Summer Session on Contemplative Practices in Education

16th Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Practices in Education

August 2 – 6, 2020 (arrive Sunday afternoon, depart Thursday morning)
Smith College, Northampton, MA

Register Here

Residential rate (includes accommodations and all meals): $1080 Commuter rate (includes lunches & dinners): $760 ACMHE members receive a $50 discount on registration fees

A limited number of access grants of 50% off of registration are available: apply here, prior to registration. Access grants will be awarded on a rolling basis until grant funds are depleted. 


3/16/20 Update: At this time, we are still planning to hold the summer session as an in-person event at Smith College, as it is still too early to determine the best course of action for August. We will remain vigilant and make decisions as needed in order to protect the health and safety of our community. We know that this is a challenging time for many of us, and we want you to know that we are thinking of you with care. May you be well!  



The Summer Session offers a unique combination of course development, community building, experiential learning and time for practice. Past attendees have referred to it as their “yearly tune up,” as it is a chance for personal reflection and self-care, as well as pedagogical development. Newcomers to contemplative pedagogy and inquiry are encouraged to attend, as the Summer Session seeks to offer participants a foundation for developing contemplative approaches.

Through plenary presentations, small group work, and time for practice and self-reflection, participants will look at identity, meaning, and purpose in their roles as educators within higher education and beyond the academy. Attendees will engage in a range of guided practices including mindful movement, art-making, and dialogue. These are intended to prepare attendees for the deep inquiry and meaningful self-exploration we hope to foster during our time together.

The Summer Session is facilitated by a multidisciplinary team of educators with extensive experience across many aspects of higher education, providing guidance as you explore how to effectively and responsibly integrate contemplative practices into your educational environments. Presentations and discussions at Summer Sessions are often about topics such as social identity; culturally-relevant practices and pedagogy; undoing racism and other forms of oppression in the academy; self-care for educators; facing challenging contexts, and building communities of support and practice.

The 16th CMind Summer Session on Contemplative Practices in Education is primarily designed for those in higher education (faculty, staff, administrators, graduate students, and researchers), but attendance is open to all who are seeking to:

  • develop contemplative methods to inform their work within and beyond classroom settings;
  • examine their own unique identities and experiences to help create inclusive, responsive, inquiry-based learning environments;
  • deepen their personal practice; 
  • build friendships within a diverse, interdisciplinary community of scholar-practitioners.

The workshops will offer opportunities for:

  • personal and professional growth and development through contemplative practice, stimulating  discussions, and reflection;
  • working with practice to navigate through the complexities, uncertainties and possible discomforts of new learning experiences; 
  • Reconnection with old friends and forging new friendships with colleagues coming from diverse world-views and across many disciplines and types of institutions;
  • facilitating brave spaces to explore the connections between contemplative practice and social justice, and how that informs effective teaching and learning. 
  • A certificate of completion is available upon request.

It does NOT offer:

  • easy answers and step-by-step solutions; there is no single “how-to” that can be applied to this work.

Facilitator Information

Abegunde HamiltonDr. Maria Hamilton Abegunde writes poetry because it can and does change the world. For her, writing poetry is a spiritual path that can lead to political and social action. Abegunde is an ancestral priest in the Yoruba Òrìṣà tradition, a memory keeper, healing facilitator, and Reiki Master with a focus on the recovery and healing of memory from sentient bodies. 

Her research and creative work focus on inter-generational trauma and community healing through contemplative and arts-based practices. Excerpts from The Ariran’s Last Life, a Middle Passage memory-work, have been published in Let Spirit Speak!, Best African American Fiction, and The Kenyon Review. Her essays have been featured in The Journal for Liberal Arts and Sciences, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, nocturnes, and an upcoming volume on Black Arts Aesthetics and African Spirituality. Commissioned poems are featured in Be/Coming and Keeper of My Mothers’ Dreams, collaborative community exhibitions. Excerpts from Learning to Eat the Dead: Juba, USA, a manuscript that contemplates history, violence, and healing in South Sudan and the US, were selected as a COG poetry finalist by Juan Felipe Herrera and has been featured in Tupelo Quarterly and the Massachusetts Review.

She is a Cave Canem, Ragdale, Sacatar, and NEH institute fellow. She is the founding director of The Graduate Mentoring Center and is a visiting faculty member in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University Bloomington.


Joseph CroskeyJoseph Croskey has dedicated his professional career to public service. He has explored the art of leadership and works to inspire others to share their unique gifts with the world. Joseph holds a Master’s in Educational Technology Leadership from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. and he completed his undergraduate work in Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. He earned his PhD doing qualitative research on the benefits of mindfulness training for college students from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

He currently serves as a faculty member in the capacity of Director of the University Advising Services and the Director of the Act 101 Educational Opportunities Program and assistant director for Honors and at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. In the Army, Joseph completed one of the military’s premier leadership development programs, Ranger school, and served in Desert Storm. Joseph realized one dream to travel around the world when he worked with Semester at Sea in 2005,  learning from wise people all around the world. He has lived in Asia and Europe and worked for the US Army, a chemical company and a software company before finding his calling to serve in higher education.

He teaches mindfulness to a variety of organizations including the United Nations with the Peace on Purpose program, University of Pittsburgh, Holy Trinity Church and others. He also offers mindfulness and meditation courses on the Clarion University campus for the community. He wholeheartedly supports the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (SIYLI) mission as a certified teacher, to help develop wise and compassionate leaders in order to create the conditions for world peace. He is married to his sunshine, Kathleen Ellwood. They live at Camp Happy with a wonderful dog, Carson, and they have two adult daughters and a ‘little brother/son’.


Loretta PylesLoretta Pyles, PhD, is Professor at the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is also a meditation and yoga teacher, workshop leader, organizational consultant, and activist. She is the author of Healing Justice: Holistic Self-Care for Change Makers (Oxford University Press, 2018); Progressive Community Organizing: Transformative Practice in a Globalizing World (3rd edition forthcoming, Routledge Press); and co-editor of Holistic Engagement: Transformative Social Work Education in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2016). Her research has focused on violence against women, social, economic and environmental justice, globalization and development, disaster resilience, and body-mind-spirit practices and has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

Loretta has been engaged with body-mind-spirit practices for 20 years and draws from her training in Buddhist meditation practices including zen and vipassana, as well as from her work in feminist and other kinds of organizing. She is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher in the Kripalu yoga tradition and has additional training in trauma sensitive yoga. She continues to study with teachers and to be curious about the connections between personal and social change.


Summer Session Chair

Kerr MesnerKerr Mesner, PhD, is a Visiting Assistant Professor: Women’s and Gender Studies, at Wells College, a queer theologian, a theatre performer and educator, and an activist. Kerr’s current areas of research and writing include anti-oppressive approaches to education, transgender studies, gender and sexual diversity in education, arts-based educational research, and contemplative educational practices. Kerr brings a background in theology, pastoral ministry, professional musical theatre, and queer activism to these current areas of research.



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