Summer Session on Contemplative Learning

14th Annual Summer Session on
Contemplative Learning


Save the Date!
Sunday, August 5 – Friday, August 10, 2018
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Applications and more information will be available in early 2018.

Our Beliefs

For two decades now, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society has supported higher education professionals in creating integrative, inclusive, and transformative learning spaces, in which each person can cultivate themselves in the fullest possible way. Our work is premised on two foundational beliefs:

  • faculty, staff, administrators, and students yearn for opportunities for deep learning, meaning, and connection in their work, and
  • the skillful integration of contemplative practices and approaches on college and university campuses are integral to meeting this call.

How do we design contemplative learning environments that are inclusive, meaningful, and transformative? Who am “I” in this work? Who are “we” in this work? How might contemplative learning transform the self, our relationships, campuses, society, and world?

These questions serve as anchors for inquiry throughout the Summer Session on Contemplative Learning, a six-day intensive designed to support you in

  • developing innovative courses, programs, or other initiatives on your campus;
  • creating inclusive, inquiry-based environments in the classroom and on campus;
  • and incorporating contemplative awareness and practice within all aspects of your work in higher education.

Whether you are an educator, student affairs professional, administrator, or student, we believe that the collaborative and inquiry-based environment of the Summer Session on Contemplative Learning can help you further a contemplative, socially just educational vision on your own campus.


Our Process

During the Summer Session, we come together to explore practical ways of teaching and learning most aligned with our deepest held values and aspirations.  The Summer Session is at once a space for professional development and personal retreat, and a time for forging and deepening connections with supportive colleagues in a wider community of practice. Central to the immersive experience of the Summer Session is the opportunity to practice and learn in a diverse, cross-disciplinary context that will support you in apprehending both the unique challenges and opportunities you face in your work as well as more universal learning and design principles. As a participant, you will explore core principles and methods of contemplative learning in collaborative group settings and through individual work pertaining to issues and projects specific to your course, program, or campus environment. Relationships are crucial to the work, and as a participant, you will be supported by an interdisciplinary team of Summer Session faculty, knowledgeable and caring CMind staff, and a community of motivated fellow participants.

The Summer Session is designed to be both challenging and rejuvenating, and each day will include opportunities for one-on-one mentoring and personal reflection as well as communal practices including yoga, meditation, deep listening, and other centering and insight practices.


Goals for Participants

The Summer Session is designed to expand participants’ pedagogical knowledge, foster community and personal growth, and deepen your sense of joy and purpose in your work.  During the Summer Session, you will…

  • Experience firsthand innovative approaches to contemplative learning in higher education and deepen your confidence and ability to apply such approaches in skillful ways in your own work setting;
  • Exchange knowledge and experience with an interdisciplinary and diverse community of contemplative educators, student affairs professionals, administrators, and students from around the U.S. and beyond; and
  • Clarify your deepest aspirations for your work and develop practical steps for furthering contemplative inquiry and learning on your campus and beyond.


The 2018 faculty/facilitators will be announced. Here is the 2017 faculty team:

Beth Berila, Ph.D. Director of the Women’s Studies Program, and Professor in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department, St. Cloud State University.

Beth is also a 500-hr registered yoga teacher and an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist. She is the author of the book Integrating Mindfulness into Anti-Oppression Pedagogy: Social Justice in Higher Education (Routledge, 2016). She co-edited Yoga, the Body, and Embodied Social Change: An Intersectional Feminist Analysis, with Melanie Klein and Chelsea Jackson Roberts, Ph.D. (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016). She served on the leadership team of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition for two years and is now a community partner. Her current projects merge yoga and meditation practices with feminism and mindful education to create a form of socially engaged embodied learning. Learn more at Check out her free resources at

Kakali Bhattacharya is an associate professor of qualitative research for the College of Education housed in the department of Educational Leadership at Kansas State University. Over the last decade she has integrated inquiry, contemplative approaches, creativity, and social justice work in her interdisciplinary scholarship, teaching, and service activities. Her work has opened up new spaces in interdisciplinary decolonizing work and qualitative research where creativity and contemplative approaches are legitimized and seen as necessary gateways for cultivating depth, expansive inquiry, and discovering critical insights. Her most recent publication in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education titled, “Mixing Mediums, Mixing Selves: Arts-based Contemplative Approaches to Border Crossings,” demonstrates how she draws from intersectional identities without bypassing the spiritual or the social justice component in decolonial qualitative work. Her recent book, coauthored with a former student, Kent Gillen, titled, Power, Race, and Higher Education: A Cross Cultural Parallel Narrative, has already been nominated for a major award, explores the difficult task of challenging whiteness as a mentor, who is a woman of color while working with a mentee, who is a white man, yet to understand the interplay various social structures of oppression and how he benefits from such play. The storytelling demonstrates an enactment of contemplative practices where deep inner journeys take place, relationships between self and other are explored, and an excavation of long-held wounds occur to demonstrate open-hearted vulnerability and transformative possibilities. Kakali finds the intersection of arts-based and contemplative approaches to be an intuitively obvious junction, opening up possibilities, that could awaken and inspire others to take on introspective journeys to produce, think about knowledge-making in novel ways, and engage in pedagogical practices that last beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Dr. Ram Mahalingam writes: Why do we build walls that prevent us from connecting to fellow human beings? Why do people mistreat others who are not like them? How do we respond when people treat us differently? What prevents us from seeing our connections to others, and to nature? How can we cultivate compassion and generosity, and realize the interconnected nature of our lives? My research program, in collaboration with my students, explores these questions in empirical studies with men, women, children, youth, transgender, lesbians, gays, transsexuals, and People of Color in different cultural contexts at the intersections of caste, race, ethnicity and immigrant status. My research focuses on four areas: (a) dignity in workplace; (b) mindful mindset and social justice: (c) mindful mindset and connection to nature; (d) cell phones and self. My project web site: MindfulConnections

Breakout Session Leaders

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.
Lenwood Hayman is an Assistant Professor of Health Education and Health Behavior in the Department of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Michigan – Flint. Trained as a Social-Health Psychologist, Lenwood’s research focuses on the social, psychological, structural, and environmental influences of emotional arousal in under-privileged populations. Specifically, Lenwood’s studies have focused on the influence of stress on the disparate rates of obesity in African American women and low-income families, the various negative consequences that result from poor mental health in African American men (i.e., mass incarceration, interpersonal violence, unprotected sexual promiscuity, alcohol/drug abuse, etc.), and academic achievement in first generation and non-traditional students. In efforts to develop a concerted effort to combat these issues, Lenwood established the Mindful Promotion of Healthy Emotions & Learning (Mind-PHEL) research team in which he and his colleagues study how mindfulness-based activities can inspire and maintain healthy eating behaviors, Black male mental health, and positive student learning outcomes.

Lenwood earned his Ph.D. from Wayne State University as a Graduate Research Fellow of the National Institutes of Health. Lenwood extended his expertise via postdoctoral training at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health, and later as a fellow of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development at the Center for Human Growth and Development, also at the University of Michigan.

Overall, as a recovering perfectionist and functioning practitioner, Lenwood is committed to maintaining the contemplative pursuit of a just society via his practice of lovingkindness.

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu balances Eastern and Western wisdom and science in Heartfulness–a way of living with mindfulness, compassion, and responsibility. His practice of designing healing communities in the U.S., Japan, and other parts of Asia integrates his transcultural life experience and training in East Asian medicine in Japan and clinical psychology at Harvard. He was professor and director of the International Center at the University of Tokyo and at Stanford is co-founder of LifeWorks, teaching diverse Heartfulness courses in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity and Health & Human Performance. Author of books in Japanese and English, his latest is From Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Transforming Self and Society with Compassion (January 2018).

at the Summer Session


If you have any questions, please contact Maya Elinevsky 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