Poster Session

4:00 – 5:30 pm, Saturday, October 28th

Building Undergraduate Life-Skills through Contemplative Practices and Service-Learning

This presentation features a poster describing an undergraduate life-skills course that is grounded in a contemplative education framework. In addition to receiving handouts of the poster, attendees can also participate in brief contemplative practice class starters.

Presenter(s): Debra Alvis, Lauren Bigham (unable to attend)

Integrating Contemplative Elements and Creative Expression in the Physics Classroom

Baljon will share examples of contemplative pedagogies that she introduces in an upper division physics classroom to deepen engagement. The class -a required course for majors – introduces quantum principles. Principles that caused major shifts in paradigms, which influenced all of society including popular culture and the arts. David Bohr stated: “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.” The novice learner in the classroom often struggles to shift their believe structures, e.g. to accept that their could be multiple correct perspectives (particle-wave duality). Contemplative exercises are aimed at developing such a deeper understanding. In particular the Hispanic student population (about 50% of the class) performed much better in the redesigned course. Their GPA increased by more than 0.5 points and as a result they performed better than the non-minority students. We conclude that contemplative pedagogies might promote inclusivity in STEM fields.

Presenter(s): Arlette Baljon

Disconnect to Connect - A Campus-wide Digital Fast

Data is overflowing out of our phones, cars, watches, and computers day and night. We are often unconscious of the data that is transmitted and tracked. This poster describes Disconnect to Connect, a large scale, digital fast that I design and lead annually on my campus. Participants attempt to mindfully refrain from transmitting data for 24-hours. The project focuses on preventing data transmission as well as fostering real-time, unmediated connections between people. We investigate our current relationships to online privacy and empowering ourselves to make conscious choices about the digital technologies we use. The absurdity of this low-brow, defensive response to wide-scale data collection, is readily apparent. As such, Disconnect to Connect is not a solution to a problem, but rather, a social experiment, a boycott and conceptual artwork that gives us a new way of seeing ourselves and the worlds we live in.

Presenter(s): Sarah Berkeley

Contemplative Pedagogy in Sustainability Education: Compassion, Connection, and Social Change

This poster presentation will engage participants in meaningful conversation around social equity, sustainability education, and how contemplative practices can be used to address injustice. In our Sustainable Food & Farming program in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst, we use contemplative pedagogy to foster connection. Through this integration of contemplative, nature-based, and transformative pedagogies, students develop a deeper connection with nature, their communities, values, and bodies. Connection to nature and conversations around sustainability are at the core of what we do in our program. However, with sustainability gaining traction throughout higher education,these practices can be used across disciplines. Environmental Integrity and Economic Vitality tend to be the aspects evaluated when examining sustainability. We use contemplative practices to engage with the often forgotten Social Equity element of sustainability, cultivating compassion to create more just communities.

Presenter(s): Sarah Berquist

A Descriptive Survey and Analysis of the Effectiveness of Mindfulness Programs in Schools

The focus of this study is the identification of programs and practices that are most effective in addressing a variety of needs and issues in middle and high school students from varying social and ethnic contexts. These issues include but are not limited to: 1) anxiety; 2) stress; 3) attention, 4) compassion; 5) achievement; 6) mental health; and 7) physical health. This study addresses the issues of effectiveness and context to identify programs and program components that are most effective with students in promoting equitable opportunities and positive outcomes. The study reviewed extensive qualitative and quantitative data across programs and diverse populations. The final analysis will be completed this summer in time for the conference. This research has been supported by a Grant from The Ramapo College Foundation and the Krame Center for Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living.

Presenter(s): Carol Bowman

The “Feeling” of Democracy: Bodymind, Placemaking, Technologies and Public Intelligence

Francisco Varela and Humberto Maturana explored how we move from cells to organisms to human social systems continuously encased in and interacting with an ecosystem. John Dewey explored how we understand democratic practice as an experiential, evolutionary, cultural achievement. In this presentation we intergrate these two perspectives in order to provide an understanding of the continuous, active interconnection between bodymind, placemaking and democratic practice. This, we argue, can open up new pathways to 1) value bodymind/contemplative practice in relationship to placemaking, 2) engage with technological design/implementation/use and 3) participate in public policy making. In a time when individualistic, market-based principles are increasingly applied to all aspects of social life, technologies, and the environment, we hope this understanding can contribute to a deeper valuation of what Dewey has called “public intelligence,” the growing awareness that all knowledge is social knowledge in that it is relational, experiential, collective, experimental, moral and active.

Presenter(s): Carl Bybee, Shelby Stanovsek

The Power of the Virtual Classroom in Contemplative Education

This presentation will explore how virtual programs of higher education have the unique ability to harness the diverse geographic locations of their students and faculty to help each other bear witness to difficult experiences happening on a daily basis across the nation. The opportunities that arise for students to share lived experiences such as interning at an agency providing support to victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, or the experience of being pulled over before class due to racial profiling in Alabama, students can begin to humanize injustices and see it as not as something that happens to “others”, rather is alive in every classroom. By implementing a trauma-informed approach in the live virtual classroom, coupled with the use of mindfulness practices to increase wise and compassionate communication around systemic trauma, privilege, and oppression, we can assist students in connecting with one another on a deeper level, and in turn, create healing and momentum toward a more just society.

Presenter(s): Laura Cardinal

Teaching Resiliency Using a Retreat Format in the Baccalaureate Nursing Curriculum

Michigan State University is adopting active teaching strategies for integrative health therapies (IHT) into nursing curricula through participatory action and actively engaging student feedback. Through several previous iterations of teaching IHT in different formats, we discovered that students had almost no experience with contemplative thought and did not participate in regular and meaningful self-care. This impeded students’ ability to develop therapeutic relationships needed to deliver IHT. We have addressed this by establishing an embodied approach to learning IHT during a 6hour retreat that focuses on the students experience of IHT such as yoga, Qigong, meditation, self-compassion, deep listening and body work. This session has been refined and initial pedagogical strategies have been identified. We are still processing the retreat curricula, but would like to present our pedagogical approaches in their current state in order to open dialog with others teaching contemplative curriculum.

Presenter(s): Roxane Chan, Donna Moyer, Karla Palmer

Conscious Caring: Contemplative Perspectives on Caregiving in the Academy

Perspectives on the experience of giving/receiving care and how it can impact relationships, including spiritual growth and connection, will be discussed. Self-compassion and approaches to fostering expressing gratitude for accepting care will be shared, and ways of experiencing “mindful respite” for caregivers will be demonstrated. Participants will dialog around common experiences, including navigating their own caregiving experiences and how it impacts their academic roles. Additionally, students are increasingly balancing caregiving and educational commitments. Principles of mindfulness, gratitude, compassion, and positive aging as applied to caregiving inform this session, allowing participants to contribute to the evolving “Conscious Caring” concept presented at the last Parliament of the World’s Religions. Rituals for honoring the challenges of caregiving are created to foster continuity and connection to the experience of building and sustaining a community dedicated to compassionate care.

Presenter(s): Connie Corley

Can Eastern Contemplative Practices Contribute to Social Justice?: Student Perspectives

Eastern contemplative practices and health perspectives have gained increased interest in the US, but have not substantially engaged with issues of social and environmental justice (SEJ). Undergraduate students from a diverse university enrolled in an Eastern Health perspectives class wrote reflective essays addressing how course content may contribute to SEJ. Using 25 student essays, we applied a descriptive qualitative approach to examine course ideas related to SEJ. Students described how mindfulness and compassion meditations could reduce social inequalities and anger in politics and promote openness to divergent viewpoints on polarizing social issues, such as racism and economic equity. Students discussed ideas of interconnectedness and balance with nature as resources to harmonize interpersonal relationships and improve tolerance across social groups. Results provide insight into student understanding of the multiple relationships between Eastern Health perspectives and SEJ.

Presenter(s): Jennifer Daubenmier, Christopher Koeing, Zhibin Liu (unable to attend)

Balancing Being, Knowledge, and Power to Decolonizing Psychic Reality—In and out of Classrooms

Conversation can create intimacy and awareness of diverse worldviews; contemplation can let deeper facets of an issue emerge. But unconscious microaggressions belittle their target unfairly, preclude trust, and stifle learning for all concerned.

The colonized self is in thrall to a psychic reality unconsciously internalized in reaction to a violent and unjust world. But we created our psychic reality, so we can dismantle and get free from it–moment by moment. This is a struggle, but brings the joy of release.

We can cover the curriculum while fostering deep and lasting learning through conversation and contemplation if we balance being, knowledge, power through critical pedagogy and constant power sharing between all participants.

Presenter(s): Stephen DeGiulio

Habits of Mind: A Case Study of Three Teachers' Experiences with a Mindfulness-Based Intervention

K-12 teachers encounter numerous occupational stressors as part of their profession, and these stressors place them at risk of job-related stress and burnout. This study examined a mindfulness-based intervention (MBI) for teachers, Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE). Employing qualitative case study methodology, the study investigated how participants perceived the intervention immediately after completion and how they utilized it at a five-month follow-up. This study reveals that participants identified immediate and longer-term benefits, with aspects of compassion, adaptability, and community emerging as important factors in MBI interventions for teachers. The study concludes with recommendations on how to strengthen MBIs as professional development protocols and identifies areas for future research on how MBIs might further influence teacher performance.

Presenter(s): Molly Dunn

The Heart Checks Project: Identifying and Affirming Purpose through Journaling

The Supplemental Instruction Program at San Francisco State University offers 1-unit courses that support “large lecture” science classes. In these courses, students work collaboratively to solve challenging questions. Undergraduates facilitate these courses and foster a learning community where students can share their struggles and successes, as well as identify sources of support. Students also learn strategies that will help them develop into self-directed learners. One of the strategies implemented in Spring 2017 was weekly journaling. In the “Heart Check Journals,” students spent 5-10 min each week responding to questions that were designed to affirm their values and purpose for studying science in college. Students also identified their own cultural wealth and resources available to help them reach their purpose. Student participants responded favorably to this contemplative activity, with many describing how this short weekly activity helped them stay focused on their path to a science degree.

Presenter(s): Alegra Eroy-Reveles, Imani Davis, Isela Hernandez

Cultivating Reflective Teaching for Integrative Learning in Higher Education

In the era of productive workforce culture, where the pressure of competitiveness is ever increasing, have the purpose of education changed? Is education no longer concerned with the deep philosophical questions, such as “what virtue is?” Here, I will argue that although time has changed, Gen Z seeks what our ancestors sought – namely, a holistic education where the real importance lies at the individual level. In those students introduced to its empowerment, integrative education opens up the countless possibilities for self-transformation and self-drive. By introducing tools in real-time to manage obstacles, such as: impatience, insecurities, self-esteem, and poor study habits, it bestows work-ethic, confidence, and faith in higher-education specifically and in higher-employment generally.

Presenter(s): Peace Ezeh, Mays Imad, Cody Trego, Shekeycha Ward, Jenna Wild, Erin Wildermuth

The 12 D's: Diversity Principles for Interaction and Transformative Change

Opportunities for learning related to social justice exist in multiple forms and contexts ranging from college courses to trainings within professional programs, workplaces, and community organizations. Diversity-related interactions in these contexts can be emotional and conflictual. The 12 Ds are principles for structured interactions around issues of diversity. They are grouped into three clusters based on a larger model hypothesizing three core change processes that facilitate development and transformation. The Awareness/Contemplative cluster emphasizes experiential awareness and critical consciousness and includes the Deepening, Developmental, Dialectic, and Deconstruction Principles. The D’s within the Allies/Communal cluster emphasize relationship and interconnectedness and include the Dignity, Dare, Dialogue and Drawing-Near Principles. The third cluster, Action/Empowerment focuses on creative, committed action and includes the Declaration, Dynamic, Dream, and Design & Do Principles.

Presenter(s): Shelly Harrell

Collective Wisdom Emergence: A Communal-Contemplative Practice for Groups

Collective Wisdom Emergence (CWE; pronounced “see-we”) is a dialogic strategy that draws upon both reflective and relational processes to strengthen connection and guide action related to targeted concepts. The CWE practice utilizes thematically-focused quotations, proverbs, and excerpts from poetry and song lyrics to serve as stimuli for the emergence of the group’s collective wisdom on concepts and issues identified as relevant to the group’s purpose. An overview of the elements of CWE practice will be presented including guided meditation, focused group dialogue, body expression, integrative reflection, and creative application. The practice deepens understanding and experiential awareness through sharing lived experience in a group setting. Example concepts from a resilience-oriented stress management group include empowerment, liberation, creativity, meaning, groundedness, and compassion. Implications for teaching and training related to social justice will be identified.

Presenter(s): Shelly Harrell, Brenna Moore, Francesca Parker, Mihaela Schneider, Jessica Styles

Being Present with the Past: Local History Fosters Refugee Integration

In 2014 alone, nearly 70,000 refugees from Africa, Southwest and Southeast Asia, and Latin America were accepted into the United States. More than 1,800 were resettled in Colorado, where they struggle to learn English, find employment, food and shelter, navigate government bureaucracies, earn citizenship, and relate to an unfamiliar culture and natural environment. The Roots Project – a community-engaged collaboration in Northern Colorado involving undergraduate students, a nonprofit refugee services center, and a local history museum – fosters integration through “being present with the past.” Hands-on encounters with Northern Colorado’s 19th and early 20th century immigrant heritage awaken a sense of the familiar in the minds and hearts of refugees. While a blacksmith’s forge, sawmill, and adobe house might be vestiges of a distant past to many locals, to refugees they evoke the homes they left behind, places imbued with both tragic and treasured memories.

Presenter(s): Mike Kimball

Miami University Mindfulness & Contemplative Inquiry Center 2011 to Now

This poster highlights the path to creating the Miami University Mindfulness & Contemplative Inquiry Center, our current offerings, and the particular ways in which the Center activities align with the radical changes required in higher education. The vision of Miami University’s Mindfulness and Contemplative Inquiry Center is to create a diverse and holistic community committed to embodied teaching, learning, and inquiry and engaged in transformative contemplative practices focused on heart, mind, body, and spirit.

Presenter(s): Suzanne Klatt

Experiences of Wisdom in an Undergraduate Mindfulness & Skillful Living Course at UH Manoa

The contemplative sciences in education movement suggest that in addition to cultivating knowledge (knowing what), institutions of higher education should also be cultivating ethics and wisdom (knowing how to be). This paper reports on the experiences and results of 54 undergraduate students who enrolled in a 16-week mindfulness & skillful living course at the University of Hawaii that aim to develop personal and social awareness. Students provided weekly reflections and an overall integrated personal reflection (mean words = 1,768) that were submitted to content and thematic coding. Results revealed a processual over substance philosophical orientation whereby experiences in wisdom were expressed as increasing awareness of emotional, thought, and action habits, and harmonizing in ways that provide for productive relations and connection. Contextual parameters for experiencing wisdom included a safe, inclusive, and open classroom.

Presenter(s): Thao Le

Contemplative Study with Data Mining Analytics

The contemplative brain activities entail traces of physiological measures. How can we build a scientific model with brain and physiological analytics? Using the current state-of-the-art technology, we will apply machine-learning algorithms to analyze brainwave data, and build a model to distinguish different brain states. We will compare minds of those who practice meditation with those who do not. We cost-effectively collect electroencephalographic (EEG) data, body conditions and brain states data. We will study how brain wave signals are consciously manipulated via controlled activities (e.g., mediation, idle and talking). With data mining and bioinformatics methods, we envision 1) to demonstrate that meditation is a verifiable and observable state of mind that can be monitored and predicted; 2) to establish “measurable” meditation methods and to apply scientific methodology to contemplative mind-body practices; 3) to apply predictive measures and powerful models to better-understand contemplative brain activities.

Presenter(s): Hong Lin, Qiu Wang (unable to attend)

Hypnogogic and Mindfulness States in Mobile Virtual Reality and their Transformative Possibilities for Stress and Anxiety Management

For certain states of mental imbalance such as chronic stress and PTSD, a transformative proposition based on targeted visual and auditory stimuli in mobile Virtual Reality can bring about essential shifts in state. The goal is to work with integration of the repeated triggers through a program of 6-8 weeks until the nervous system has settled down and clarity of thought is attained.

Using hypnotherapeutic and mindfulness principles an experience produces a shift in self awareness that is then repeated for a period of 8-10 weeks for 8-10mins a day.

So far, the methodology has proven successful. It is an intuitive approach, which is almost self explanatory, but does need technological guidance for now. Ultimately the question remains of how much can we set up an environment to safely guide clients into a state of transformation from reactivity to environmental factors to response. This talk will look into explored and unexplored possibilities of this new technology as a mindfulness enhancing tool.

Presenter(s): Dorote Lucci

Feasibility of a Mindfulness-based Teaching Program in a University Setting

Objectives: Investigate whether a mindfulness based teaching intervention would increase mindfulness and self-compassion, reduce stress and burnout, and foster mindful teaching in a university setting. Methods: 27 participants enrolled in a six-week mindfulness based teaching program. Participants completed measures of mindfulness, mindfulness in teaching, self-compassion, perceived stress, and burnout pre-post program. Estimated marginal means models were used to examine changes over time. Results: Significant increases in mindfulness, self-compassion, and personal achievement and a decrease in perceived stress were observed. Interestingly, participants reported decreased intrapersonal mindfulness while teaching and increased burnout post-program.

Conclusions: Findings support the utility of mindfulness in promoting increased mindfulness, self-compassion, personal achievement and lowered perceived stress among university faculty.

Presenter(s): Michael Mackenzie, Alexis Mattei, Kathleen Pusecker (unable to attend)

Developing an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Contemplative Inquiry at a Liberal Arts College

As more U.S. colleges and universities offer degree programs in contemplative practices and inquiry, this poster will present our experiences and reflections on our work developing an Interdisciplinary Certificate in Contemplative Inquiry at the University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA). Rather than a unifying topic, around which a certificate focusing on food justice or social entrepreneurship might be organized, the method of contemplative inquiry forms the core of this certificate. By grouping courses taught using techniques of contemplative pedagogy at UNCA, the certificate enables students who wish to explore methods of contemplative inquiry in a coordinated program to have a place in our curriculum that supports their interests. As such, this core stretches across disciplines and uniquely allows a certificate to include and connect a broad range of courses. The poster will present our motivations, the process of developing the certificate, student learning outcomes, and lessons learned.

Presenter(s): Melissa Mahoney, Ameenda Batada

Sending and Receiving: Refugees, Migrants and the Complexities of Compassion

I will consider just one issue-the current unprecedented flow of refugees and migrants. The session will engage contemplative methods to look at economic, cultural and humanitarian issues associated with these movements of people. As a starting point, we examine the narratives of the people coming and the people receiving (or not); what is the impact on the sending and receiving countries? As we explore this more fully, differing and contradictory views may arise. Can we hold these views in a nonjudgmental way? Is there a way to engage socially and politically while holding this awareness?

Presenter(s): Vaishali Mamgain

Mandorla Painting: Birthing Possibilities in Challenging Times

The mandorla is an ancient archetypal symbol composed of two overlapping circles resulting in an almond shaped intersection. The center of the mandorla represents a highly energized birthing space with great creative potential. We use it as a teaching/learning tool when we are confronted with or want to explore paradox, polarities, or irreconcilable differences. The mandorla moves us to expand consciousness, consider our shadow, and foster a deeper ability to sit with discomfort to cultivate compassion for self and others. In combination with creative arts, the mandorla helps us face growing-up to the brokenness of our times and deepens our willingness to be present to each other’s lived experiences yet remain committed to healing what is within our reach. In this poster presentation we describe using the mandorla, meditation, the creative arts, and a group painting process to explore intersections in contemplative teaching/learning.

Presenter(s): Janet Marinelli, Carol Geisler

The Politics and Practices of Yoga: Centering Mindfulness in the First-Year Experience

This poster presents the research and development of “The Politics and Practices of Yoga,” a course that links First-Year programming with Composition. Over 10 credits, students critically examine the histories of yoga, its industries and communities in the US, and take local classes as participant-observers, in addition to all of the critical thinking and writing necessary for the general course outcomes. In this poster, I focus on how I integrated yoga and mindfulness practice as a foundational pedagogical backbone for the course. I present my research on how to prompt students to write about their experiences with contemplative practice, how to make the practices accessible for students with differing physical and emotion needs, how to frame the practices in a way that is secular, but is also honest about their connections with spiritual practice, and how to situate my own positionality, as a white American woman, teaching about a lineage that emerges from India and carries a particular imperial history.

Presenter(s): Alice Pedersen

Developing Contemplative Children for an International Social Service Program

In this paper the outcomes obtained from an intervention to kids as part of an international social service program will be presented.

The participants were children in the range age of 10 to 12 years old that were part of the PERAJ Program of the University of Quintana Roo in Mexico during the spring of 2012.

Our research was focused on identifying the changes that occurred in the children that were exposed to contemplative practices during a period of six weeks, according to their own perceptions, the perceptions of their parents and the observations of the researchers. Moreover, we intended to discover if children developed any kind of acceptance of these practices. By making this research we were looking to help educators to be aware about new tools that are emerging in order to support the learning process of their students.

Presenter(s): Argelia Pena-Aguilar, Monica Yolanda Alatorre (unable to attend)

Compassion in Action: Adapting Compassion Meditation Practices for Use in Social Justice/Anti-Oppression Education

Efforts to incorporate contemplative practices into higher education often focus on issues of student well-being and performance, sidestepping fundamental issues of the role of the individual in addressing difficult social issues of intolerance, oppression and exclusion.

Research traces our habits of intolerance to heuristics used to categorize others via social learning. Repeated experiences, or invoking of these heuristics, trigger neural networks in response to similar stimuli. Habitual judgements create preconscious forms of bias toward individuals based on socially constructed identities which are reified through systems of oppression such as racism.

Professionals in higher education have identified the need to address implicit bias in curricula, however common approaches can fail to decenter students from fixed identities/beliefs/biases and/or expose students to searing encounters with their own and others’ identities without providing concrete tools for managing the resulting interpsychic and inte

Presenter(s): Katie Querna, Marcia Meyers (unable to attend), Tanya Ranchigoda (unable to attend)

Summer Institute to Syllabus: Course Development for Social Work Education

An essential component of social work education is preparing students for the professional challenges they will face. Mindfulness is one approach social work students can embrace as they encounter the many complexities of their profession. Mindfulness supports students in their own deep reflection and transformative work addressing discrimination, oppression, and advocating for social justice.

This poster provides an overview of the process of course development. The central focus of the poster is to present an approach to developing a social work course grounded in mindfulness. The poster highlights course development beginning with my attendance at the Summer Institute (2017) to the creation and implementation of a course. The poster reviews current literature, addresses creation of course objectives, identifying a course text or reading materials, use of experiential learning, and development of course assignments.

Presenter(s): Sue Rickers

Contemplative Approaches to Research Methods

Evidence indicates that consistent application of contemplative practices in the classroom brings improvements in the affective dispositions needed for critical thinking, empathy, and transformative learning. Students who apply mindfulness through reflective interaction report increased respect for diversity, greater understanding of others, and even a sense of connectedness beyond conceptual disagreements. More research is needed, but have we as educators sufficiently turned the lens on ourselves when we plan research? What values and assumptions are embedded as we determine measures and questions? This poster will present a table of research methods that take us through our own conventional assumptions to reach a more contemplative (or reflexive) methodology for both qualitative and quantitative research.

Presenter(s): David Sable

Effects of a Brief Meditation Intervention in a University Setting

The purpose of this study is to examine whether a three-week meditation intervention will influence emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, and perceived stress. Method: Graduate-level students (N = 28) at a university in the Midwest were recruited into two groups of equal sizes. Participants in the treatment group were trained in Vipassana meditation and asked to practice at least 20 minutes daily for three weeks. The comparison group received no treatment. All participants were tested before and after the three-week intervention period on emotional intelligence, self-efficacy, and perceived stress. Results: The treatment group showed significant improvements in emotional intelligence and reductions in perceived stress, but not in self-efficacy. The comparison group showed no significant changes. Discussion: Findings are consistent with the literature. Lack of significant improvements in self-efficacy could be attributed to the short duration of the intervention. Future research is needed to examine longer intervention durations and daily practice requirements.

Presenter(s): Ryan L. Santens

Buddhist Liberal Arts Education, Contemplative Practice, and Social Justice

Dharma Realm Buddhist University is dedicated to liberal education in the broad Buddhist tradition, a tradition characterized by knowledge in the arts and sciences, self-cultivation, and the pursuit of wisdom.

DRBU is guided by the models of liberal arts education from both East and West, which hold self-knowledge rooted in virtue as their basis, insight and goodness as their outcomes, and benefiting others as their application. Recurring themes include the nature of human existence and consciousness, the workings of causality, and the interconnections between the personal, social, and natural worlds. Contemplative practices play a central role in the cultivation of wisdom and insight, and DRBU integrates practice into the university experience. The foundation of the liberal arts instills a breadth of learning that fosters sharp analysis, sound judgment, and informed choices— essential qualities for becoming responsible citizens of the world. With these goals, we actively seek to cultivate social justice.

Presenter(s): Jessica Samuels, Thao Phi

An Exploration of Major Life Change Through Daily Freewriting

Hundreds of thousands of people freewrite daily in an effort to write “Morning Pages,” a practice inspired by Julia Cameron’s popular self-help book, The Artist’s Way. This writing constitutes a kind of contemplative check-in, or self-inquiry, for these writers. Some have been writing daily for over 20 years and many report profound life changes as a result of their practice. This phenomenological and autoethnographic study attempts to understand the contemplative qualities of this writing and to discover how it facilitates change in their lives. After surveying over 100 writers, four especially rich examples of change credited to writing were chosen (one being the researcher herself). Each participant was interviewed and transcripts were distilled into a composite essence statement that was validated by everyone. The researcher’s own writing was also coded according to the statement and evidence was found to support its claims.

Presenter(s): Beck Tench

Building A Sustainable Contemplative Community: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach

Four years ago, convinced that people want deep learning, connection and meaning in their work, and that integration of contemplative pedagogical approaches on college campuses is core to meeting this need, several faculty members attended the ACMHE Summer Session on Contemplative Learning. They then embarked on a project introducing contemplative pedagogical practices at CSUSM, a diverse, mid-sized, public university with a strong commitment to social justice.

Our poster describes how contemplative pedagogical practices are being integrated throughout our university community– in classes, weekly meditation sessions, MBSR courses, faculty learning communities, and presentations for students, faculty, and staff. We also demonstrate how our educational mission, and our students’ learning experiences, are enhanced by these practices. Faculty from a range of disciplines will illustrate how contemplative strategies are used to deepen awareness, engagement, and connection.

Presenter(s): Jocelyn Ahlers, Ranjeeta Basu, Anne Randerson, Paul Stuher, Jacky Thomas, Marie Thomas

Illuminating Transformational Learning Through a Transdisciplinary Methodology

Modernist/empirical approaches to teaching and learning provide one lens into a transformational learning experience. How can a transdisciplinary world view illuminate a transformational approach to teaching and learning that acknowledges contemporary threads of transpersonal, integral, holistic, contemplative, spiritual and evolutionary approaches? In this poster, I will share my definitions, method and literature immersion related to this inquiry.

Presenter(s): Laurel Tien

Champions for (Contemplative) Change: Building a Network of Regenerative Leaders

Buffalo Niagara – an old “rust belt” region – is reinventing itself to meet the challenge of living well in an era of economic instability, social inequality, and the uncertainty of climate change ( We recognize that past patterns of extractive economic development have increased our collective vulnerability while hitting people of color and those living in poverty the hardest. Recognizing that contemplative practices can help us unlearn entrenched habits of harm while generating individual, collective, and ecological well-being, the Champions for Change program supports community leaders in developing awareness-based practices to advance regional regeneration. In 2017, practices included generative listening, the LENSES process of regenerative design (, and a new “Theory of [Contemplative] Change” approach to logic models. How might lessons learned inform other efforts to develop awareness-based leadership networks? What might this initiative learn from others?

Presenter(s): Elizabeth Walsh

Prevention of Student Compassion Fatigue in Campus Volunteer Centers

While numerous research studies have focused on the concepts of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction in helping professionals, little research applies these concepts to college students in campus volunteer or service programs. This study examined the effect of preventative education on reduction of student psychological and physiological distress. Fifteen college students read, discussed, and implemented psychological and contemplative strategies from Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others (Lipsky, 2009) and Overcoming Compassion Fatigue: A Practical Resilience Workbook (Teater & Ludgate, 2014). Outcome data was collected on coping skills, compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction. Results indicate that as a result of group participation, students experienced intrapersonal growth. This study points to ways of deepening the use of psychological and contemplative practices to benefit students in campus volunteer and service centers.

Presenter(s): Amanda Wyrick