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Contemplative Pedagogy Program

Integrating contemplation pedagogy into UVa courses


Contemplative pedagogy—the integration of reflective or meditative practices into higher education—has been shown to boost concentration and improve cognitive and academic performance. Studies also indicate that this integrative approach increases capacities such as self-awareness, creativity, empathy, compassion, and interpersonal skills.

With funding support from the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) and the Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC), the Teaching Resource Center is pleased to announce a Contemplative Pedagogy Program designed to support UVa faculty members wishing to systematically integrate contemplation into their courses. Members of this learning community will engage in a program of activities including: attend the TRC’s Course Design Institute (CDI); design a new or redesign an existing course utilizing contemplative pedagogy and integrative design principles; participate in monthly learning community meetings in fall 2013; and consult with TRC faculty.

This program will support up to seven faculty members who will (re-)design and teach the new course during the fall or spring semester. Each participant may apply for small grants of up to $550 to support the implementation and assessment of their courses (details below).

To receive full consideration for the Contemplative Pedagogy Program, apply before Friday, April 12 (details below).

The Contemplative Pedagogy Program will particularly appeal to instructors committed to enhancing the cognitive and academic performance of their students, to fostering self-awareness and creativity, and to assisting students in their search for meaning and purpose. Any full‐time faculty member (tenured, tenure‐track, or non‐tenure‐track) from any academic rank and from any discipline may apply. Instructors who are open to learning-centered approaches to teaching and those willing to fully and actively participate in a small, structured learning community are especially sought. Preference will be given to instructors committed to taking an evidence-based approach to teaching.

Expectations of Participants
Participants will:

  • apply to and attend the TRC’s five-day Course Design Institute (May 20-24, 2013) and form a Contemplative Pedagogy Learning Team to 1) develop learning objectives rooted in contemplative pedagogy, 2) identify common challenges to academic learning and examine how CP approaches can be used to overcome these, 3) design well integrated activities that support students academic, cognitive, and personal growth and 4) create a variety of learning-centered assessments to measure the impact of CP. Participants are required to pay for CDI (approximately $875) using their annual Education Benefit.
  • teach their course in the 2013-14 fall or spring semester;
  • develop a continuous improvement plan and systematically assess student learning in their course;
  • participate in on-going learning community meetings that begin just before the CDI and meet every month during the fall 2013 semester;
  • participate in on-going assessment of their course, to include, for example, in-class observations, surveys, interviews, and/or focus groups;
  • consult regularly with TRC faculty;
  • make relevant course materials available to the TRC, the Contemplative Sciences Center and the Association of Contemplative Mind in Higher Education.

In the future, we hope that participants will be interested in consulting with other faculty on contemplative approaches and sharing their knowledge and insight with the broader UVa community.

Course Implementation and Assessment Grants
Each participant can apply for small grants of up to $550 to support the implementation and assessment of their courses (e.g. student support, computer hardware and software, travel, etc.) All funds must be spent by March 15, 2014.

If you are interested in participating, please:

  • complete the online application for the Course Design Institute by the Friday April 12, 2013 priority deadline and check the box indicating that you’re applying for the Contemplative Pedagogy Learning Community
  • after completing the online application, email Dorothe Bach ( with a brief statement (200-300 words) about your interest in this year-long learning community
    • why do you want to participate?
    • why do you think your students would learn better if this course would include contemplative practices?
    • how do you see yourself contributing to this learning community?
    • what is your level of experience with contemplative pedagogy?
    • do you have a regular contemplative practice? what type? how often do you practice?

Email or call Dorothe Bach (; 434-982-2800).