Summer Session on Contemplative Higher Education

the 13th Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Higher Education

August 6 – 11, 2017, at Smith College, Northampton, MA

SAVE THE DATE! Applications will open in early 2017.

If you are local to Northampton, MA, and would like to volunteer your time at the 2017 Summer Session,
please contact Maya Elinevsky at


The Summer Session on Contemplative Higher Education is a week-long intensive that prepares higher education professionals with resources to: support innovation in curriculum development; create inclusive, inquiry-based environments in the classroom and on campus; and incorporate contemplative awareness and practice within all aspects of higher education.

We invite educators, researchers, students, and professionals from all higher education disciplines and offices (e.g., counseling, student affairs, athletics, administration) to apply to participate in the 2017 Summer Session. We seek applicants with a breadth and depth of experience from diverse personal and academic backgrounds, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic, and gender identity; types of institutions; and disciplines and positions in higher education. 

Each Summer Session is facilitated by a multidisciplinary team of educators and administrators with extensive experience across many aspects of higher education. The Summer Session faculty lead presentations, breakout groups, and contemplative practice sessions which form the core experience of the week, allowing participants to deepen their understanding of a variety of contemplative practices and explore methods for incorporating them into college classrooms and campuses. Each day offers a variety of opportunities for professional development, but the Summer Session is also a time for personal development. It offers a chance to engage deeply with contemplative practices, to reconnect with old friends, and to forge new connections with like-minded colleagues from across many disciplines.

Participants are required to read Contemplative Practices in Higher Education (Barbezat & Bush, 2013) before attending the program in order to help establish a common understanding and vocabulary.

Presentations for 2017 will be announced. Presentations at Summer Session 2016 Included…

“Taking the Body’s Intelligence Seriously: Embodied Cognition and Healing in Body-based Contemplative Practices”
by Cathy Kerr

Radical Contemplative Pedagogy; Or Does Black Mindfulness Matter Here? Further Along the Road Past ‘Tokenism’ and ‘Diversity’ in the Movement for Justice in Contemplative Pedagogy”
by Rhonda Magee

“Musings on Body-Identification and the Epidermal Fetish”
by Rhonda Sackey-Milligan

“Contemplative Inquiry”
by Arthur Zajonc

Read more about last year’s Summer Session Faculty

2017 Registration Fees will be announced.
For your reference, the 2016 costs were: $1,015 with meals and accommodations at Smith College; $655 for commuters (includes lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday)

ACMHE members are eligible for a $50 discount, and limited financial aid of up to 50% of the program fee will be available.


Traveling to Smith College

When using GPS, the exact address of Cutter/Ziskind is:
79 Elm Street (Cutter) OR 91 Elm Street (Ziskind), Northampton MA 01060

Smith College campus map

From the South: Northampton is on Route I-91 in Massachusetts. Take Exit 18, and follow Route 5 north into the center of town. Turn left onto Route 9 (Main Street). Stay on Route 9 and go straight through four traffic lights (the road will curve to the right and go up a small hill).

From the North: From I-91 South, take Exit 20, and follow onto Route 5 south into the center of town. At the intersection of Route 5 and Route 9 (Main Street), turn right onto Route 9 west. Then follow the same directions as above.

From the East or West via the Massachusetts Turnpike: Northampton is on Route I-91 North (Mass Pike exit 4). Once on I-91, follow the directions above for visitors from the south.

Parking: A parking pass will be emailed to you. Please print it out and place it in your car window. The parking pass is valid for all white-lined spaces.

The closest airport is Bradley International (BDL). It is served by most major airlines and is located about 40 miles south of Northampton near Hartford, Connecticut; the driving route to Northampton is a straight shot north on I-91. Flying into Bradley rather than to Boston’s Logan Airport gives you a shorter drive to Northampton and spares you city traffic congestion. Allow at least 2 – 2 ½ hours to leave Northampton for your return flight: it takes about 40-50 minutes to drive to the airport (car rental returns may add 30 minutes), which leaves you ample time for check-in. Bradley Airport is a small, efficient operation, but peak travel hours may delay your check-in.

Transportation from airport:
Seemo Shuttle can be reached at 413-586-1120 or
Valley Transporter can be reached at (413) 253-1350. Rates are approximately $63 each way for shared service. The transporter runs from Boston, and it’s about $300; NYC is $385.
Alexus Taxi can be reached at (860) 869-5515 or
Michael’s Limousine and Transport Services can be reached at (413) 583-6392 or (800) 533-8470.

Peter Pan and Greyhound serve the area. Most routes go to the main bus terminal in Springfield, where you can catch another bus to Northampton. Buses run almost hourly between Springfield and Northampton. Smith College is a 5-minute walk or a short taxi ride from the bus station; the taxi station is right next to the Northampton bus depot.;

Amtrak (800-872-7245, runs trains to Springfield and now Northampton from various locations. From Springfield you can take a bus or get van service to Northampton from Valley Transporter. Valley Transporter requires advance reservations; call (413) 253-1350 or (800) 872-8752;

Rideshare Listserv
We will create a shared email list to help participants coordinate shared travel (shuttles, rental cars, rides offered, etc.) to and from Smith College. If you would like to request or offer a ride, you can send a message to and it will be forwarded to the group.

If you would like to unsubscribe from the list, you can do so at the bottom of this page: Or, let me know ( and I’ll remove you as soon as I’m able.

Please understand that we cannot make travel arrangements for you, but we are happy to answer your questions and assist however we are able.

If you have any questions, please contact Maya Elinevsky, Events Coordinator, at or at 413-582-0071.

at the Summer Session

2017 Faculty To Be Announced.

For your reference, the 2016 Summer Session Faculty were:

Daniel Barbezat is the Ward H. Patton 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, is Contemplative Practices in Higher Education: Powerful Methods to Transform Teaching and Learning.

Mirabai Bush  was a co-founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and served as Executive Director until 2008. She is now Senior Fellow.  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.

Katja Hahn d’Errico is Adjunct Professor of Social Justice in the College of Education at University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as, Faculty Director of the IMPACT: Service Learning Residential Academic Program. For the last 20 years Katja has integrated contemplative practice into her academic curriculum and leadership seminars. Contemplative practice guides her work beyond abstract academic theory into daily life. Katja’s ethos is to work with compassion towards a more just world within and without the academic world.
Catherine Kerr received a B.A. from Amherst College, and a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University. She was a postdoctoral fellow and Instructor at Harvard Medical School, where she received a career development award from the NIH to conduct research in the cognitive neuroscience of meditation. In 2011, she joined the Department of Family Medicine and the Contemplative Studies Initiative (for which she is Director of Translational Neuroscience) at Brown University. Her work has been published in Journal of Neuroscience, BMJ, Brain Research Bulletin and other journals, and has been covered in the New York Times, Technology Review and Forbes.
Rhonda Magee, J.D./M.A. Sociology, is Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, School of Law, and a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.  A full-time member at the Jesuit University of San Francisco since 1998, and a Full Professor since 2004, she has been named Dean’s Circle Research Scholar and has served as Co-Director of the University’s Center for Teaching Excellence.  She teaches Torts, Race, Law and Policy, and courses in Contemplative and Mindful Law and Law Practice.  She is a trained and practiced facilitator with an emphasis on mindful communication, having completed facilitator training through programs at the University of Massachusetts’s School of Medicine’s Oasis Teacher Training Institute, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Facilitator Training Program.  In April 2015, she was named a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute. 
Anna Neiman Passalacqua‘s earliest memories date back to practicing yoga with her mom and the Siddha Yoga community. In her 20’s she circled back to her yoga roots and discovered the power of a daily practice. Now decades in, Anna is a devoted student and teacher of yoga who spends much of her time working with her husband Brandt in their yoga school, Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy, and helping people make peace with food and their bodies with Peaceful Weight Loss™ through Yoga. When teaching group classes, she creates a supportive space for people of all abilities to align the body, open the breath, and calm the mind. Anna was formerly an executive assistant with Mirabai at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
Rose Sackey-Milligan, Ph.D. is a socio-cultural anthropologist, Program Officer and State Coordinator of various foundation-sponsored programs at the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.  She acquired thirteen years experience in social change philanthropy as the former Director of Programs at the Peace Development Fund. As Director of the Social Justice Program at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society and in association with cambio-Integral, she organized opportunities in workshop and retreat settings for grassroots social change community leaders to explore and discover the qualities of a transformative leader and how to achieve it through contemplative practices. Rose has studied and practiced the Afro-Cuban Yorùbá-derived Lùkùmí faith since 1992 and received full priesthood ordination in 1997.
Arthur Zajonc is President Emeritus 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