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Contemplative Pedagogy Program

Integrating contemplation pedagogy into UVa courses

Overview
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.

In collaboration with the Contemplative Sciences Center (CSC), the Teaching Resource Center is pleased to host for the second time a Contemplative Pedagogy learning community designed to support UVa faculty members wishing to systematically integrate contemplation into their courses. Participants will engage in a program of activities including: attend the TRC’s Course Design Institute (CDI); design a new course or redesign an existing course utilizing contemplative pedagogy and integrative design principles; participate in monthly learning community meetings in fall 2015 and spring 2016.

This program will support up to six faculty members who will (re-)design and teach the new course during the fall or spring semester. Each participant may apply for grants of up to $1,000 to support the implementation and assessment of their courses (details below).

To receive full consideration for the Contemplative Pedagogy Program, apply before Wednesday, April 8 (details below).

Eligibility
The Contemplative Pedagogy Program will particularly appeal to instructors committed to systematically integrate contemplative pedagogy into their courses. 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 (June 1–5, 2015) 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 $975) using their annual Education Benefit.
  • teach their course in the 2015–16 fall or spring semester;
  • develop a continuous improvement plan and systematically assess student learning in their course;
  • participate in on-going monthly learning community meetings during the 2015-2016 academic year;
  • participate in on-going assessment of their course, to include, for example, in-class observations, surveys, interviews, and/or focus groups; make relevant course materials available to the TRC and the Contemplative Sciences Center.

In the future, we hope that participants will be interested in 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 $1,000 to support the implementation and assessment of their courses (e.g. student support, computer hardware and software, travel, etc.) All funds become available in January and are dependent on full participation at meetings. Funds must be spent by May 15, 2016.

Application
If you are interested in participating, please complete these two steps by April 8, 2015:

  • complete the online application for the Course Design Institute and check the box indicating that you’re applying for the Contemplative Pedagogy Learning Community
  • email John Alexander (john@virginia.edu) 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?

Questions?
Email or call John Alexander (john@virginia.edu; 434-243-6619).