Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec, VIA’s Education Director, is author of several books including: Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing (with 10-track CD), and co-author of Positive Psychology at the Movies; and Movies and Mental Illness. Ryan is a licensed psychologist, certified coach, international workshop leader, and is adjunct faculty or professor at the following universities: Xavier University (Cincinnati), University of Pennsylvania, IE University in Madrid.
Ryan develops VIA’s courses, reports, and programs and applies strengths as the centerpiece of Character Strengths Coaching. At VIA, he helps professionals in counseling, coaching, business, disability, and education around the world apply character strengths, personally and professionally in their work. He has published around 50 peer-reviewed or invited articles on character strengths, mindfulness, and related topics.
Over the last 15 years, Ryan has led hundreds of mindfulness groups for various audiences and delivers keynotes, retreats, and workshops on character strengths and mindfulness. He created Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), the first, structured program for building character strengths. This program is offered online by the VIA Institute. Ryan adapted MBSP for a track on the web/app-based platform Happify, called “Awaken Your Potential.”
In 2011, Ryan received the Distinguished Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association. In 2014, he delivered over 100 presentations on character strengths. In 2015, he presented a national workshop tour on MBSP across Australia, at universities in Iceland and Spain, a keynote address for the New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology, and the Rex J. Lipman Fellow address at St. Peter’s College in Adelaide. In 2017, he was honored with an induction into the elite class of Fellows in the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), for his work contributing to the scientific advancement of knowledge in character strengths, mindfulness, positive media/movies, and positive interventions.
On a personal level, Ryan’s signature strengths are hope, love, curiosity, fairness, honesty, perspective, and appreciation of beauty. He enjoys spending quality time with his wife and children, playing basketball, watching positive psychology movies, following Michigan State athletics, playing online chess, and collecting Pez dispensers.