Designing a Course for Lifelong, Self-Directed Character Growth


  • Ryan Erbe United States Military Academy
  • Yasmine Konheim-Kalkstein United States Military Academy
  • Ray Fredrick United States Military Academy
  • Elise Dykhuis United States Military Academy
  • Peter Meindl United States Military Academy



Character, Virtue, Character Education, Higher Education


In this paper, we discuss how to create a course that helps students set a foundation for lifelong, self-directed character growth. To this end, we offer a new framework for character change which we call the 3M’s for “mindset” (having a growth mindset for character growth), “motivation” (using psychological needs described in the Self Determination Theory, autonomy, competence, relatedness, and purpose), and “means” (tools for character development). We then give concrete examples of how each component of this framework can be used in a classroom setting to help students develop their character.


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How to Cite

Erbe, R., Konheim-Kalkstein, Y., Fredrick, R., Dykhuis, E., & Meindl, P. (2024). Designing a Course for Lifelong, Self-Directed Character Growth. Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 11(1), 1–11.