Concurrent Sessions

Session I: 10:45 – 11:45 am, Saturday, October 28th

Using Mindfulness Practices to Uncover Unconscious Bias and Facilitate Cross- Cultural Conflict Resolution

This workshop will guide participants through developing the capacity to use mindfulness techniques to recognize unconscious bias and facilitate cross-cultural conflict resolution. There will be an overview of how mindfulness techniques can be used to gain awareness of bias, prejudice, and discriminatory ideas, language and behaviors. Then participants will be guided through exercises that allow them to explore their unconscious bias using mindfulness practice. There will also be an overview of the process by which mindfulness-based interventions are used to facilitate cross-cultural conflict resolution and participants will have an opportunity to observe and practice this process as led by the presenter.

Lead Presenter: Kamilah Majied

Collaboration, Social Justice and Contemplation: A Community Mental Health project

In 2015 a collaborative team at John F Kennedy University embarked to create a learning community to bring contemplative and restorative mental health care to a local middle school in Oakland California. Faculty, Administration and Students co-designed, implemented and measured the needs and potentials of a program, The Welcome Room, to create and provide a safe space for mini-mental-health moments. These interventions (meditation, nutrition, art, movement, personal connection, compassionate understanding) provided much needed respite and restoration for students, increased positive behaviors and positive academic outcomes for the student participants. The University team, developed and grew together to arrange funding, design curriculum, staff the program and measure results. This presentation will explore the joys and challenges of project development, and share some of the mini-mental health programs that yielded results. We will emphasize Contemplative Practices as social justice in action.

Lead Presenter: Doreen Maller
Co-Presenter(s): Debra Sheppard, Dé dzin Alissa Kriteman

Building Communities, Shared Journeys: Compassionate Teaching for Students of Color

A year ago, Stephanie Briggs was approved for a grant to foster a contemplative community among faculty of color. This presentation details the wide impact of that grant and its expansion to nurture and support college students and faculty of color at five diverse institutions. How do we, as teachers, become centered and remain grounded in the face of dehumanizing ideologies and practices, limited resources, and devalued presence? How do we negotiate/manage our vulnerability and be authentic as persons of color, while forging bonds and honoring identity with students of color without excluding others? How do we create contemplative healing communities and develop partnerships on and off campus, and why is this important? This panel will present lived experiences and views of three faculty members who participated in the grant and formed a community. They will also offer suggestions for how this kind of community can be deepened and strengthened.

Lead Presenter: Stephanie Briggs
Co-Presenter(s): Michelle Chatman, Renee Hill

Integrating Meditation and Essential Questions in Positive Neuroplasticity Student-Experiments

I will share a practice I’ve developed for my course “Borges, Buddhism and Cognitive Science” in UC Berkeley. To gain a deeper understanding of their minds/hearts and have an effective tool to consciously cultivate positive Neuroplasticity, students are guided into creating an experiment to discover the roots of a negative trait they would like to overcome, and are shown how to plant new seeds when that trait arises. Essential Questions and Meditation, which we practice in the course, are integrated in that experiment. Students design the experiment tailored to their needs and practice it during several weeks. They are encouraged to see any possible “failures” as new points of departure with greater awareness. At the end they write a final reflection. In this session, you will practice creating your own experiment, with Meditation and Essential Questions.

Lead Presenter: Amelia Barili

Moving through Addiction and Recovery with Yoga

While yoga may seem an obvious tool for the recovery from addiction, many communities dealing with addiction have limited access to yoga, including most college students. As a way to bridge this gap, Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR) was created in 2003. Y12SR is a nationally recognized program that provides a powerful framework for addiction recovery and relapse prevention. It ‘connects the dots’ between the ancient wisdom of yoga, the practical tools of 12-step programs, and the latest research on trauma healing and neurobiology.

As part of a holistic recovery program, it works in tandem with traditional treatment to address the physical, mental and spiritual disease of addiction. With the pressures of college life, students are at a heightened risk for addiction; this is an intersection we cannot afford to miss. Come experience an Y12SR meeting and discuss ways in which it could work in your context.

Lead Presenter: Naomi Tuinstra

Beyond the IRB: Contemplative Coaching Circles for Radical Action Research

Transdisciplinary, community-engaged action research has the potential to help higher education address the social and ecological crises of our time. Unfortunately, ethical engagement in these socially complex, contextual problems appears to be compromised by Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). The IRB process focuses on minimizing potential harm that researchers may inflict upon their subordinate research subjects as they extract knowledge using the scientific method. In this context, oppressive power structures are assumed (not challenged), and the ideal scientist achieves a state of “disinterest” to avoid bias. What if, instead, ethical researchers strove to achieve a state of engaged curiosity, compassion, and courage where they could employ contemplative practices to notice and suspend biases that close their minds, hearts and wills? What if institutions supported contemplative coaching circles to help researchers notice and transcend blindspots as they co-generate knowledge and action with partners?

Lead Presenter: Elizabeth Walsh

Session II: 1:00 – 1:30 pm, Saturday, October 28th

Embodied nursing pedagogy: Walking a mile in the patient's shoes

Nursing students may misinterpret a client’s aversion from the treatment plan as “non-compliance”. We have been unsuccessful correcting this mentality employing standard didactic curricular methods. To correct this misconception and support students’ ability to take a non-judgmental approach, we developed a course highlighting the social determinants of health that includes a community based poverty simulation. Although nursing curricula has a long history of kinesthetic based curricula, providing an embodied approach to learning is novel. To date, over 150 students have provided feedback regarding their beliefs on poverty as a social determinant of health both before and after participating in the poverty simulation. Our preliminary assessment identified that the poverty experience allows nursing students to develop a more non-judgmental viewpoint of people in poverty. We believe this will mitigate the notion of “non-compliance”, and fashion nurses who can more thoughtfully enter into therapeutic relationships.

Lead Presenter: Roxane Chan
Co-Presenter(s): Emily McIntire

Re-Imagining Black Youth Justice

While the overall rate of incarceration of all youth has decreased by 55% since 1997, the rate of incarceration of youth of color continues to rise (Office of Juvenile Justice and Prevention, 2015). In 2013, black youth were more than four times as likely as white youth to be incarcerated. Enduring constructs of oppression dehumanize black youth by casting them as angry, violent, and uncontrollable. In preparing my students for careers in criminal justice, I employ contemplative strategies to help students approach black youth and returning citizens with compassion and critical consciousness. Contemplative Re-imagining (CR) recasts black youth as humans worthy of protection and investment, rather than objects for confinement. Coupled with social justice activism, this approach aims to create a process for healing and restoration. Participants in this session will learn what comprises the emerging idea of Contemplative Re-imagining, dialogue about its parameters, and engage in a CR practice.

Lead Presenter: Michelle Chatman

The Impact of Mindfulness in Teaching Emotional Intelligence online and in Person to Undergraduate Students

This presentation will present an evidence based model as a potential foundation for a program to teach emotional intelligence skills to undergraduate students. This model was developed based on a mixed method study using a 3 x 2 factorial quasi-experimental design that found a team-based learning environment using a blended teaching approach, supported by mindfulness instruction to teach EI skills, can make learning about emotional intelligence accessible and meaningful to undergraduate students. Using peer emotional intelligence assessment scores as a measure of emotional intelligence growth, the study showed a statistically significant impact on the growth of emotional intelligence skills from using a blended approach including direct instruction in mindfulness techniques. Supporting this finding, students clearly expressed a noticeable growth in their emotional intelligence and in that of their peers in interviews conducted at the end of the study.

Lead Presenter: Jami Cotler

Diversity and Consensus: Engaging first generation students in contemplative practices

In the 2016-17 academic year, we surveyed fifteen universities within and beyond the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (including two HBCUs) about their current programs and future plans for student opportunities for contemplative practice. Results to be presented show that responding universities were all offering or planning programs. Programs were located in three different contexts: 1) academic courses, 2) student affairs initiatives, and 3) athletic programs. Later in the year, we arranged for representatives of nine of the universities to meet to share best practices and new ideas, to identify common concerns, and to find pathways to mutual support. Results will be presented through recordings and individual interviews. Of significant import was the consensus around the desire to engage our highly diverse, first-generation college student population, resulting in a plan for a 2017-18 conference dedicated to this theme.

Lead Presenter: Donald McCown
Co-Presenter(s): Christine Moriconi, Kim Weiner

Healing Through Leadership: A Process of Critical Love, Compassion and Vulnerability

The SEEK Department at John Jay College is an access opportunity program for low-income urban college students. As “on the ground” practitioners, the counselors, who teach, advise and support the students, often find themselves in the parallel process of responding to the oppressive and institutionalized challenges of navigating higher education. In an effort to unpack the unspoken, the counseling coordinator, in her leadership and supervisory role of five years, used herself as a vehicle of vulnerability to build community, trust and healing. Self- disclosure and risk taking were key in the initial process. Additonally, weekly meditation, movement, and reflection were incorporated to facilitate the cohesion of a core group of staff that are committed to bearing witness to their own challenges as well as their colleagues. There has been an increase among collaboration, morale and professional productivity. Most importantly, the shared commitment toward activism and social justice has deepened and enhanced.

Lead Presenter: Monika Son

Can we Cultivate Resilience and Social Responsibility in the Classroom?

Aspiring to have an impact on the world is big…hard…scary. Many challenges are not easily resolved. So how can we help cultivate resilience among our students, to better prepare them for the future? Can we successfully model and teach resilience and social responsibility in the classroom?

Social responsibility takes for granted self-efficacy, agency and motivation – qualities our students may not yet have. In our courses, “Mindfulness & Compassion” (@UVA) and “Accelerated Learning English Composition-I” (@CCBC), we each target student growth and building of their capacity for self-knowledge, self-care, and – ultimately, we hope – social responsibility. We both also work with Faculty Learning Communities at our institutions to share ideas and offer support across the disciplines.

This session will engage participants in an active dialogue about the ways in which we can provide learning opportunities for faculty and students that nurture agency, self-compassion, and capacity for social responsibility.

Lead Presenter: Juliet Trail
Co-Presenter(s): Stephanie Briggs

Session III: 1:45 – 2:45 pm, Saturday, October 28th

Sustaining Radical Leadership: Exploring Contemplative Leadership Practices & Governance Structures

Recent developments in leadership theory suggest that social change is a community-based social process, not the work of an individual leader. As we continue to build contemplative communities on our campuses, and learn how to harness our collective capacity to catalyze change, we are also learning how to lead in new ways. Innovations in leading reflect broad shifts in our worldview, from outmoded mechanistic, hierarchical ways of operating that separate and divide, toward more, holistic, interconnected functioning and wholeness. However, the former still dominates our current systems, structures and mental models, even among contemplatives. How do we lead in a contemplative organization? What do contemplative governance structures look like and how do they function? How can we sustain the transformative work of contemplative communities? In this roundtable discussion, we will explore these questions through participant-based appreciative inquiry circles, sharing our collective wisdom to advance this area of inquiry.

Lead Presenter: Lisa Napora
Co-Presenter(s): Katharine Darling

Teaching Empathy through Applied Mindfulness: The T.E.A.M. Approach to Cultivating Social Justice Activism in the Midst of a Public Health Crisis

Flint, Michigan is a predominantly non-white, high poverty, high crime, city with high rates of chronic disease. Since the 1970s, Flint has experienced intense disinvestment impacting the livelihood of its residents through high unemployment rates and major reductions in funding for schools and city services, with the Flint Water Emergency recently manifesting as the most egregious. As educators within the City of Flint, we are collectively responsible for training our students to become more adept at locating and using resources to heal from the trauma of the injustices that contributed to and those resulting from the Flint Water Emergency. Given our non-traditional student population at a campus that focuses on teaching first and community engagement, our practices are also community based and mindfully creative. Focusing on personal and social agency, we engage in healthy practices for the betterment of both the community and our self-development.

Lead Presenter: Lenwood Hayman
Co-Presenter(s): Traci Currie, Maria Millett, Joyce Piert

Indigenizing the Academy: Creating New ways of Knowing through Contemplative Practices.

Since 1998, Canada has undergone a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process with the Indigenous peoples of this land. The mandate of the TRC was to reconcile, and attempt to heal, the cultural destruction of Indigenous peoples, including the enforced attendance at Residential Schools—government orchestrated schools to “take the Indian out of the Indian.” For years, a “bearing witness” process has occurred throughout Canada to hear the first-hand accounts of the abuse and cultural destruction Indigenous peoples endured at these schools. A major outcome of the TRC process is what is termed the “Indigenization” of the Academy, or the process by which universities and institutes of learning, incorporate Indigenous Knowledge and other ways of conceptualizing and coming to know the our realities. This interactive workshop will explore the challenges of how a contemplative approach, and what many Indigenous peoples call “spiritualty”, can be incorporated into postsecondary education.

Lead Presenter: Trudy Sable

“How high?” Inspiring Merit Scholars to Self-Authorship & Social Awareness Through Mindful Scholarship

While merit scholars can be among the most creative, innovative, and motivated thinkers, they can also be the most traditional in their approaches to learning – desiring to be told what to do and/or privileging their intellects as the best/only route to meaning-making. The Constructions of Knowledge courses created by the Norlin Scholars Program at the University of Colorado support students in enhancing their awareness of social realities and intersectionality by bringing all their ways of knowing to engaging with these subjects, their lives, and their work. Inspiring and empowering students to self-authorship & social awareness through meditation, embodiment, play, narrative, and deep reflection, our courses change the way merit scholars view their lives, their scholars’ paths, and themselves as citizen-scholars. They can also be more vulnerable and imperfect, less competitive, and more human. This interactive session on engaged pedagogy models a Constructions of Knowledge class session in form and content.

Lead Presenter: Jim Walker
Co-Presenter(s): Joan Gabriele

The Rhythm of Care: Contemplative Learning in an AIDS Hospice

How do we incorporate awareness into our daily working lives? Where are the lines of connection between contemplative practice and community engagement? Macaulay Honors College CUNY piloted a three-part experiential learning program for twelve of our pre-health or social work students, incorporating contemplative practice, conversation, and community building. We began with a three-day silent retreat wherein our students built a sense of community and practiced contemplative techniques and awareness practices. We then held a series of four weekly dinners wherein students engaged in conversation with experts from a wide range of fields within the HIV/AIDS world—clinicians, researchers, and caregivers. Then, over spring break, we traveled to Houston, TX to work together at a hospice facility for AIDS patients, as well as an associated day facility. Our meditation teacher accompanied us on the trip to Houston, and we sat regularly in community, often alongside residents and clients.

Lead Presenter: Mike Lamb
Co-Presenter(s): Vanessa Iaffa

Designing “Contemplative Third Spaces” to Transform Campus Free-Speech Conflict

We live and work in the midst of violent free-speech conflicts on and off university campuses, in which two kinds of sacred space are being fiercely contested. In one, the space is perceived as a “viewpoint diversity sanctuary” wherein free speech is protected, regardless of whom it may threaten or demean. In the other, the space is an “identity sanctuary” wherein people may live and work protected from the risk of experiencing threatening or demeaning speech. Each of these spaces seems to preclude the other. But are they unbridgeable? Is it possible to create inclusive “contemplative third spaces” that prepare people to become safe enough with rather than safe from reactivity? In this facilitated roundtable session, participants discuss the concept and structure of contemplative third spaces. What models currently exist? How might these spaces be designed and adapted to bridge boundaries between mutually exclusive sanctuaries, grow resilience, and promote civil discourse and mutual understanding?

Lead Presenter: Mike Kimball
Co-Presenter(s): Libby Webb

Session IV: 3:00 – 4:00 pm, Saturday, October 28th

Mindful Moments and Joy: Leading Change Gently

How might we introduce mindfulness into a university organization in a way that is strategic, yet leaves people free to choose whether and how they participate—and shifts the group’s culture? How might this “foster deep inquiry and … cultivate personal transformation” (as asked in the CFP)?

In this session, based on an evolving action research project, teaching action research, and processual change theory, we offer alternative approaches to the integration of mindfulness and social justice on campus. Rather than training people in methods that they experience as extrinsic, we create space and build capacities to notice moments of waking up, richness, and purpose. Our process has been allowing change to emerge in an open-ended and self-organizing way through inquiry, encouraging individually-crafted approaches, and providing a sense of direction—a path. Together, we will inquire into what kind of leading and processes are conducive to such gentle, yet powerful change.

Lead Presenter: Kathryn Goldman Schuyler
Co-Presenter(s): Cheryl Getz, Orit Wolberger

Contemplating Contentious Politics

How can contemplative practice in the classroom help us to critically engage divisive social and political issues in this contentious moment? In what ways can such practice both create space for honest, compassionate discussion and ensure that concerns for social justice are articulated and heard? Considering mounting struggles for justice in our political system, the current polarized moment presents opportunities and challenges for us to reexamine our shared values. This session will explore different approaches to opening space for uncomfortable but meaningful conversations and create opportunities to critically examine our own convictions while seeking an authentic understanding of the views of others. Contemplative practice can help us discuss and understand diverse views on difficult political issues such as climate change, racism, immigration, gender identity, and health care without rejecting the person sitting in front of us.

Lead Presenter: Rachel DeMotts and Parakh Hoon

The Mindful Brotha

This session will allow for educational leaders to discuss current practices of engaging Black Men in mindfulness practices. Furthermore, the session will discuss why it is important to introduce Black men into mindfulness and how educators can find ways using Yosso’s community cultural wealth model to incorporate mindfulness into their work with Black men.

Lead Presenter: Marlon Blake
Co-Presenter(s): Lenwood Hayman

Healing Justice: Holistic Self-Care for Student Change Makers

Healing justice is an idea that has emerged in the last decade in response to a hostile neoliberal context, amplified by unjust global economic policies, ongoing discrimination against those who are “other,” and a culture that encourages disconnection from ourselves and one another. Activists and helping professionals, particularly those originating from marginalized communities, have turned towards healing that which activists in the past have not attended to – the impact of intergenerational trauma; the body-mind-spirit; and burnout. Healing justice refers to individual and collective contemplative practices that can facilitate deeper understanding, connection, and sustainability. We will discuss and model healing justice skills that can be taught to university and college students. It is particularly relevant for students in professional fields including social work, counseling, human services, and education; student activists; and students in community-based internships or service learning programs.

Lead Presenter: Loretta Pyles

Activating Wonder, Plumbing Depths, Radicalizing Teaching: The Lama Experience

Radicalizing contemplative education involves digging deep within to surface what is most valuable and sharing this with our students. Paradoxically, this self-investigation cannot be merely solitary; we need each other. For the past five summers, faculty, administrators and activists have met at the Lama Foundation in the mountains of New Mexico to radicalize their teaching. Concerned that we are failing to touch the deepest parts of ourselves and our students, and working to find meaningful ways to address environmental harm, participants have collectively probed the connection between contemplation and transformative education. This panel will bring together participants from recent workshops to briefly share their insights about the promises and challenges of radicalizing contemplative environmental education. We will then convene in small groups to explore the pedagogical power of reigniting wonder, cultivating beginner’s mind, and being alone together in the vastness of the other-than-human world.

Lead Presenter: Karen Litfin
Co-Presenter(s): Manisha Anantharaman, James Rowe, Paul Wapner

Clearing a Path for Healing to Enter: Using Contemplative Practices to Challenge Internalized Subordination

Internalized subordination is part of the system of chains contributing to the continuation of racism affecting racially oppressed groups and it has encouraged the physical, spiritual, and emotional self- mutilation and self-degradation of a community of people. By influencing the psychological experience of People of Color, it has enticed individuals to contribute to their own demise within a larger system of oppression. Because this is a cognitive phenomenon over which individuals can have agency, it is important to study, understand, and seek out ways that groups of Color are able to gain a liberatory perspective in the midst of a racist society, just as it is important for whites to work to gain a liberatory perspective over internalized dominance. This session will investigate the complexity of the phenomena of internalized racism and offer participants the opportunity to explore contemplative practices to challenge the consequences of internalized racism in their personal and professional lives.

Lead Presenter: Tanya Williams

Session V: 9:00 – 10:00 am, Sunday, October 29th

Radical Ecology: Building Intimacy with the Moral Dimensions of Environmental Harm

Humans rarely solve environmental problems; rather, they displace them. They shift environmental harm to other people or creatures. This session will explore displacement across space (to the poor and marginalized), time (to future generations), and species (to the more-than-human world). It will focus on environmental racism, extractivism as a mindset that exploits humans and nature, and moral indifference. The interactive session will invite people to share their emotional responses to environmental injustice and contemplatively investigate meaningful forms of response. This latter element will involve a meditation practice that touches the depths of moral outrage, reveals fears and other obstacles that often prevent us from responding, and invites reflection on how we, as individuals with unique gifts, can promote environmental justice in ways that speak to our deepest values. It aims to draw a tighter connection between our inner lives and environmental engagements, & thus radicalize environmentalism.

Lead Presenter: Paul Wapner

The Contemplative Self: Exploring and transforming privilege and oppression

In this session, I will offer two experiential contemplative exercises examining intersectionality and the self and privilege and marginalization, seeking to open up and deepen dialogues around oppression, privilege and justice. I work to integrate a contemplative social justice pedagogy via the use of these exercises in classes with undergraduate and graduate social work students. We will reflect and listen deeply with heart-minds of compassion and equanimity, and together create experiences that allow us to become more open-hearted, authentically connected and able to dialogue in relation to our own experiences of privilege and marginalization. These exercises can lead to processes and socially engaged ways that offer healing, greater self-awareness and move us toward more just living.

Lead Presenter: Stacy Husebo

Honoring the Call for Culturally Responsive Contemplative Pedagogies in Higher Education

This discussion will highlight the intersection of contemplative and culturally responsive pedagogies to enhance student learning, cultivate authentic teaching presThis discussion will highlight the intersection of contemplative and culturally responsive pedagogies to enhance student learning, cultivate authentic teaching presence build resiliency, and promote well-being. Culturally responsive teaching recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings, 1994), and demands that we engage all dimensions of human awareness and action (Rendón, 2009). This requires reshaping the curriculum to be student-content, context, and assessment- centered (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). As white teacher educators we aim to dialogue about race and class privilege and how contemplative practices can cultivate an authentic teaching presence. In this panel, participants will (1) experience practical and experiential methods through practices such as mindfulness, deep reflection, journaling, and the arts; (2) examine portraits of practice detailing the successes and challenges of those approaches; and (3) discuss challengesence build resiliency, and promote well-being. Culturally responsive teaching recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning (Ladson-Billings, 1994), and demands that we engage all dimensions of human awareness and action (Rendón, 2009). This requires reshaping the curriculum to be student-content, context, and assessment- centered (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000). As white teacher educators we aim to dialogue about race and class privilege and how contemplative practices can cultivate an authentic teaching presence. In this panel, participants will (1) experience practical and experiential methods through practices such as mindfulness, deep reflection, journaling, and the arts; (2) examine portraits of practice detailing the successes and challenges of those approaches; and (3) discuss challenges

Lead Presenter: Jane Dalton
Co-Presenter(s): Elizabeth Dorman

Reflecting on Whiteness: Contemplative Practice, White Privilege, and Racism

This is a critical moment in the United States and in Higher Education. The current growth of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the list of demands from Black students across the country (, and the results of the presidential election reflect shifts in the national conversation about the impacts of racism, white privilege, and white supremacy. Many U.S. universities have majority white faculty and staff. There is a great need to develop these individuals’ capacity to engage in reflection and dialogue regarding issues of race. This session presents a research model used at the University of San Francisco to develop this capacity in white faculty and staff. This experiential session will engage participants in exploring ways to 1) utilize practical exercises in classrooms and on campuses, 2) use contemplative practice to build one’s capacity to engage in conversations about racism, and 3) build community to support individual and collective work.

Lead Presenter: Michelle Montagno
Co-Presenter(s): Karin Cotterman

(Re)Activate and Transform Your Making Practice: Artmaking as Contemplative Practice

In this presentation, artmaking is approached as a form of contemplative practice that is doable, sustainable, and impactful in bringing spaciousness and balance to busy lives while elevating both teaching and making practices. The purpose of this presentation is to inspire educators to (re)activate a making practice and recognize that the capacity to notice through making, integrated in smalls ways into our busy lives, can be a powerful means for elevating presence. Strategies for contemplative artmaking practice are drawn from a semester-long qualitative research study conducted in a college art education course, in which art education students developed personal artmaking rituals and explored the question: How might artmaking practice serve as reflective practice that elicits deep contemplation about oneself as teacher? We discovered that presence to the everyday, time for making, space for contemplation, and attention to process expanded our ideas about who we are as teachers and how we make as humans.

Lead Presenter: Nan Park Sohn

Work That Reconnects: Experiencing Interdependence and Compassion for All Beings

Work That Reconnects, rooted in systems-thinking, ecophilosophy and Buddhism’s Four Immeasurables—loving-kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity—provides meditative, embodiment, role-playing and visualization activities that complement intellectual learning. Pioneered by Joanna Macy 40 years ago, these practices move us to greater understanding of “the radical interdependence of all phenomena,” and thus engender compassion and the desire for justice for all people, as well as non-humans and future generations. This Practice Session is an opportunity to experience several activities that have been adapted for classroom and outdoor lab venues and to discuss how to develop similar practices to fit your teaching objectives. Example practices may include face-to-face/heart-to-heart interpersonal guided moving meditations, speaking from the role of non-humans or future beings, and guided visualization of our inter-relationships with life systems and the many beings whose lives and work allow each of us to live.

Lead Presenter: Marc Lapin

Session VI: 10:15 – 11:15 am, Sunday, October 29th

“Run, Walk, Stop”: An Embodied Exploration of Privilege and Oppression

This workshop provides participants with a felt sense of the reality that systems of oppression are alive in each of us, and none of us is free until all of us are free. Participants will engage in a movement-based activity and bear witness to embodied experiences of privilege and oppression. We will practice awareness of our immediate felt sense as a foundation for exploring culturally conditioned emotions and interpretations. Embodied immediacy provides support for investigating our vulnerabilities and conditioned patterns. Together we will reflect on our own and others’ responses to the activity and honor the understandings that emerge from our body wisdom. We will consider how our insights might help transform systems of privilege and oppression, and create communities of inclusion, belonging and connection. Participants will receive written instructions for implementing the “Run, Walk, Stop” activity.

Lead Presenter: Terri Karis

Collegial Collaborations to Foster Contemplative Practice and Empower Empathy

At the University of the Pacific, the Center for Teaching and Learning and University Writing Programs promote collaborative and reflective pedagogies, proven approaches to deep learning that also provide vital support in an era of increasing faculty workload, expanding student needs, rapid technological advances, and institutional and political uncertainties. In this interactive session, participants will engage in and reflect on a sampling of activities that we incorporate into our faculty development programs to build community, enhance empathy, and foster introspection, including values clarification, identity mapping, silent dialog, and annotated writing. Faculty may then translate these approaches to their classrooms to nurture connections and promote equity. Participants will leave the session with community-building strategies adaptable to faculty development, teaching, and professional settings.

Lead Presenter: Leslie Bayers
Co-Presenter(s): Eileen Kogl Camfield, Lott Hill

Commitment and Contemplation: Supporting People of Color in Community Engagement

Utilizing contemplative practice, and other interactive activities, we will dialogue and create fellowship, as well as generate and share strategies for supporting the work of faculty, students, staff, and community engagement professionals and practitioners of color. This will be a highly interactive professional development session designed explore ideas and inspirations for supporting and engaging with people of color. We endeavor to create a space for reflection and renewal so we can continue our work with even greater focus, clarity, and energy.

Lead Presenter: Elaine Ikeda
Co-Presenter(s): Alexis Bucknam

Attunement, (re-)interpretation and verbalization: Interpersonal communication as a contemplative practice

Attuned listening and speaking—involving empathizing, reframing, and care-ful verbalization—are genuinely contemplative approaches to engaging with others. They require close empirical and phenomenological observation, active interpretation of what is observed, and ongoing meta-awareness of one’s own interpretations—including the willingness to go beyond current meanings if they no longer fit observations or turn out to be incomplete. Arguably, such practices are also more accessible to students who may be wary of engaging in practices derived from Eastern religious traditions. This practice session introduces some basic methods for attuning, interpreting, reframing, and communicating lived experience of self and others. Participants will learn about the theoretical background of the practices and engage in brief exercises drawn from the presenter’s experience in teaching undergraduate courses on counseling and diversity to health professions students in a largely conservative, Christian environment.

Lead Presenter: Tobias Kroll

Can Google Solve Death? Connecting Mortality, Technology, and Social Justice

The cover of the September 30, 2013 Time magazine posed the provocative question, “Can Google Solve Death?” In today’s technology-saturated culture, apparently, even death can seem to be a “problem” that technology may ultimately be able to solve. But what if death isn’t a problem to be fixed but an inalienable condition of human life? What if the fear of death is a major driver of today’s technology-fueled acceleration? And further, what if this fear can be shown to play a role in implicit bias, thus contributing to people’s inability to see, let alone respond to, racism and other forms of injustice? These are questions I bring into my teaching of students headed for careers in tech, drawing upon the work of the cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, among others. In this interactive presentation, I will present some of the methods and resources I use to lead my students into this challenging territory.

Lead Presenter: David Levy