business school that hopefully the business school would implement,” said Wilcox, who graduated in Spring 2022. “I read about the happiness lab at Yale University, the class that teaches all about happiness. So my original thought was, ‘Well, what if we almost copied that idea and had a happiness class at the University of Utah or even as a business school?’”

The Science of Well-Being, the Yale course mentioned by Wilcox, was started in 2018 by a professor who noticed the severity of mental health problems her students experienced, according to CNN. The course aims to help students understand happiness in a less superficial light.

The learning objectives of the course are: to understand and connect mindfulness to leadership, to discover techniques to manage stress and anxiety from a management perspective, to tactfully approach varied circumstances in real time, to learn the difference between emotional and strategic decision-making, to apply the benefits of mindfulness, gratitude and leadership and to increase mindful communication skills.

“We are going to talk about mindfulness practices on the individual level and then we’re going to talk about interpersonal mindfulness practices that you can use as a manager in business,” Rausch said. “And then we’re also going to talk about how we could structurally create organizations that require wellness and employee health.”

The course will help students cultivate awareness, encourage connection, effectively navigate through pressure, manage stress, build resiliency and promote happier and healthier environments.

As a faculty member in the department of management, Rausch is interested in mindfulness. 

“I’ve been incorporating mindfulness practices in my other classes for several years now … I’ve also been teaching Management 5600, which is Business Ethics — that’s a class that Matt [Wilcox] took,” Rausch said. “Matt really enjoyed the curriculum that was part of my ethics class. … He said to me ‘You know, I think there should be a whole class on this topic.’”

Rausch responded that Wilcox’s idea was wonderful. Then, the team of students got together to work with Rausch to create a proposal for mindfulness to compose an entire course.

The benefits of mindfulness can apply to health, happiness and performance. Mindfulness can also help with mental health struggles such as stress, anxiety and depression.

“The main thing is to help students be mentally prepared to enter the workforce and have a stronger mental understanding of what it takes to take on a management role and get in tune with their emotions,” Wilcox said.

Mindful Managing and Workforce Management is an upper division management class. It can be taken by management majors and is also available to graduate students.

The management department gained a new department chair, Glen Kreiner, in the summer of 2021. Kreiner happened to be a mindfulness researcher.

“[The class] was in the works for a couple of years,” Rausch said. “Matt [Wilcox] had been really persistent … Glen also was very excited about the idea of doing this class. So the timing was really good for all of us that Glen became chair and he has been very supportive of me and of this class.”

The new class is also a special topics course. If it is able to maintain its enrollment, then it is expected to be available in the future as well.

“The cap is 40 [students] right now and there are already 31 people enrolled,” Rausch said.

According to a survey conducted by the group of students who created the course, 66% of students have endured mental health issues, 53.6% are not aware of the business school’s mental health resources and 72% would enroll in a mindfulness elective.

For more information on the David Eccles School of Business, students can visit their website at eccles.utah.edu. A full listing of the business classes offered for Fall 2022 can be found on the main campus class schedule.

If a student is struggling with mental health issues, they can go to the University Counseling Center or the Huntsman Mental Health Institute, among other resources.


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