10th Annual ACMHE Conference

October 4-7, 2018 | UMass Amherst Campus Center | Amherst, MA

Last updated: September 18, 2018

Thursday, October 4

9:30 am Pre-Conference Check-in and On-site Registration
Amherst Room Foyer, UMass Campus Center
10:00 am – 12:00 pm Pre-Conference Retreat, Part 1
with Kamilah Majied
Amherst Room, UMass Campus Center
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch
Boxed lunches in Amherst Room Foyer
1:00 – 4:00 pm Pre-Conference Retreat, Part 2
with Kamilah Majied
Amherst Room, UMass Campus Center
4:00 – 6:00 pm General Conference Check-in and Reception
CCA (Campus Center Auditorium) and CCA Foyer

Friday, October 5

9:00 – 9:30 am Registration and Check-in
Coffee, tea, and snacks available.
CCA (Campus Center Auditorium)
9:30 am – 10:00 am Conference Opening
with remarks from UMass and CMind representatives
CCA
10:00 – 10:30 am Break
10:30 – 11:30 am Parallel Session I
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session I

The Impact of Contemplative Practice in a Service Learning Classroom: Bridging Social Identities and Community
Three undergraduate students will explore how contemplative practice influenced our learning during and after a two semester residential academic program for first year students called Impact. Throughout this course contemplative practice gave a more compassionate understanding of self and others while exploring social justice theory. With this knowledge of self in relationship to the world, we deepened our commitment to our service in local community organizations; integrating head, heart, and hand. Contemplative pedagogy influenced each of us in different ways in our first year and continues to have varying effects on us as students in higher education and beyond. In this session we will share our personal stories and a practice that impacted each of us most.
Bryn Hennigar, Caleb Askew


Contemplative practices for environmental justice education
In times of injustice such as these, contemplative practices build a foundation for students to engage in work for social action, environmental justice and equity. Through contemplative practices such as starting classes with a centering activity, integrating nature-based contemplative exercises, and reflective writing we are working to cultivate a culture of compassion and connection in our courses and departments so that students may be more prepared to engage as active citizens in the challenges of advocating for environmental and social justice.

We will share some of the practices that we have used to activate compassion and empathy in engaging students in conversation about privilege, power, and resilience. This critical contemplative framework can be applied across disciplines in higher education, as well as in academic advising and community engaged service-learning projects around environmental and social change.
Sarah Berquist, Lena Fletcher


Tamalpa Life/Art Process to Teach Public Health
Introduce the Tamalpa Life/Art Process as a set contemplative practices implemented at San Francisco State University over the last eight years (2009-2017) to teach in the Masters in Public Health Program. Describe activities and assignments addressing five themes:

1) experience as a resource; 2) language, power & privilege; 3) collaborative leadership 4) community building; and 5) cross-cultural transformative learning. Demonstrate how the Tamalpa Life/Art Process creates community, connection, and solidarity across differences by pluralizing the personal story for community resonance. Offer a set of recommendations for sustainability including re-examining Western epistemologies and affirming the value of subjective experience.

Learning Outcomes: • Discuss movement-based expressive arts to teach health to multicultural, multilingual, digital students. • Define embodied/somatic practices as essential components of contemplative pedagogy.
Vivian Chavez


Reflective Learning Techniques to Address Power Dynamics in the Classroom
Most students expect instructors to be a source of knowledge, an authority, and a model for respectful communication. Yet when we ask questions of the students we are often met with blank stares, or faces down toward cellphones, and the same few students who engage. Many students do not want to feel personally challenged by authority. They do not want to risk being judged or feel vulnerable. The power dynamic in the university classroom is often in the way of interaction, especially around sensitive topics. Unstructured small group discussions may help, but they don’t give students new ways of knowing and relating. In this session participants will engage in mindfulness practices and peer-to-peer reflective interaction techniques that have increased student confidence, genuine curiosity, respect for diversity, and opened sensitive dialogue with the instructor. The work is based on 10 years of research with students and applied with success by faculty members from different disciplines.
David Sable


Lectio Divina in Cultural Competency Classrooms: Selecting and Reading Texts
In recent years, ‘lectio divina’, has reemerged from religious spaces, and has been secularized and adapted for use in humanities classrooms (Keator 29-34). Teaching in a first-year composition (FYC) classroom focused on cultural competencies since 2009, my adaption of this literacy technique, from my encounter with it during my seminary education, helps students move beyond initial anger or fear-based reactions to cultural competency subjects such as gender, race, and sexual orientation. Works Cited Keator, Mary. Lectio Divina as Contemplative Pedagogy: Re-appropriating monastic practice for the Humanities. Routledge, 2018.
Rachael Tanner


A Journey on Becoming a Change Agent in Academia: Leaning Into Our Discomfort and Withdrawing Our Commitment from Oppressive Spaces
Transformative conversations about power and oppression require an honest examination of the structures that replicate oppression. “To be an equitable (academic institution), you have to look deep within your processes and motivations; otherwise you are just counting the same numbers” (Flores, 2018). Strategic plans of institutions are committed to data and outcomes yet often fail to make the connections that continue to replicate the exclusion and marginalization of certain groups. Creating a “just”, or equitable institution cannot be limited to an intellectual exercise, but must include deep reflection and a willingness to be uncomfortable in order to liberate and heal ourselves from the structures we have consciously or unconsciously internalized. Using contemplative practices, we will unpack questions like: what does your own power and privilege look like? In what ways are you a gatekeeper? How do you fully advocate for others and what does that look like on a daily basis?
Monika Son


Peace Notes: An App for Conflict Resolution
I am currently developing the mobile application “Peace Notes” as a way to employ emerging communication technologies in a mindful process that does more than communicate information, but that facilitates difficult conversations. The app, inspired by Thich Nhat Hahn’s The Art of Communicating guides the practitioner through a process that lays the groundwork for a valuable and respectful interaction with another where there is currently struggle or tension. As Beth Berila recommends in Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education, “these fraught moments are when our capacity for such dialogue so often fails us . . . are precisely the moments when we need to learn better ways of being with one another” (1). Peace Notes creates an inclusive, compassionate foundation as the basis from which we communicate with those who do not share our point of view or those with whom we want to cultivate a healthier relationship.
Aimée Knight


Embodying Racial Awareness for Social Transformation: Compassionately Educating Students About Race and Racism
In oppressive contexts like racism, it is very difficult to talk constructively about race due to the range of emotions that get activated. Contemplative practices can not only relax these emotions but listen to the deep wisdom within them that enables constructive conversations about race. I have co-created a program of racial awareness and embodiment that integrates critical race and racial formation theories with a contemplative practice known as the Compassion Practice that cultivates the skills necessary to engage in deep, meaningful, and authentic conversations about race and racism. This program is comprised of two main movements; (1) compassionately understanding and embodying our racialized self, (2) engaging in grounded conversations about race and racism to empower communities toward social transformation. This session focuses on a qualitative study with a group of undergraduates evaluating the program’s effectiveness. It will conclude with a contemplative practice from our program and a Q&A.
Seth Schoen

11:30 – 12:00 pm Break
12:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch Buffet (included with registration)
CCA
1:00 – 2:00 pm Poster Session
Posters to be set up before or during lunch, and may be left on display until 4pm.
CCA
2:00 – 2:30 pm Break
2:30 – 3:30 pm Parallel Session II
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session II

Engaging Faux Contemplation in the Classroom
My elite, privileged students have regularly acknowledged that my courses are emotionally difficult because our studies in 21st century African fiction,for example, often involve works with retrospective engagement in the civil wars or genocide immediately following the announcement of independence in the 1960s. It is no longer good enough to offer contemplative practices for helping students manage the pain of such encounters. This year a group of students rigorously and verbally insisted that I was irresponsibly, ghoulishly shattering their serenity and peace. The “representative” works I chose, such as Adichie’s Biafran War novel, must be illegitimate, non-representative texts even though the course focus was not on suffering-as-end, but on the indomitability of the human spirit. The students rejected the shattering of their insulated, ahistorical contentment. The African nationals in the class had radically different takes. We will have to take on now contemplation and suffering as course subject matter.
Sr. Linda Susan Beard


Creating Connection through Reflection: Cognitively-Based Compassion Training
This session will introduce Cognitively-Based Compassion Training, a research-based system of contemplative exercises designed to expand and strengthen compassion for self and others. Practices include training in attentional stability and increased emotional awareness, as well as targeted analytical reflections to better understand one’s relationship with self and others. These reflective exercises support critical insight into the way mindsets and attitudes can be modified to foster an inclusive and more accurate understanding of others, and ultimately, to intensify altruistic motivation. Based on techniques from the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist lojong tradition, CBCT® is a secular method that is supportive of any faith or belief system that values compassion. Participants will experience both typical CBCT® pedagogical methodology as well as a specific contemplative practice (i.e. guided meditation) focused on developing appreciation and affection for others through recognition of our interconnectedness.
Carol Beck


Animation; a Contemplative Media of Communication and Socioemotional Learning
Animation can be a contemplative media for personal growth and creative learning trough visual storytelling. From a holistic perspective, as audiovisual artists and educators, we observe that linking emotional intelligence, neuroscience and animation in education, a conscious and deeper learning happens more fluently from creativity, influencing the brain neuroplasticity and favoring the change towards well-being. Animation is an innovative approach for the new generations to improve communication as it contributes in the framework of human relations, where creating goes beyond the production of artistic objects to the construction of deep human meanings. The creative process of a film is a reflection of life, the externalization of our mental movies based on experiences, real or fantasies; where the student learns to be the observer and critical thinker to look for solutions. Animation is a social emotional learning tool to cultivate empathy and connection, as our inner wisdom.
Inma Carpe


What’s Love Got to Do With It?: Contemplative Practice for Social Justice
We are living in trying times. Those of us in the Courage of Care Coalition firmly believe we have the capacity to respond to the enormous social, economic and environmental challenges before us from a radical stance of love and compassion. Many great teachers have pointed to the importance of deep spiritual work for sustainable social change. If we do not cultivate our capacity for care, we may end up recreating the very structures of oppression we wish to dismantle. Similarly, without a critical systems lens, spiritual practitioners may also recreate patterns of violence and othering that inhibit liberation. Our mission is to empower both personal and social transformation by providing deep contemplative training coupled with powerful tools for systemic change.

In this session participants will engage with our blueprint for transformation—Envision, Love, See, Heal and Act—through discussion, reflection and contemplative practices that are central to our work.
Veta Goler, Kelly Moore


Combating Scarcity Consciousness in Embattled Institutions
Institutions of higher education in the United States are facing multiple crises: of resources, of reputation, of identity. Time and money are in ever shorter supply, while demands for deliverables, metrics, and productivity measures put spiraling pressures on faculty and staff to do more with less. Understandably, our institutions are plagued by what some contemplative practitioners refer to as “scarcity consciousness”–a tendency to focus attention on what is lacking or diminishing in any given situation. Scarcity consciousness makes us compete when we could collaborate, hoard when we could share, and isolate when we could communicate, advocate, and support each other. In this session we’ll explore practical techniques for disrupting scarcity consciousness, fostering hope, and freeing up our capacity for creative problem-solving and collective action.
Jody Greene


Mindful Methodologies: Lessons Learned from Liberation School
The Liberatory Leadership Project, a collaborative effort spearheaded by a multiracial team of healing justice specialists, has designed a Liberation School to support activists in building social change movements, spiritual communities, and organizational development. In September 2017, a group of 25 activists from around the world began a 9-month “holistic leadership school.” This inaugural group brought together a multiracial, intergenerational, mostly queer- and people of color-identified cohort focused on mentorship, practice, mindfulness, skills building, and embodied healing. Committed to providing evidence-based services to participants, Liberation School faculty approached a team of participatory action researchers to help conduct a mixed methods program assessment and generate research about the impact of holistic care, contemplative and embodied practices connected to mindfulness, and other spiritual and healing practices on the wellbeing of activists experiencing stress and burn-out. This workshop will present the research team’s early data and experiences, offering a framework of community and connection that has emerged in a group of activists through centering mindfulness practices and healing justice tools for self-care and community outreach. The connection between activist and academic communities will be examined, including analysis of the ways that mindful methodologies can impact researchers’ ability to assess the role of power and privilege throughout the research process.
Melissa Jean


Garnering Institutional Acceptance for Contemplative Practices: Bridging & Framing Methods
Although contemplative practices are being infused in academic institutions nationwide, many practitioners struggle to promote the educational efficacy of contemplative practices and garner institutional acceptance for their work. This session will explore how the strategic advocacy work of ‘bridging and framing’ can foster changes in perception that reduce institutional barriers and increase acceptance of contemplative practices. We will discuss how to effectively bridge and frame the use of contemplative practices in ways that foster (1) perceived value, (2) potential utility, (3) pedagogical relevance, and (4) institutional advancement in relation to institutional context and culture. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on their institutional challenges, collaborate in designing strategic bridging and framing approaches, and discuss practical applications at their institutions. Participants will also receive a bridging and framing chart to support the further development of their efforts.
Lisa Napora


Compassionate Classrooms: Contemplative Pedagogy for Inclusiveness and Interdependence in Learning
This session explores how contemplative pedagogy assists in creation of inclusive, compassionate classrooms, by inviting all students to engage actively with course activities, assignments, and interactions in/out of class. Co-presenters include the facilitator and one of 17 participants in the UVA Contemplative Faculty Learning Community. Attendees will participate in contemplative/reflective activities used in our classes to build more-inclusive classrooms, through cultivation of compassion, groundedness and interdependence among students. We’ll include brief framing of learning goals for each practice and will conclude with discussion of student learning gains and evidence of establishment of more-inclusive classroom environment (e.g., pre-/post- and mid-course evaluative surveys), followed by Q&A. Participants will leave with a group of contemplative activities and resources that they can implement within their own course(s), and greater understanding of contemplative pedagogy in action.
Juliet Trail, Mieko Kawai

3:30 – 4:00 pm Break with coffee, tea, and light snacks
CCA
4:00 – 5:00 pm Parallel Session III
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session III

When Community is Practice: Building a Contemplative Campus Community
In 2017, the Community College of Baltimore County began a journey toward reimagining the value of community and self-care through contemplative practices. As a group, we not only focused on our personal needs as faculty members, we also investigated food insecurities and the college student community, utilization of spaces on campuses for silence and contemplative practice, and creating student-focused contemplative campus communities. Our presentation, including experiences from English, Business, and Sociology faculty members, will speak to the value of creating contemplative communities of faculty and staff where they develop a “tool school” of practices to support a more balanced way of teaching, learning, and living. The importance of off-campus contemplative retreats, what happens when social justice becomes practice, and how practice informs relationships to our immediate campus communities will be shared
Stephanie Briggs, Sara Leu, Ann Merck MacLellan


Deepening Cross-Racial Dialogue Using Contemplative Practices
Many of us desire authentic, meaningful cross-race conversations, but are often face barriers and disappointment. Often in cross-racial dialogues and interactions, the ways that we have been socialized and dehumanized by systems of oppression are present in our attempts to build bridges and connections. These patterns can breed mistrust, a lack of empathy and compassion, fear, and shame in groups that are marginalized and privileged by systems of oppression. This session will explore the systemic power dynamics that are in place in cross-racial social and professional relationships and how we can use contemplative practices to begin, deepen and remain in cross-racial conversations and collaborations.
Tanya Williams, Diane Goodman


Black Music in the Academy: Jazz, Contemplation and Action
While jazz has long occupied a marginalized place in music studies, the art form may be a rich source of contributions to contemplative-based educational and societal reform. This talk launches its exploration of these points with a look at jazz’s robust improvisatory thrust as catalyst for transformed consciousness and why this may have inspired a rich legacy of leading artists, including Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock, to engage with meditation and related practices to further cultivate this experience. Moreover, the improvisation-contemplation interplay need not be confined to music, but can be seen to inform much work across educational disciplines as well as activism. I explore within this connection new conceptions of rigor, integrative pedagogy, critical thinking, and a spirituality that transcends yet is compatible with traditional conceptions. Therefore, “Black Music Matters,” to invoke the title of my forthcoming book, not only because of the seminal place of African American music in American culture but also its broader transformative tools in a world in urgent need of such.
Ed Sarath


Aikido as a Contemplative Practice: Cautionary Reflections
Aikido inhabits the movement branch of the Tree of Contemplative Practices. This session will start with a brief introduction to the religious philosophy of Aikido, with emphasis on the ethic of interdependence embodied in the techniques. Session participants will then (slowly) practice one or two basic Aikido techniques, as well as (gently!) the destructive combat techniques from which they are derived. This experience is meant to help participants viscerally grasp the possibilities for moral and spiritual learning that Aikido makes possible. We will then turn to the question how countervailing forces can undermine contemplative practice. To start, the session leader will offer reflections on psychological propensities and cultural currents that have co-opted the contemplative dimensions of Aikido. There will follow a group discussion of obstacles arising from institutional incentive systems. The goal is to enrich our understanding of impediments to the cultivation of contemplative mind in higher education.
Charles Wright


Openings: Making Space for Contemplative and Collaborative Encounters in College
This workshop will explore ways to humanize living and learning in college by departing from the routine formats that we often find ourselves locked into, and by opening spaces for contemplative and collaborative encounters in the classroom and across campus. How can we – students, faculty, and staff – change the default settings of our bodies, of our minds, and especially of our physical and social environment to engage more deeply with course materials, with ourselves, and with each other? How can we connect and collaborate with people on campus whom we tend to overlook when we think of our colleagues? How can we invite people and issues that are usually marginalized into the center of our spaces? How can we integrate contemplative, critical, creative, and compassionate modes of inquiry? And how can we cultivate an ecology of mindful practice not only in the classroom and on campus, but also in a session at an academic conference – right here, right now?
Ferdinand von Muench


Reading and Writing Beyond Third-Person Enquiry
Contemplative practice offers radical self care in a turbulent world, but it does so much more. Most students and faculty frame academic work as a conceptually-privileged domain, where third-person enquiry results in meaning making mediated and communicated through language. One of the benefits of some contemplative practices is that practitioners are able to dissolve the primacy of conceptual mind and find new insight, inspiration, and connection through non-conceptual awareness. Such insights can be deeply beneficial to scholarly work at all levels, from first-year seminars on up. In this interactive experiential session, we will explore conceptual and non-conceptual ways of working with a text. Using an exercise that is appropriate for any course that assigns reading and writing, we will engage multiple modes of enquiry. Through creative play, free writing, somatic awareness, close reading, and contemplative meditation, we will invite an interplay between conceptual and non-conceptual ways of knowing.
Cynthia Drake


Being Digital Citizens: Mindful Media from Tweets to Big Data
This session demonstrates lessons developed in my Contemplative Media Studies seminars. One uses letter-writing and found-poetry to consider the impact of social media on interpersonal relationships. Another examines the relationship between natural and digital environments, asking how engagement with nature strengthens our capacity for compassion in a 24/7 news cycle. Both exercises ask how we can better integrate different, and often fragmented, dimensions of contemporary life: the analogue and the digital, the local and the global, the personal and the political. The goal is to cultivate a positive, yet critically-minded attitude among students/participants as media consumers and producers. I aim to demonstrate these exercises so participants can adapt them in their own research and/or pedagogy. Session participants will be invited to participate in scaled-down versions of the exercises, including the collaborative creation of found poetry, nature photography, and/or story-maps.
Kevin Healey


Contemplative Practice and Social Justice: Nonjudgment as the Basis for Effective Social Action
Many have expressed concerns about teaching contemplative practices to members of marginalized groups or to social change workers because of the threat of what is referred to as “spiritual bypassing” – a term first coined by psychologist and Buddhist practitioner John Welwood in 1984 – which refers to the use of spirituality to avoid dealing with harsh social realities like privilege and oppression. I will argue that this is partially due to the misrepresentation of spiritual principles by removing practices from their original cultural and philosophical contexts. I will further propose that some principles associated with contemplative practices, like nonjudgment and nonduality, when understood in their original context, are actually essential for effective and lasting social action. I will also suggest some secular models of these concepts that would be appropriate for exploration in courses outside of traditional religious studies. Hopefully other models will be suggested during the group discussion.
Oliver Hill

5:00 – 5:15 pm Break with coffee and tea
CCA
5:15 – 6:15 pm Keynote: Embracing Fear, Friendship, and Hope: Journeying with Courage in Academia
Dr. Michelle Chatman, University of the District of Columbia
CCA

Saturday, October 6

9:00 – 9:15 am Practice and Framing of the Day
CCA
9:15 – 9:30 am Break with coffee, tea, and light snacks
CCA Foyer
9:30 – 10:30 am Parallel Session IV
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session IV

Using Contemplative Practices to Assist Faculty in Answering the Call to Create Just, Equitable, and Inclusive Classrooms
Over the last twenty years the higher education environment has seen a shift in the diversity of students coming to college campuses. Specifically, these spaces have become more diverse with students from various ethnic, socioeconomic, political, sexual, and social backgrounds. By neglecting to engage such students, faculty run the risk of making them feel excluded, which could result in negative health and educational outcomes. This session will discuss how faculty can incorporate contemplative practices and theory into their classrooms to create just, equitable, and inclusive campus environments.
Marlon Blake, Lenwood Hayman


Other Ways of Knowing: Toward a Decolonization of Contemplative Education
This session will explore contemplative and embodied ways of knowing through a decolonial lens. Highlighting women of color feminism(s), Indigenous epistemology, and decolonizing pedagogies, the presenters will discuss their own research and work in these areas followed by a roundtable dialogue. As contemplative education rapidly evolves, how can we be inclusive of decolonizing practices such as Indigenous storywork, autohistoria, testimonios, and Hip Hop pedagogy? How have Indigenous contemplative practices been used to heal from the historical trauma of colonialism? How can we integrate feminist, antiracist and contemplative pedagogies? This panel calls for a reconceptualization of Contemplative Education by integrating decolonial scholarship and embodied knowledges.
Jennifer Cannon, Sonya Atalay, Miliann Kang, Lezlie Frye, Renita Wong


WHAT IF MY STUDENTS NEED MORE?
I taught at an historically Black university, with a student population which is highly stressed through financial worries, family responsibilities, experienced trauma, medical issues, etc. Although I have offered contemplative practices in my classes for the last ten years, I finally decided that I wanted to offer them more. Enter the Oasis, the university’s new Mindfulness/Meditation Center. This session will chronicle the origin and evolution of a mindfulness/meditation center in a small heavily religious university and allow conferees to participate in the programs which gradually developed in the Oasis. With few resources, we built a growing center in an institution where these practices are still largely unfamiliar. Closing discussion will center around how to start a center on campuses with varying cultures, next steps for the Oasis, and of course, how to bring about world peace.
Renee Hill


Experiencing Connection: a Critical Foundation of Community Building
We must do better at meeting the basic human need of connection, the foundation of friendship, community, and society. Connection plays a vital role in social justice, as “obligations of justice arise between persons by virtue of the social processes that connect them” (Young, 2006). Indeed, individuals from privileged groups are motivated by a sense of connection to actively support equity (Goodman, 2000). Connecting encourages people to begin to care in ways that lead to taking action. Multiple systems of oppression are interconnected, and engaging our own connectedness helps to disrupt patriarchies and complacent white privileges. This presentation guides participants through a multi-phased contemplative exercise that starts with individual reflection on experience of connection in an institutional context, invites deep listening with another participant, and moves into larger groups to discuss strategies for reinforcing the shared activities that promote connection and work toward social justice.
Peter Grossenbacher


Relationships, Structures, and Processes of Humane Institutions
Over the past ten years, great strides have been made in creating and nurturing contemplative classrooms. At the same time, the overall structures of academic institutions lag behind. In a world of higher education dominated by increasing complexity, financial pressures, and conflicts, what does a contemplative organizational structure look like? How can committees, faculty meetings, and administrative teams use contemplative practices to work more effectively? Given hierarchies, turf wars, and academics’ propensity for using argument as a weapon, is contemplative decision-making possible?

Through guided meditations and group reflection, we will imagine what relationships, structures, and processes of humane institutions could look like. Basted on the presenter’s experience in several institutions and based on participants’ institutional experience, participants will experience three contemplative processes that can make institutions more humane and make relationships more respectful.
Margaret Benefiel


Cultivating Student Attention Through a First Year Nature Writing Seminar
While seminars for first-year college students introduce them to new subject areas and orient them to campus life, they can also cultivate habits of mind and body that may improve personal health and wellness and academic success. For the past three years, I have been teaching a Nature Writing seminar that offers first year students the opportunity to read and discuss some classic writing about human relationships with the natural world; to make their own contribution to this literature; and for 50 minutes each week to work with their attention by turning off their cell phones, putting aside their personal concerns and the pressures of school, and experiencing what is in front of them in the present moment. Many of the class exercises are adapted from a Working With Your Attention course taught by Gregg Krech at the ToDo Institute in Monkton, VT (http://www.todoinstitute.org).
David Glassberg


Lives that Speak: Reclaiming Vocation Through Cross-Campus Collaborations
In Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer writes eloquently about the Quaker imperative to listen deeply for the call of vocation. But in the present moment of financial exigency, hyper-mediation, mental ill health, and overwork, that call can be exceedingly difficult for us and our students to hear. As a tenured faculty member and (formerly tenured) executive director of career development, we model a spirit of collaboration that aims to foster lives that speak and reclaim the idea of vocation as a call to purpose realized uniquely by each individual. In contrast with purely materialist notions of “a career,” offering contemplative practices and spaces for students and higher education professionals alike to heed the spiritual call of vocation is a profound pathway toward interconnection, social action, and meaningful scholarship—one that allows us to imagine and bring about more just and humane institutions.
LeeRay Costa, Karen Cardozo


Listening as a Revolutionary Act of Love
To build humane institutions, we need humane relationships. This requires a humane relationship with oneself. Listening as a revolutionary act of love can assist, as we learn how to listen through and across differences. Stacy Husebo (MSW, LICSW), Social Work Faculty at St. Catherine Univ., and Allison Schuette (MFA), Associate Prof. of English/co-director of the Welcome Project* at Valparaiso Univ., invite you to experience varied ways of listening—to yourself, to fellow participants, to digital storytellers. We present these practices within a framework of cultivating presence: holding both the other’s and our own experiences in awareness, giving them equal weight. Relationships rooted in this framework help us deepen compassion and benevolence. We see these practices as transferable to classrooms, workshops, and community settings. (*The Welcome Project interviews, edits, and facilitates conversation. Our locally collected, digital stories help participants forge stronger ties within their communities.)
Allison Schuette, Stacy Husebo

10:30 – 11:00 am Break
11:00 – 12:00 pm Parallel Session V
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session V

“When He Said Weird, I Heard Queer” – Facilitating Powerful Conversations
Creating humane institutions requires the capacity to mindfully engage in challenging conversations. Too often we avoid opening a conversational Pandora’s box by focusing on the surface, the symptoms, of a situation (Scharmer & Kaufer, 2013), or we speak with similar-minded people who already agree with us (Haidt, 2012). Both strategies increase confusion, limit learning, and disconnect us from the reality and complexity of the very issues that matter the most (Bushe, 2010). This highly interactive session will draw on a real-life case study from diverse perspectives to explore how contemplative practices and deep listening exercises can contribute to facilitating powerful conversations with awareness, transforming anger and fear to leverage human relationships within and beyond the classroom.
Anne Randerson, Stacie Chappell


Connection, Healing, Transcendence: Mindfulness Practice at a Minority Serving University
This presentation addresses the cultural adaptation of a mindfulness practice curriculum for students attending a minority serving university in a large Mid-western city. Many of the students live and work in the communities surrounding the university which are beset with high rates of poverty, unemployment and violence and are subsequently vulnerable to stress and trauma. The application of mindfulness practices in higher education has resulted in positive academic, psychological and interpersonal outcomes among students. However, few if any studies have evaluated the effectiveness of mindfulness programs to enhance well-being among students attending a minority serving university. Statistically significant findings from the evaluation of the first mindfulness class indicate increased levels of mindfulness. For the faculty involved in the planning of this course, an unanticipated outcome was a shared experience reminding them of their humanity in a climate of disconnection and uncertainty.
Sherri Seyfried, Lindsay Bicknell-Hentges, Veronica Womack


Teaching Ethnographically: Qualitative Inquiry as Contemplative Pedagogy in Higher Education
While ethnographic and contemplative practices share many commonalities, ethnographic inquiry holds great promise to deepen contemplative ways of knowing. Ethnographic inquiry, an approach of being, thinking, and seeing, centers on learning from participants (students) through immersing in and attending to the qualities or details of their experiences, questions, and practices as well as creating opportunities for students to use ethnographic epistemologies to understand their experiences and inquiries. Ethnographic inquiry requires that teachers and students cultivate a consciousness of the subtle complexities of culture, justice, and power relations as well as an awareness that knowledge is co-constructed, partial, and produced within social relationships. We will explore ways that ethnographic and contemplative epistemologies frame and inform our teaching through multiple experiences and practices (e.g., participant observation, conversation, artifact analysis, and reflexivity).
Maria José Botelho, Ellen Pader


Contemplative Practice and Resilience: Facilitating Sustainable Sustainability Practitioners
Our world is characterized by speed, which can heighten feelings of powerlessness in the face of complex problems, a theme in sustainability learning. Our course on contemplative practice and resilience at Michigan State University helps sustainability learners slow down and cultivate skills of concentration, reflection, and empathy. Our goal is to facilitate the growth of resilient individuals, who can create resilient communities, which can work collectively toward ecological resilience. Each class includes: 1) mediation and mantra, 2) reflective journaling, and 3) yoga movement, plus a longer practice to expose students to the breadth of contemplative practices. Practices are coupled with readings and discussion. Learning and wellbeing shifts are documented qualitatively and quantitatively. Preliminary findings demonstrate a strong sense of overwhelm and inadequacy. Students used the course to become more self-reflective and develop self-care tools; they plan to use journaling and mantra in the future.
Lissy Goralnik, Robert Richardson, Laurie Thorp


Quiet, Contemplative Pedagogies: Teaching to Reach the Introverted, the Anxious and the Marginalized
Our campuses—in classrooms, student activities, and committee work—are organized so as to privilege noise. Ideal classroom participation is understood as talking and meetings laud the brainstorming session. Across our institutions, classrooms and office spaces are being turned into shared group space, meant to facilitate group work, creating an “extrovert ideal” (Cain 2012). At the same time, our students’ social anxiety levels are increasing—a dynamic that is connected to technology (Turkle 2011)—and the marginalized, long denied a voice, feel even more silenced by the current political climate. Contemplative practices in the classroom offer an antidote that offer us a pedagogical universal design. They benefit everyone, while importantly reaching the most vulnerable—students of color, introverted students, LGBTQ students, and students with social anxiety. Instead, quiet pedagogies that facilitate contemplative, critical reflection, give all students the space to think, reflect, and share their ideas.
Monica Edwards


Imagining Humane Food Practices That Impact Health, Environment and Equity Outcomes
Growing climate change, diseases, and inequality arise from separateness and superiority to nature and others. When humans behave as there is no spiritual dimension to places, they treat nature as an object. Naess claimed the world cannot be divided between sentient subjects and inanimate objects. Boldt stated that ego consciousness is the source of poverty, lack, conflict, human degradation, competitive hostility, craving and exploitation. Criticality, reflection and mindfulness will be employed to shine light on unexplored food systems and practices. This session will discuss a course designed with scientific and contemplative practices to inquire into: What humane organizational practices have proven to create reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, diet and life-style driven diseases and human domination over nature? How contemplative practitioners support more equitable access to food systems. What contemplative practices and lifestyle shifts can reduce suffering and increase wellbeing?
Kathleen Kevany, Dr.George C. Wang, Gene Baur


Contemplation, Reflexivity, and Embodiment: Addressing Gender Diversity in Education
This experiential workshop will offer participants a contemplatively rooted approach to exploring gender diversity in education. Drawing on practices of reflexivity, participatory theatre, and transgender studies, we will explore and deepen our own understandings around the needs of transgender, gender nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students. Through reflexive practices, we will be invited to articulate our own strengths and challenges in addressing gender diversity in the classroom. Through participatory theatre, we will have the opportunity to gently embody these explorations. And by drawing on foundational theory in gender diversity in education, we will deepen our understandings of best practices in this rapidly evolving field. This workshop will be of interest to people wanting to gain an introduction to foundational skills around gender diversity, as well as experienced educators/activists seeking to ground this work in contemplative approaches.
Kerr Mesner


Radical Love and Difference: Bruja Pedagogies
In Spring 2018, I taught a class at the University of New Mexico called, “Art, Activism, and Bruja Feminism.” This class drew upon the work of Gloria Anzaldua, Audre Lorde, Irene Lara and others who argue that brujas, or witches, have been disordering patriarchal and capitalist narratives for centuries. Within these spaces, theory and art blur, and one’s full body of lived experience and ancestry grate against borders of geography, race, class, colonial constructs of time/space, and human/non-human divides.

I will briefly talk about what happened in this class, in which a group of diverse women brought lived pain and confusion into the classroom to explore what it might look like to build collectivity that does not demand harmony, consensus, shared histories, or fixed identities. This workshop will be experimental and experiential, drawing upon expanded notions of contemplative practice such as personal writing, movement, and feeling one’s full body as a gauge of truth-telling.
Kirsten Mundt

12:00 – 1:00 pm Buffet Lunch (included with registration)
CCA
1:00 – 2:00 pm Poster Session II
Posters should be set up before or during lunch, and may be displayed until 4pm.
CCA
2:00 – 2:30 pm Break
2:30 – 3:30 pm Parallel Session VI
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session VI

Paradoxes of Teaching Mindfulness in Business
This experiential session is dedicated to exploring the efficacy and ethical considerations of teaching mindfulness in business. The emergence of mindfulness as a popular means of enhancing workplace skills has come under some scrutiny and criticism. Particularly, teaching mindfulness in business without the foundation in ethics and wisdom poses unique challenges and consequences.

I draw from Buddhist teachings, mindfulness research, management theory, and experiences of corporate mindfulness instructors to propose a comprehensive framework that can guide our intentions and work of integrating mindfulness in business to enhance the well-being of all its stakeholders and not just shareholders.

The lens of mindful inquiry is expanded to include not only mindful awareness but also wisdom and ethical considerations, which is commonly referred to as skillful actions. Participants will explore – individually and in small groups – the broader framework of awareness, wisdom, and skillful actions in the context of decision making. We will brainstorm together how this broader framework can help us integrate mindfulness in our workplace to make decisions that create a better world for all beings.
Shalini Bahl


Radical Compassion: Contemplative Actions for Social Transformation
Compassionate living, social justice, freedom and equality are ethical ideals of culture. However, in a world driven by ideologies of separation, these ethical principles seem absent. Here, I offer a comprehensive scope of the neuroscience, the psychology and the arts of compassion, and how these ideals translate into practices through contemplative living. I explain how compassion enhances emotional regulation and its impact on the brain; how it sustains purpose as enhancer of mindful relationships, improving communication, and maintaining social connections; and finally, I advance the point that compassion can become a core competency for emotional, social and organizational well-being. I argue that the creation of new cosmological narratives of interaction based on the contemplative principles of compassion results in an ethics of identity of humans as caretakers of the ecosystem. A contemplative lifestyle makes of compassion a catalyst for self-transformation, and social and environmental justice.
Yuria Celidwen


A humanizing learning community focused on reciprocity and collaborative engagement
Graduate programs, particularly those within historically white institutions, typically reinforce neoliberalism (Denzin & Giardina, 2016). In these spaces academic success might be narrowly defined and incongruent with scholars interested in emancipatory research. In response to this climate, a group of doctoral students and faculty co-constructed a reading group as part of a special topics education course. We collectively read ethnic studies, critical pedagogy, as well as processed our experiences in collaborations across numerous educational contexts. In this paper, we seek to challenge individualism within academia, connect educational research to broader social movements, and highlight the importance of humanizing mentorship. After analyzing the data, we argue the non-hierarchical nature of our group is what led to the organic development of a humanizing learning community. This approach to learning and mentorship offers a way to disrupt institutional structures meant to stifle socially just research.
Thomas Albright, Keisha Green, Joel Arce, Alisha Smith


Embedding compassion into an urban community college to create trauma sensitive policy, procedures, and pedagogy.
Students who attend urban community colleges characteristically have invisible histories of developmental and complex trauma which puts them at risk for engagement and retention. These risk factors are relatively invisible to the institutions which serve them and to the students themselves. Accordingly issues which have their genesis in the student’s history are at play but are implicit rather than explicit so they are not addressed by the students or the institutions that serve them. Without making these issues and factors explicit they remain unavailable for positive intervention. When the students and the institution together make these issues explicit they can be addressed in proactive, cost effective ways leading to improved chances of receiving attention and intervention and enabling more positive outcomes for the students and their institutions of learning.
Linda Domenitz, George LeBoeuf, Susan Perreira, Steven A. Mahoney, Marva Patterson


The Playing Field: Personal & Public Health Practices through the Power of PLAY
The purpose of this workshop is to examine “playing” as a source of healing, particularly within the contexts of college classroom. As adults, we connect the act of playing with children. We accept that children play games, play outside, or simply play as that is part of their development, education, and time consuming activity that parents often support. As we get older, humans shift their thought patterns and take on a different way of Acting and Being in the world. We become “ADULTS.” The act of playing becomes child-ish and unacceptable – again, especially in the college classroom. We allow our daily stresses and past trauma to shape our Being. Our coping mechanisms end up being a reaction to those stresses and traumas, rather than proactive proclamations of our liberated spirits. What if we recognized that the act of PLAYING promotes connections, cultivates social creativity and capital, addresses trauma and becomes a healing mechanism of liberation? What if ADULTS began to PLAY within the inhumane institutions in which we find ourselves? What if we purposefully created humane environments, or playgrounds, within the academy? Our session is intended to be a PLAYFUL, healing, liberating workshop for ALL who attend!
Traci Currie, Joyce Piert, Lenwood Hayman


“I Got Soul”: Soulfulness, Inclusion, and Contemplative Practice
“I got somethin’ that makes me wanna shout, I got somethin’ that tells me what its all about, I got soul, and I’m superbad.” – James Brown. This session will focus on describing “soulfulness” as an orientation to contemplative practice that aims for relevance to historically oppressed people of color whose cultural sensibilities emphasize expressiveness of emotion, spirituality, and movement toward liberation from oppression. Soulfulness has its roots in the African American tradition of “soul” (a deeply felt inner attunement and connectedness that moves one to inspired expression and resonates with collective experience) and is intentionally integrative. Its meditative application is mindfulness-based with less emphasis on the detachment, personal happiness, and individualism that can characterize its popular and commercialized delivery. Soulfulness-infused practices will be demonstrated and applications in community, educational and healthcare settings will be discussed.
Shelly Harrell


Connectedness in the Classroom: Spirituality and Contemplative Pedagogy
Spirituality’s role in higher education has been fraught with misunderstanding, judgment, and fear. Until the past 25 years, spirituality in higher education has been seen as a “pariah” (English, 2014, p. 47). In addition, the dichotomization of religion and spirituality provides little depth or clarity to these constructs. Viewing religion in a negative, restrictive light and seeing spirituality more positively, given its stereotype as “soft” or “new agey,” is limiting. The seminal work of Astin, Astin, and Lindholm (2011) emphasizes that higher education could guide spiritual growth and development. One of their primary findings is: “…contemplative practices are among the most powerful tools [emphasis added] at our disposal for enhancing students’ spiritual development” (Astin et al, p. 148). Both contemplative pedagogy and spirituality emphasize connectedness as well as provide breadth and depth to our work. This roundtable discussion will explore the complexities of spirituality in our work.
Michele McGrady


Reimagining Community & Scholarship: Lectio Divina as Tool for Transformative Education
This interactive discussion will showcase the intersection(s) between contemplative practice, scholarship, and community-building through Lectio Divina as a tool for transformative education. Lectio Divina provides a contemplative method allowing access to inner knowing related to emotions, intuition, and wisdom, one that activates first- and second-person inquiry. As a process, Lectio Divina activates deep listening, contemplative reading and close observation. It offers a model for aiding interiority and provides a conduit for developing spaciousness in order to meet and take in the world before you (Hart, 2008). We will provide examples of integrating the creative processes of the 4-step Lectio Divina methods for K-16 students from a range of areas including, visual art, poetry, and teacher education. Participants in this embodied and experiential session will, in John Dewey’s words, “learn by doing” to appreciate its effectiveness and become aware of alternative modalities for inner growth through reflective and intellectual inquiry.
Kristi Oliver, Jane Dalton, Maureen Hall, Catherine Hoyser

3:30 – 3:45 pm Break with coffee, tea, and light snacks
CCA
3:45 – 4:45 pm Parallel Session VII
Breakout Rooms on 8th & 9th Floors of the Campus Center

Parallel Session VII

Contemplative Resistance: The Art of Non-dual Activism
Imagine a scenario where activism is a profound opportunity for personal growth, engaging our practice, and showing up for directly impacted people who are most vulnerable to injustice. In a context of institutional and state sanctioned oppression where change isn’t being embraced, we are left with resistance as our only option. What does resistance look like and how do we engage as contemplatives? What does contemplative resistance to institutional injustice look like? How do we find and uplift the non dual moments in activism? Contemplative are often discouraged from engaging in the dualism and aggression of activism for social change. But what if we viewed social justice organizing as opportunities for healing. Holly will share her contemplative philosophy on resistance and Dr. Oliver Hill will offer framing and practice grounded in non-judgement. We will engage both contemplation and action and send you home with a vital practice.
Holly Roach Knight, Dr. Oliver Hill


Collaborative Film-making as Contemplative Practice
Research literature describes resilient communities as those that adapt to climate change and its disastrous effects. However, the Innu people of northern Labrador in Canada do not have a word that easily translates as resilience. For them, the word that emerged in interviews with elders who still hold the narrative of their traditions is “respect.” Respecting the natural world for the Innu means caring that all resources are sustainable and nothing used is wasted. The relationship is reciprocal and everything “takes care” of everything else. This is a story that was not easily carried to younger generations forced into abusive residential schools, punished for speaking their own language, and largely prevented from relating with the natural resources around them. Videography empowered youth to tell their stories in images without abstract language. The skills learned were then engaged in documenting effects of climate change, recovering their connection to “respect” and sustainable development.
Trudy Sable


Should we problematize the “service” in service learning?
Should we problematize the “service” in service learning? And to what extent does service learning exploit those that serve and who are served? In this interactive session, we will discuss in roundtable-format concepts such as service, charity, help as it relates to service-learning and civic engagement for undergraduate students. We will also discuss critical approaches to seeing service learning through the lens of neoliberalism and discuss strategies for building more sustainable models of civic engagement that include students and community members in decision-making and cultivate ideas that extend beyond a college campus, even into virtual environments.
Kristen Dellasala


Mentoring Culturally-Inclusive Community through Contemplative Self-Inquiry: A Collaborative Faculty-Student Presentation
Know Your Self is a curriculum that helps students build culturally-inclusive community and psychological resilience using contemplative self-inquiry, mindfulness, interactive dialogue, and psychospiritual development. This session includes experiential work illustrating the curriculum and an overview of results from an effectiveness study (quasi-experimental, mixed methods design). Presenters include the PI and former students who will share their perspectives on building inclusive, humane community in higher education using this curriculum. Drawing on material from Dr. Kass’ book on this subject (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017), the session describes learning in five dimensions of self that are often dysregulated by Humanity’s Chain of Pain: bio-behavioral, cognitive-sociocultural, social-emotional, existential-spiritual, and integrative worldview formation.
Jared D. Kass, Ashley Williams, Kassmin Williams


Contemplative Reading Beyond Technique: Dispositions, intolerance, empathetic engagement
We read a text in much the same way we read a situation or another person. Critical reading helps us practice distance and objectivity while reinforcing the notion of radical discontinuity between historical eras and among human experiences. Contemplative reading asks us to think with the ideas of the text/culture, not simply about them; it cultivates the “inward act” of empathetic participation, foregrounding continuity and its ethical imperatives. Particularly, contemplative readings of vilified or ignored subjects paired with students’ direct experiences of their resistance can address intolerance and encourage empathetic engagement. This panel begins with a proposal to take “dispositions” (rather than “practices” or “techniques”) as starting points for contemplative pedagogy, thereby engaging the radical, transformative potential of contemplative traditions. Then, we work together to enhance the field’s definitions, theories, and practices of contemplative reading in secular educational contexts.
Karolyn Kinane


A pedagogy of political spiritualities: caring/growing/repairing
The promise of contemplative practice in higher education speaks to a yearning for new ways to imagine learning, teaching, and communality. As we confront the multiple crises of global warming, inequality, intensifying racial divisions and political ruptures that characterize our world, we need forms of education commensurate with our current challenges and institutions which support this work. This panel presents a blueprint for a worker-owned college, and asks for active participation in envisioning how we might provide students, faculty and staff, with the skills and imaginative capacities needed to build regenerative, ecological, and humane communities. This new college emphasizes collective contemplative approaches, where meditative practices are seen as intertwined with acting in the world. We look towards emerging forms of political spiritualities, providing participants with the capacities to bring about the personal and societal shifts needed in this time of turbulence.
Joshua Moses, Nathan Woods, Tal Beery


Sound Healing in Contemplative Practice
Sound can be used in all forms for healing: all musical instruments, quartz crystal bowls, and our voice, just to name a few. Music is widely used for inspiration and comfort—we can quickly shift gears emotionally when we listen to a piece of music we like or dislike, and sometimes are brought to an entirely new way of knowing with sound or music that is especially deep for us. The use of sound and the silence that follows can be a practical way to facilitate more effective contemplative inquiry alone or with others. Sound Healing in a group can facilitate deep relaxation and resolve unspoken tensions, creating a doorway into peaceful and more effective discussions. This session will provide an overview of the science of sound healing and introduce practices which rapidly and easily foster deeper states of meditative relaxation, support deeper listening, and facilitate group coherence for greater team building.
Mary O’Malley


Human Rights, Mindfulness, and Contemplative Socioemotional Education
“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” – Aristotle What are human rights? When posing this question to groups of students or professionals both struggle to define them. Understanding human rights is central to beginning a discussion on developing a more just, peaceful, sustainable, and compassionate world. Courses such as “The Sociology of Human Rights” employ a constructivist approach within a learning community model fostering the physical, intellectual, and emotional safety for students to explore their world view, communicate it to others, and reflect on the content and experience of their interactions. Incorporating mindfulness exercises each class, the Civility Guidelines, and tenets of socioemotional education, including empathy and compassion, students are offered the opportunity to develop their own understanding of human rights, express themselves through thoughtful and respectful dialogue, and explore avenues to support human rights through appropriate assertion.
John van Bladel

4:45 – 5:30 pm Open Space
5:30 – 6:00 pm Reception (included with registration) with cash bar
CCA
6:00 – 8:00 pm 10 Year Anniversary Celebration Dinner (included with registration)
with musical performance by Ed Sarath & friends
CCA

Sunday, October 7

9:00 – 9:30 am Contemplative Practice
CCA
9:30 – 11:30 am Member Forum and Networking Breakfast
CCA
11:30 am Conference Ends
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