Summer Sessions on Contemplative Pedagogy

the 12th Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy

August 7 – 12, 2016, at Smith College, Northampton, MA
Application Process | Costs | Accommodations & Meals | Summer Session Faculty

Save the date! More information and the application will be available in 2016.

Facilitated by a multidisciplinary team of leading academics, the Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy is an intensive week-long investigation into how contemplative practices support teaching, learning, and engaged action in post-secondary education.

Application Process

Applications will be available in 2016. The Summer Session is able to host a limited number of participants. Selections are based on our assessment of the program’s ability to serve your intentions for attending, as stated in your application.

2016 Costs: To Be Announced

For your reference: in 2015, the residential fee was $995 (with meals and accommodations at Smith College), or $635 for commuters (no overnight accommodations, but included lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday). 2016 prices are subject to change.

ACMHE members receive a $50 discount, and an application for financial aid will be available to accepted participants.

Accommodations & Meals

In 2016, residential participants will occupy Cutter-Ziskind House, which is located just across the street from the Campus Center, where all sessions will take place. Built in 1957, this dormitory was renovated in 2014 and is fully air-conditioned. Each room has a large window that runs the width of the room; each room is also equipped with a bed, dresser, closet, and desk. The wings of Cutter and Ziskind come together to form a courtyard.

Residential participants are provided private bedrooms, with shared bathrooms located on each floor.

cutterziskind-200 cutterziskind2

Meals will take place in the Cutter-Ziskind dining room. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided for residential participants, and lunch and dinner are provided for commuting participants. Special diets and food allergies can be accommodated.

A map of Smith College is available at

If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Palmer, Program Associate and Events Coordinator, at or at 413-582-0071.

at the Summer Session

The 2016 Summer Session faculty will be announced. Here are the 2015 Summer Session leaders:

Daniel Barbezat is Professor of Economics at Amherst College. He has been a visiting professor at Northwestern University and Yale University and has taught in the summer program at Harvard University. In 2004, he won the J. T. Hughes Prize for Excellence in Teaching Economic History from the Economic History Association.

Over the past decade, he has become interested in how self-awareness and introspection can be used in post-secondary education, economic decision-making and creating and sustaining well-being. With the support of a Contemplative Practice Fellowship in 2008, he has developed courses that integrate contemplative exercises designed to enable students to gain deeper understanding and insight. His approach to these economic classes has been featured in the Boston Globe, the U.S. News & World Report, as well as on the NPR program “Here & Now.”

Dr. Barbezat has worked with the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society–the national hub for contemplative teaching and learning, committed to the positive transformation of the higher education system by supporting the use of contemplative/introspective practices to create engaged learning environments–as a Board Member, Treasurer and Associate Director of the Academic Program since 2009. In 2012, he became the Executive Director of the Center. He has lectured and led workshops on contemplative learning and pedagogy throughout the United States and Canada and is actively working to expand and deepen the Center’s programs, making its work more accessible and transformative for all. His latest book, co-written with Mirabai Bush and published by Jossey-Bass in 2014, is Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning.

Stephanie Briggs is an Assistant Professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland, where she teaches Developmental English and English Composition I classes. In addition to English classes, for the past 15 years she’s taught and assisted in the long-term development of the college’s History of Hip Hop course. She is a graduate of the New School and New York University in New York City. Her program, “Be. Still. Move: Creative Contemplative Movement,” was developed using the teachings and various practices of a number of mindfulness practitioners. In 2006, Stephanie began exploring the use of movement and mindfulness in the college classroom after studying multi-disciplinary mindfulness practices, movement and vocalization with director/choreographer Meredith Monk. She also took Mudra Theater classes with Elaine Yuen, teacher and student of Chogyam Trungpa. She recently studied the research-to-performance methodology developed by teacher/poet Sekou Sundiata, and use his of storytelling and creative writing to create social engagement around social justice issues developed through his “America Project.” In addition, Stephanie studied combining arts, play, and mindfulness practice with Thich Nhat Hanh ordained Buddhist nun, Sister Jewel.

B. Grace Bullock, PhD is an intervention scientist, clinical practitioner, research consultant and founder of the International Science and Education Alliance. She has served as an Investigator on a number of large, NIH-funded, longitudinal intervention trials, and has managed large, multidisciplinary teams for over 20 years. She is interested in dynamic interface between evidence-based practice, neuroplasticity and contemplative teaching and learning. Grace specializes in the development of observational and audio-based coding systems, most notably the widely used Family Affective Attitude Rating Scale (FAARS), which she is currently modifying for use as a feedback and evaluation instrument in K-12, higher education and teacher preparation programs. She is also the developer of the Inquiry-Based Assessment Framework; a tool for students, educators and systems that builds on the principles of contemplative teaching and learning in the examination of individual-level change and programmatic outcomes. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed manuscripts, book chapters and articles, and has presented extensively at national and international conferences. She provides research, methodology, measurement and strategic planning consultation and contemplative instruction to individuals and clients in K-12, higher education and healthcare delivery settings. She is the contributing Editor for Science and Research at YogaU Online, faculty at Integrated Health Yoga Therapy, and the former Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy.
Mirabai Bush was a co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Executive Director until 2008. Under her direction, The Center developed its programs in education, law, business, and activism and its network of thousands of people integrating contemplative practice and perspective into their lives and work.

Mirabai holds a unique background of organizational management, teaching, and spiritual practice. A founding board member of the Seva Foundation, an international public health organization, she directed the Seva Guatemala Project, which supports sustainable agriculture and integrated community development. Also at Seva, she co-developed Sustaining Compassion, Sustaining the Earth, a series of retreats and events for grassroots environmental activists on the interconnection of spirit and action. She is co-author, with Ram Dass, of Compassion in Action: Setting Out on the Path of Service. She is editor of Contemplation Nation: How Ancient Practices Are Changing the Way We Live. Her latest book, co-written with Daniel Barbezat, is Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning.

Michelle Chatman is an anthropologist and assistant professor at UDC, where she teaches undergraduate course in cultural diversity, ethnography, and urban youth development. Michelle has been nurturing a burgeoning interest in contemplative practice for several years and became a member of ACHME in 2012. In 2013, the UDC General Education program was awarded a CCMS Contemplative Speaker series grant. Michelle was instrumental in organizing Nurturing the Stillness, a lecture and faculty retreat, made possible with grant funds. In January of 2013, Michelle facilitated an ACMHE webinar entitled “Using Contemplative Practice to Promote Well-Being and Social Justice Awareness.” She attended her first Summer Session in 2014, and recounts the experience as a “supremely special and transformative time.” Michelle currently serves on the ACMHE 2015 Annual Conference Steering Committee.

Her two decades of experience in the human services sector inspires her scholarship and service. Her research interest includes African Diasporic identity, urban inequality, and Black youth and women’s health and well-being. She has published articles on the psychosocial needs of Black women breast cancer patients and survivor and remains active in this domain through her work with The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, a cancer support organization that promotes alternative and integrative therapies. Her forthcoming work examines the impact of gentrification upon the Pan-African community in D.C.

Michelle is enthusiastic about spreading contemplative practices among her campus community. She has shared her “Coltrane Meditation” in Faculty Development sessions and in her classes. She is particularly interested in exploring the contemplative traditions in the African Diaspora and translating them into viable resources for HBCUs and public universities with diverse student populations. She also serves as Faculty Leader of the UDC Initiative in Civic Engagement and Equity (ICE-E), where she has begun introducing contemplative practices into the ICE-E Summer Internship program.

In addition to her teaching and community involvement, life is fulfilled by her husband and 7 their year old daughter. Also a vocalist, Michelle performs at cultural events in the DC area. A practitioner of the Yoruba/IFA belief system for 17 years, the teachings of this ancient tradition, along with Christian and metaphysical teachings, serve as the basis of her personal, contemplative practices.

Richard Chess is Professor of Literature and Language at UNC Asheville. He also directs UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies. Appointed in 2011 as UNC Asheville’s Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts & Sciences, his project has been to encourage and provide support for the use of contemplative practices in the classroom and in other areas of academic and student life at UNC Asheville. Activities so far have included establishing an annual conference/retreat called “Creating A Mindful Campus;” co-facilitating a faculty learning circle, now in its fifth year, on contemplative practices in the classroom; and working with faculty in many disciplines as well as members of the local community whose work is grounded in contemplative practices.

He is the author of three books of poetry, Tekiah, Chair in the Desert, and Third Temple. His work has appeared in a number of anthologies, including Best Spiritual Writing 2005. He is a regular contributor to “Good Letters,” a blog published by IMAGE: A Journal of Art, Faith, and Mystery, and his postings on “Good Letters” often describe and reflect on his experiences using contemplative practices in the classroom and in his own life. His “Good Letters” postings can be found here: A participant in both the first and third cohorts of the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program, he co-founded Asheville’s Jewish Meditation Group.

Katja Hahn d’Errico is Adjunct Professor of Social Justice Education and Faculty Director of the IMPACT! Service Learning Residential Academic Program in the Community Engagement and Service Learning Program (CESL) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A retired administrator with 20 years of experience teaching collective and cooperative business practices to undergraduate students, she has taught EDUC 691E Social Justice Issues in Education and offers a 1 credit seminar (692Q) in which students explore theory and connections between social justice work, religion and spirituality in an experiential setting. She co-authored two chapters in Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice(2007) and contributed a chapter in Transforming Campus Life (2001).
Anna Neiman Passalacqua‘s earliest memories date back to practicing yoga with her mom and the Siddha Yoga community. In her 20s she circled back to her yoga roots and discovered the power of a daily practice. Anna became certified in the Prana Yoga and Peaceful Weight Loss through Yoga methods. She is a devoted student and teacher inspired by the transforming qualities of yoga. She creates a supportive space for people of all sizes and abilities to align the body, open the breath, and calm the mind. In addition to teaching group yoga classes, make lifelong change. Based in Northampton, Massachusetts, Anna is the co-author of the 12 video series “At Home with Peaceful Weight Loss” and is also the co-director of Breathing Deeply with her husband Brandt. She was formerly an executive assistant at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
Paula Sager is a certified Alexander Technique teacher and has practiced the Discipline of Authentic Movement for 25 years. Working closely with mentors, Arthur Zajonc and Janet Adler, Paula has conducted research on the phenomenon of inter-relationship and intra-relationship in the development of witness consciousness. She is a faculty member of the Langer Mindfulness Institute, and Circles of Four, a program developing teachers of the Discipline of Authentic Movement.

Her long-time teaching practice focuses on embodied relational awareness in support of cognition, creativity, and presence in a wide range of professional fields. Paula is a board member of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and co-founder of The Mariposa Center, a non-profit organization that incorporates contemplative and somatic approaches to the teaching of early childhood education.

Sharan Strange teaches creative writing and facilitates meditation sessions for students, faculty, and staff at Spelman College. She has also been a Bruce McEver Visiting Chair in Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology and writer-in-residence at Fisk University, University of Notre Dame, California Institute of the Arts, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and several colleges and universities. Her poems have been published in the collection Ash, and in numerous journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad–including Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Best American Poetry, Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Temba Tupu! Africana Women’s Self-Portrait, The American Poetry Review, Dance the Guns to Silence (UK), and Agenda (South Africa), among others. Her essays have been featured in several journals, and other prose works and poems have been commissioned for exhibitions at the Whitney Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Skylight Gallery in New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. For many years she was a co-curator of the Dark Room Reading Series and contributing editor of Callaloo, the journal of African diasporan arts and letters. Currently, she serves as a community board member of Poetry Atlanta. 
Arthur Zajonc is President of the Mind & Life Institute in Hadley, Massachusetts and emeritus professor of physics at Amherst College. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. His research has included studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities and the contemplative traditions. He is author of the book, Catching the Light; co-author of The Quantum Challenge; and co-editor of Goethe’s Way of Science. In 2003, Zajonc was moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” Mind and Life Dialogue. The proceedings of this meeting were published under the title The Dalai Lama at MIT (Harvard UP 2006). Formerly the executive director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Zajonc has authored Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love, and has co-authored a book with Parker Palmer, The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal.


If you have any questions, please contact us at or at 413-582-0071.


Smith College Campus Center


Reports on Past Summer Sessions

2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2006 (sorry, our 2005 and 2007 reports are unavailable!)


2014 Summer Session ReportReport on the Tenth Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 3 – 8, 2014


2013-summersession-reportReport on the Ninth Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 4 – 9, 2013


Report on the 2012 Summer Session on Contemplative PedagogyReport on the Eighth Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy
Smith College, Northampton, MA
July 29 – August 3, 2012


Report on the 2011 Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum DevelopmentReport on the Seventh Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum Development
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 7 – 12, 2011


Report on the 2010 Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum DevelopmentReport on the 2010 Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum Development
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 8 – 13, 2010



Report on the 2009 Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum DevelopmentReport on the 2009 Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum Development
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 9 – 14, 2009



Report on the 2008 Summer Curriculum Development SessionReport on the 2008 Summer Curriculum Development Session
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 3 – 8, 2008



2006 Academic Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum DevelopmentReport on the 2006 Academic Summer Session on Contemplative Curriculum Development
Smith College, Northampton, MA
August 13 – 18, 2006