Center for Meaning and Purpose logo


The Center for Meaning and Purpose (CM+P) was founded by Dr. Michael F. Steger to advance the science and application of meaning and purpose in life in order to improve people’s physical, psychological, social, and communal wellbeing. Living a meaningful life is a fundamental cornerstone of wellbeing, with thousands of empirical research studies highlighting the potential benefits. CM+P works toward turning the promise of research into the reality of better, more fulfilling lives both locally and around the world.

Since its inception, CM+P has provided financial underwriting and sponsorship to academic conferences focusing on meaning in life, positive psychology, and wellbeing around the world. We have funded graduate student research on meaning and purpose, and we have funded graduate students to present their research at conferences. CM+P faculty have provided free workshops and presentations to the Northern Colorado community on wellbeing, healthy aging, happiness, resilience, and, of course, meaning and purpose in life. CM+P also has brought internationally renowned speakers to CSU and is continually seeking ways to support work on meaning and purpose in life as well as sharing the knowledge gained through research with local and global audiences.

One primary way for CM+P to share knowledge is through a core set of courses on positive psychology, positive organizational scholarship, leadership, meaningful work, and other topics. These courses are conducted through CSU Online and are open to anyone. Currently, CM+P is pushing toward the creation of a Certificate of Applied Positive Psychology, and eventually a Master’s degree in positive psychology.


The purpose of the Center for Meaning and Purpose is to become a leading resource locally and globally through development as an active multidisciplinary organization for acquiring, creating, and disseminating knowledge about the factors that enable people, organizations, and societies to create meaning, well-being, positive health, and quality of life.

Supported Activities:

The Center for Meaning and Purpose (CM+P) supports a range of activities that are consistent with its purpose, in three domains. CM+P supports the pursuit of research funding and the execution of research. CM+P supports the teaching of courses in the general areas of meaning, purpose, positive psychology, and well-being. CM+P supports service both locally and globally through the provision of conferences, seminars, symposia, workshops, lectures, classes, and resources to a range of partners. In addition to these three domains, CM+P supports the professional development of its affiliated faculty, students, and staff, including attendance at conferences and lectures, acquisition of training in research, application, or dissemination, and meetings with potential partners or mentor organizations that may expand the capabilities or reach of CM+P

In a Nutshell:

Our goal is to provide an ever-expanding variety of opportunities for you to learn about the scientific study of positive psychology, to implement skills and strategies that promote a greater sense of meaning and fulfillment, and to connect with others who are also interested in learning about/exploring/cultivating a meaningful life.

One way in which CM+P works to fulfill its mission is through creating and providing advanced coursework in meaning, purpose, and positive psychology. We currently offer several courses that will soon be integrated into a graduate Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology through Colorado State University. We are also working toward creating a Master’s degree program in Positive Psychology, so stay tuned!

We offer several courses through CSU Online. Each course is designed and created by a leader in the field, someone who has conducted foundational research in an area or who has worked professionally to gain expertise. Because of our partnership with CSU Online, each course is subjected to formal Quality Assurance evaluation and provides graduate-level credit at Colorado State University, with the exception of PSY300, which provides undergraduate credit for general requirements at CSU.

PSY 300 – Introduction to Positive Psychology

PSY 500 – Advanced Introduction to Positive Psychology

PSY 624 – Positive Career Counseling and Coaching

PSY 625 – Positive Organizations and Leadership

We are currently at work to develop future course additions, including Meaningful Work and Calling, Positive Psychotherapy, Positive Sports Psychology, and Positive Education!

Our affiliated faculty come from colleges and departments across CSU, including Natural Sciences, Business, Health and Human Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, and Liberal Arts

Michael F. Steger, PhDImage of Mike Steger
CM+P Director
Department: Psychology
College of Natural Sciences



Bryan J. Dik, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Department: Psychology
College of Natural Sciences

Zachary Johnson, MLA, PLA, CLP, CLT
Senior Research Scientist
Department: Horticulture and Landscape Architecture
College of Agricultural Sciences

Lumina Albert, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department: Management
College of Business

Aaron Eakman, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department: Occupational Therapy
College of Health and Human Sciences

Ray Black, Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department: Ethnic Studies
College of Liberal Arts

Zach Mercurio, Ph.D.Image of Zach Mercurio
Senior Honorary Fellow
Purposeful Leadership and Positive Organizational Development Consultant, Author
Instructor, Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change
School of Education



Michele Faris, Psy.D.
Senior Honorary Fellow
Senior Staff Psychologist
CSU Health Network

Image of Sara LoTemplio Ph.D.Sara LoTemplio Ph.D.
Research Scientist
Department: Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
Warner College of Natural Resources

Dr. Steger and other CM+P faculty and affiliated students are available to provide talks, workshops, and other presentations. To inquire about Dr. Steger’s availability you may contact him directly at For general inquiries or for other faculty, please contact

The Center for Meaning and Purpose is currently looking for significant and sustained partnership to help us expand the scope of the services we are able to offer our local and global community. We would love to conduct and support cutting edge research on meaning, purpose, and flourishing, and we would love to be able to provide more teaching, lectures, trainings, and workshops in Fort Collins and around the world. We are also interested in training graduate students to be future leaders in the science of a life worth living. If you, your foundation, or your organization would be interested in supporting CM+P in expanding our positive impact on the world, please contact