Community College of Baltimore County
Project Lead: Stephanie Briggs
Project Title: Building Contemplative Communities With Students of Color
Practical Empowerment: Building Contemplative Communities With Students of Color is a year-long project focusing on fostering the creation and cohesiveness of a faculty/student contemplative community with six institutions: The Community College of Baltimore County, Virginia State University, Coppin State University, Howard University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of the District of Columbia. Participating faculty and staff investigate teaching and learning through compassionate contemplative practices that combine social and cultural interconnectedness; share insights with students on their home campuses; and develop student communities that engage in and assess the impact of contemplative practices on the students’ education and personal lives.
Stephanie Briggs is an assistant professor, English, at the Community College of Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland, where inclusiveness, celebrating community development, innovative teaching, and diversity of individuals and culture, ideas and viewpoints are core values. CCBC supports Stephanie’s research and assessment of embodied contemplative practices and how, when incorporated in the classroom, can have a long-term impact on student resiliency. She is also investigating how mindfulness practices can address race and gender inequities in STEM disciplines by encouraging nonreactive awareness between faculty and students. Stephanie currently facilitates CCBC’s Contemplative Communities Circle for faculty, staff, and administrators.
Stephanie Briggs is a graduate of New York University and the New School, both in New York City. As a mindfulness practitioner, she has studied the teachings of Chogyam Trungpa and the Shambhala tradition. In 1998, she began infusing meditation and movement into her work as a personal fitness trainer and later developed mindful programs and retreats for small groups, businesses, non-profits, and senior citizen programs. In 2006, she began exploring the use of movement and mindfulness in the college classroom studying movement and vocalization with director/choreographer Meredith Monk; Mudra Theater classes with Elaine Yuen, teacher and student of Chogyam Trungpa; the art of play, art, and mindfulness for people of color with Thich Nhat Hanh ordained Buddhist nun, Sister Jewel; and the research-to-performance storytelling to social engagement methodology developed by teacher/poet Sekou Sundiata. She has also completed her MBSR training with Gina Sager.
Personal story: As an assistant professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland, Stephanie teaches remedial reading and writing and English Composition courses, as well as the History of Hip Hop. In addition to teaching, she facilitated the college’s Contemplative Pedagogy Faculty Learning Community, designed the course, “Creating A Mindful Classroom: Setting Intentions,” for faculty members, and is currently facilitating a Contemplative Community Circle group for faculty, staff, and administrators interested in contemplative pedagogy, building community, and creating campus-wide student contemplative circle groups.
Stephanie has given a number of presentations based on her “Contemplative Compassionate Classrooms” series. Presentations include the Maryland Consortium for Adjunct Professional Development, “Be.Still.Move: Creating a Contemplative Classroom,” and Northern Kentucky University, “Creating a Compassionate Community: In the Classroom, Programming, and Professional Development.” In 2015 she served as faculty at the 11th Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy at Smith College, “Be.Still.Move: Being Culturally Responsive.” Her interest in the impact of contemplative practice in the STEM field, where she focuses on racial and gender inequities, include workshops at the 2016 Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM conference, “Creating a New Path: Mindfulness as Community and Life Management Skill,” and at the 7th Annual STEM Women of Color Conclave. She has also led numerous workshops on mindful/embodied movement at Howard University Hospital, Smith College, and Coppin State University.
In April 2016, Stephanie was invited, along with 23 fellows, by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society in partnership with the Fetzer Institute to engage in conversations towards creating a Building Communities Initiative focused on supporting and developing contemplative communities on college and university campuses. She also serves on the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society’s Diversity, Access, and Inclusion committee, is a committee member on the 8th annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education conference, and is on the Southeast Regional Mindfulness in Education conference committee.
Stephanie Briggs is the owner of Be.Still.Move., a program of mindful/contemplative embodied movement and arts-based learning. She continues experimenting with modes of movement and art as a form of engagement including drawing, tap dancing, and contemplative photography.