Lessons From the Off Ramp

Posted on May 29, 2018

Lessons from the Off Ramp

An ACMHE webinar presented by Renée A. HillAssociate Professor of Philosophy & Interim Chair, Dept of History and Philosophy, Virginia State University
Originally broadcast on Wednesday, June 13th, 2018, 3 pm – 4 pm ET

The June 2018 Contemplative Education webinar was presented by Renée A. Hill, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Interim Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at Virginia State University. She writes:

From weeping over essays rife with grammatical errors and gaps in logic so wide you could march a battalion through, and threats to leave teaching and find a less stressful job, to students passionately arguing positions and declaring that this class had changed their lives, my teaching career has had more ups and downs than the bullet ride at an amusement park. I was done with teaching philosophy, and would no doubt be contentedly passing out carts at Walmart if it were not for CMind, which awarded me and two of my colleagues a Contemplative Practice Fellowship and showed me that contemplative practices could be married with philosophy and produce an energized college professor who would re-enter the ring (and mix metaphors!) and offer students mindfulness and reflection along with skepticism and reason.

This webinar is about what I have learned in the classroom over the last fifteen years about contemplative practices and what they can bring to learning and growth—both that of my students and my own. Contemplative practices saved my career, expanded my view of what I could offer my students, and supported the well-being of our campus with the addition of the Oasis, the Virginia State University Mindfulness/Meditation Center I started. Some experiments went really well—most of my students loved the class on the Meaning of Life which I developed, while others derailed spectacularly, like when I almost had a fistfight in the Philosophy of Peace. As I prepare to retire, however, and I look back over my summers spent in ACMHE faculty retreats, faithful attendance at ACMHE conferences, my own research into mindfulness pedagogy and the fruit of my own practices, I see that I have tried a variety of contemplative techniques, tweaked my classes over and over, and learned a lot about learning, teaching, and being at peace. Before I exit, I would like to offer the benefit of my experiences to you.

About the Presenter

Renée A. Hill is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Interim Chair of the Department of History and Philosophy at Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA. A long time meditator, she has taught courses on the Philosophy of Compassion and the Philosophy of Peace, both of which have contemplative practices heavily interwoven throughout, as well as stand-alone courses solely focused on contemplative practices. She has also infused contemplative practices in her other philosophy courses, been a Contemplative Practice fellow, and attended summer courses and conferences sponsored by CMind/ACMHE over the last twenty years. Beginning fall, 2016, Hill became the director of the Oasis, a mindfulness center on campus which offers a space for meditation, mindfulness, reflection, and contemplative movement.

About ACMHE Webinars

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (ACMHE) is an initiative of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind). The ACMHE’s free webinars allow you to view a live presentation online; you can listen to the presenter over your computer speakers, headphones, or VOIP headset, or by dialing in to the audio with your phone. Questions and comments may be submitted to the presenters during the webinar. We record our webinars and post them for public viewing on contemplativemind.org after the original air date. If you have any questions, please email info@contemplativemind.org.

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