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Thursday, June 19 • 11:30am - 12:20pm
CON5.01 – Mindfulness in the Academy – Transforming our Work and Ourselves ‘One Moment at a Time’ (Room A211)

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“Academia is wonderful: your life is so flexible – you can work those 80 hours a week anytime you want.”

A career as an academic was never a 9-5 Monday to Friday endeavour. Today, however, as the pace of our world moves increasingly faster and greater responsibilities are assigned to members of the academy, the need to pay attention to personal health and wellness, and to be mindful of how we engage with others has become more pressing. Students, faculty members and administrators are often stressed, struggling with attempts to balance the personal and the professional. In transforming our learning experiences, whether our own or those of our students, we need to first focus on transforming ourselves. Mindfulness offers opportunities to do so.

In this session, a faculty member and an educational developer discuss their own attempts to be more mindful in the academy with attention to mindfulness practices in the classroom as a way to foster community and deepen learning. Mindfulness and meditative practices in teaching and learning can result in greater psychological well-being for students, a greater degree of concentration, and improved academic performance (Shapiro, Brown, & Astin, 2008).

We will also share our experiences of creating a community of practice (Cox & Richlin, 2004) focused on mindfulness - a new initiative at our institution for faculty and staff.  In monthly gatherings, the group both practices mindfulness through meditation exercises, and engages in discussions about related resources and readings. In this session, we are interested in learning about similar initiatives at other institutions, and to facilitate a conversation about both the impetus for, and the outcomes of, such groups.

To date, much of the research and practice in mindfulness and education has been focused on K-12 teachers and students. Following our discussion, we will compile a list of shared resources on mindfulness in post-secondary education which will be distributed to all participants.

Thursday June 19, 2014 11:30am - 12:20pm EDT
A211 McArthur Hall

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