Summer Session on Contemplative Learning

13th Annual Summer Session on
Contemplative Learning in Higher Education

Sunday, August 6 – Friday, August 11, 2017
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Volunteers Needed!
Email Maya Elinevsky to learn more and volunteer.

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 in Higher Education, 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.

The design of the Summer Session is grounded in the literature on foundational and cutting edge approaches to learner-centered contemplative education, and learning experiences during the week will model promising practices in the field.  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.


Attendance at the Summer Session is by application. Apply by Wednesday, March 15th!

2017 Summer Session Faculty

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.
Edward J. Brantmeier, Ph. D is an Associate Professor in the Learning, Technology, and Leadership Education Department and an Assistant Director of the Center for Faculty Innovation at James Madison University, U.S.A. With over fifteen years of combined experience in k-12 teacher education, educational leadership preparation, and university faculty development, he lives his career mission, “growing people to change society.” In addition to university faculty development, Ed teaches foundations, multicultural, and cross-cultural education courses to K-12 educators and future administrators. He currently is teaching his dream course–Inclusive Leadership for Sustainable Peace.

Ed is co-editor of several books: Transforming Education for Peace; Spirituality, Religion, and Peace Education; Re-Envisioning Higher Education: Embodied Pathways to Wisdom and Social Transformation; and 147 Tips for Teaching Peace and Reconciliation. He is co-writing a book on culturally competent engagement and co-editing a book on pedagogy of vulnerability. In 2009, he was a Fulbright-Nehru lecturing scholar in peace studies at the Malaviya Centre for Peace Research at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India. A student of contemplative practices for over twenty years, Ed facilitates for Madison Meditates and integrates contemplative practices into his courses with students and into faculty programs at James Madison University (JMU). He is a co-founder of the Initiative for Contemplative Study at Practice at JMU and is an energized member of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education. Outside of work, Ed enjoys precious time with his family, organic gardening, hiking, and creating global fusion music.

Dr. Ram Mahalingam is Associate Professor of Psychology in the School of Education at University of Michigan. His research focuses on cultural psychology of caste, immigration and gender. He examines the relationship between power, representation of social groups, and psychological well-being. In one line of research, he studies how gender discrimination and extreme son preference affect the psychological well-being of men and women in India. In another line of research, he studies the relationship between privileged social status (e.g., race and caste) and representations of social categories. His research on immigration investigates the relationship between Model Minority Myth, gender beliefs, perceived discrimination, and psychological well-being of Asian immigrants.

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