Contemplative Pedagogy Summer Sessions

The Eleventh Annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy

August 2 – 7, 2015, at Smith College, Northampton, MA
Application Process | Costs | Accommodations & Meals | 2015 Summer Session Faculty

Sorry, Applications Are Now Closed
Applications were accepted through Monday, April 6th.

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. Facilitated by a multidisciplinary team of leading academics, it prepares higher education professionals with resources to support innovation in curriculum development, course design and the incorporation of contemplative awareness and practice within all aspects of higher education.

We invite educators and professionals from all higher education disciplines and offices (e.g. counseling, student affairs, athletics, administration) to apply to participate in the 2015 Summer Session. We seek applicants with a breadth and depth of experience from diverse personal and professional backgrounds, including, but not limited to, racial, ethnic, and gender identity; types of institutions; and disciplines and positions in higher education.

Contemplative practice sessions led by faculty members will be a core experience during the week-long session, offering participants a chance to explore a variety of practices and learn methods for incorporating them into college classrooms and campuses. Participants will also have the opportunity to engage in daily contemplative movement sessions in the form of tai chi, yoga, and Authentic Movement.

During faculty-led presentations and small-group discussions, we will explore the rationale for contemplative approaches and how to communicate with students and colleagues about their inclusion. This year’s Summer Session will include sessions on the use of contemplative practices to cultivate awareness and compassion in students; contemplative arts and writing; assessment of contemplative pedagogy and related research; and the relationship between personal inquiry and engaged action.

Last year the Summer Session gathered a group of roughly 110 participants, presenters, and staff. Small breakout groups led by faculty will be held in the afternoons to allow participants to deepen their exploration and understanding of different contemplative methods and practices.

Application Process

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. Applications will be reviewed after the April 6th deadline, and notifications will be sent out by April 24th.


$995 with meals and accommodations at Smith College
$635 for commuters (includes lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday)

ACMHE members receive a $50 discount; limited financial aid (awards of up to 50% of the program fee) will be available.
An application for financial aid will be available to accepted participants.

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.

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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

2015 Summer Session Faculty

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.

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 was educated at Harvard College, and at Sarah Lawrence College, where she received the M.F.A. degree in Writing.  In 1988, she became a founding member of the Dark Room Collective and co-curator of its Dark Room Reading Series, which presented over 100 established and emerging writers, musicians, and visual artists of color to audiences in the Boston area. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad¾including Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Best American Poetry, Callaloo, 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, Bittersweet: Contemporary Black Women’s Poetry (UK), Dance the Guns to Silence (UK), and Agenda (South Africa), among others. Ash, her first collection of poems, was selected by Sonia Sanchez for the Barnard Women Poets Prize and was published by Beacon Press in 2001. Her writings have also been featured in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and the Skylight Gallery in New York, and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Her commissioned piece “Everyone Is a Mirror” was featured in the catalogue for the exhibition Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. For many years she was a contributing editor of Callaloo, the journal of African diasporan arts and letters. She has received awards and residencies from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the D. C. Commission on the Arts, the Gell Writers’ Center, the MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She has also been a Bruce McEver Visiting Chair in Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology and writer-in-residence at Fisk University, Wheaton College, the University of Notre Dame, the University of California at Davis, the California Institute of the Arts, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She has taught creative writing at Spelman College since 2003 and served as a community board member of Poetry Atlanta since 2006. 
Yin Mei is a choreographer, dancer, and director known for her work that bridges geographic, technological, artistic and cultural divides. Yin Mei grew up in China and was a principal dancer with the Hong Kong Dance Company during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. After moving to New York City 30 years ago, Yin Mei developed an interest in exploring themes of artistic and spiritual significance arising in the intersection between Asian traditional performance and Western contemporary dance through a unique dance style employing Chinese energy direction and spatial principles. Yin Mei has been a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Fulbright Fellowship, and the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, the Choreography Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts, was nominated twice for a Cal-Arts Alpert Award in Choreography, and her productions have been supported by grants from Rockefeller MAP Fund, New England Foundation National Dance Project, Creative Capital, Meet the Composer, Live Music for Dance, Greenwall Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Yin Mei’s recent works include “The Seven Sages of Bamboo Grove” for the Hong Kong Dance Company, Opera “Nixon in China” at the Theater du Chatelet, Paris, “Antonioni in China,” at the Asia Society New York, “A Scent of time” for the Beijing Dance Academy, and a collaboration with the Ningbo Dance Company on a traditional Chinese Dance Drama, “The Red Dress,” was performed in Lincoln Center David Koch Theater. Yin  Mei’s work has also been presented at venues in New York City, US and China. Yin Mei grew up in China and was a principal dancer with the Hong Kong Dance Company. She is now a professor and director of dance at Queens College, City University of  New York, and artistic director of YINMEIDANCE.

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


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