Case Western Reserve University | Groups

Culture of Care


Greek Life at CWRU recently partnered with Refined Character, a consulting organization that specializes in Social Emotional Learning, to create a Culture of Care framework.  Nation wide the Greek community is trying to solve issues of alcohol abuse, hazing, mental health crisis, and sexual assault.  Rather than addressing these separately, this initiative creates a unified way to combat these issues as well as help ensure the well-being of members and organizations.

Foundations of Culture of Care


The culture of care tenets are the seven different components that can be developed on an individual, organization, and community wide level. Each tenet is also bolstered by between two and five different assets. These tenets and assets were informed by the research and theory of the below resources. The culture of care framework is not intended to be an additional program, but rather a lens to see the work you are currently doing, and to add developmental aspects to your current operations and initiatives.


The culture of care assets are primarily based in the work of the Search Institute, which list 40 developmental assets. In order to make this theory applicable to college students, 26 assets were developed, some which are similar, and others which are completely new. Each asset is associated with an overarching tenet, which when developed, helps to enact the overall philosophy of the tenet. 


CASEL is the nation's leading organization advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students. Their mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of education from preschool through high school. Through research, practice and policy, CASEL collaborates to ensure all students become knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of society. The work of CASEL helps inform the structure and content of the culture of care tenets.


For more than 50 years, Search Institute® has been a leader and partner for organizations around the world in discovering what kids need to succeed. Their research, resources, and expertise help our partners in organizations, schools, and community coalitions solve critical challenges in the lives of young people. Search Institute has identified building blocks of healthy development known as Developmental Assets. This structure of asset development has informed the way the tenets are bolstered by the culture of care assets.


Martin Seligman, commonly known as the founder of Positive Psychology, and is a leading authority in the fields of Positive Psychology, resilience, learned helplessness, depression, optimism and pessimism. He is also a recognized authority on interventions that prevent depression, and build strengths and well-being. He has written more than 250 scholarly publications and 20 books. One book that has specifically helped shape the culture of care initiative is Flourish, here is an excerpt from the book.


"The fundamental premise of restorative practices is that people are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them." - The International Institute for Restorative Practices

All of the tenets, but specifically Holding Others and Me Accountable Communicates Genuine Care, are shaped by this idea. The purpose of these tenets are to work with others to bring them back into the organization and not push them away, and to help restore them whole again.

Culture of Care Institute

A Culture of Care Institute is hosted at CWRU each summer. For more information, please visit the Culture of Care Institute Page