Summer Session on Contemplative Higher Education

the 12th Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Higher Education

August 7 – 12, 2016, at Smith College, Northampton, MA
Application Process | Costs | Accommodations & Meals | Summer Session Faculty
Accepting Applications Through March 11, 2016

Apply Here

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 2016 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. Last year’s gathering included about 120 total participants.


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.

This year’s Summer Session will include sessions on the use of contemplative practices to cultivate compassion and awareness in students; discipline-based contemplative methods and student engagement; somatic awareness and the neuroscience of contemplative practices; explorations into how our social identities and varying positions of privilege and marginalization affect teaching, learning, and institutional culture; and the relationship between personal inquiry, engaged action, and societal change.

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. A celebratory offering of art, music, dance, and poetry by participants will take place on the final evening. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in daily morning yoga sessions suitable for all levels of yoga experience.

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.

Application Process

Applications will be accepted through March 11, 2016: Apply Here. The Summer Session is able to host a limited number of participants due to space availability on campus.

Applications will be reviewed after the March 11th deadline, and notifications will be sent out by the end of March. Selections are based on our assessment of the program’s ability to serve your intentions for attending, as stated in your application.

To Apply: Complete the online form at

2016 Costs

$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.

Accommodations & Meals

This year, 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. It is recommended that participants with back problems, injuries, or other ailments bring additional padding for the dorm mattress.

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 Maya Elinevsky, Events Coordinator, at or at 413-582-0071.

at the Summer Session

The 2016 Summer Session Faculty

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 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.
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