6th Annual Conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education:
Intention, Method, and Evaluation
Faculty, staff, and administrators throughout higher education are employing contemplative practices for many reasons. These include sharpening attention; creating environments that enhance the well-being of all; addressing inclusion and access for all in support of the vibrant diversity of our institutions; deepening engagement and learning of subject matter; reflecting on and supporting meaning-making; considering the wider impacts of our actions; and ultimately supporting the development of a more just and compassionate society. Given the breadth and depth of these many intentions, the types of practices used are extremely diverse, and their assessment needs to be approached with great sensitivity. Assessment of practices designed to develop attention, for example, will be different from assessment of those practices designed to increase conceptual understanding or develop compassion and creativity.
Presentations at the 2014 ACMHE Conference will examine many topics relating to contemplative inquiry in higher education, but will emphasize investigations of intention, method, and evaluation. We will also explore the relationship between contemplative education and other approaches that share an emphasis on awareness, experience, inquiry, and transformation (e.g., holistic education, transformative education, feminist pedagogy, critical race theory), as well as the results of evidence-based studies throughout higher education that can challenge and deepen the use of contemplative practices inside and outside the classroom.
Networking and Connecting at the Conference
ACMHE conferences are more than an opportunity to present relevant work and gain insights into current contemplative pedagogy methods and practices–they provide a space for higher education professionals from different regions, disciplines, and offices to meet and connect with one another.
In order to foster these connections, we have introduced Home Groups as a feature of the 2014 ACMHE Conference. On Friday night, at the start of the conference, participants will have the opportunity to meet in a small group arranged by geographic region and talk about their backgrounds, interests, and plans for the conference. Specific times throughout the conference will be designated for Home Groups to reconvene and discuss what they’ve learned and experienced during Parallel Sessions and other conference sessions. We hope that this structure will provide participants with a sense of continuity and connection as they move through the weekend, and also with a means of continuing their connections when they return home.
In addition to the Home Groups, the conference aims to nurture a supportive and lively environment for exchanging ideas through interactive presentations, thematic paper presentations, experiential contemplative practice sessions, panel and plenary presentations, and open, unstructured time for conversation.