Background and Vision
Over the past few years, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society (CMind) has established strong relationships with Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) throughout the US and Canada. Teaching and Learning Centers exist within colleges and universities and work to improve teaching by providing faculty with training and resources. CTLs may also be referred to by other names, such as “faculty development centers,” “teaching and learning centers,” or “centers for teaching excellence.”
In the Fall of 2011, the Center sponsored an event at Amherst College with the leadership of the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) and a number of directors of CTLs. It was a very successful and exciting meeting, and we realized the powerful potential of working more closely with CTLs. In 2012, we gave two presentations at the POD conference in Atlanta (the annual conference of CTL professionals), and an article, co-written by Daniel Barbezat and Allison Pingree, was released in the annual POD publication, To Improve the Academy (Jossey-Bass).
Working with Centers for Teaching and Learning on college and university campuses is a highly effective means to reach across the curriculum and work with professionals who are committed to teaching excellence. CTLs have legitimacy on campuses and can easily reach hundreds of instructors across all disciplines and types of instruction. In addition, these centers are ideally situated to collect and assess the outcomes of the implementation of contemplative pedagogies, an area that is currently underdeveloped.
In 2013, we established our Contemplative Mind – 1440 Teaching and Learning Grants. Since then, we have provided $5,000 seed grants to 11 institutions, and funding to support visiting speakers on contemplative pedagogy at 12 additional institutions.
We envision that these grants will provide resources to CTLs so that they can support, develop, and extend the use of contemplative practices throughout their institutions and assess their impacts.
Barbezat, Daniel & Pingree, Allison. (2012). Contemplative Pedagogy: The Special Role of Teaching and Learning Centers.” In James E. Groccia and Laura Cruz (Eds.), To Improve the Academy, 31, 177-191. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Example Supported Activities
- Creation of faculty learning communities
- A weeklong on-campus course design institute
- Planning for and creation of Centers for Contemplative Pedagogy
- Sub-grants to faculty for course development
- CTL consultation with faculty in course development
- Sub-grants to faculty who wish to participate in CMind’s annual Summer Session on Contemplative Pedagogy
- Invited speakers
The 2015 Awardees
For a third year, the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society awarded grants to Centers for Teaching and Learning. These grants are made possible by funding from the 1440 Foundation. This year’s effort drew the greatest number of applications in the brief history of the program. The Center received 41 proposals from a wide variety of institutions in the US and abroad, which made for an exceptionally challenging selection process for our review committee.
In order to incorporate a more diverse set of perspectives into the grant review process, we selected a group of reviewers for the proposals. This review committee consisted of two past recipients of CTL grants, and two other individuals from our network with experience in contemplative pedagogy.
A new component of the 2015 grant program is the opportunity for current grant recipients to connect with past recipients through a mentoring program. In 2014, we held a meeting of past and current recipients at Amherst College in September, and all those who attended found it to be useful in planning or continuing their grant-funded programs. However, due to the logistical difficulties in bringing grant recipients together for an onsite meeting, we chose to instead offer mentoring opportunities via phone and video. This year’s grant recipients have been paired up with past recipients who can offer guidance and support for those embarking on a new contemplative pedagogy program.
2015 Review Committee
Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College
Kunaka Pearl Ratunil
Associate Professor of English, Harper College
Chair, Dept. of Health and Human Performance, Elon University
The 2014 Awardees
The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society is very pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of its Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) Grants and Invited Speaker Grants. We would like to thank you, our community, for your efforts in bringing contemplative methods and practices into your centers for teaching and learning, where faculty from all disciplines can convene and access training and resources to enrich their teaching. We would also like to extend our deep gratitude to the 1440 Foundation and the Mind & Life Institute for providing funding to make this grant program possible.
The grant review committee and the Center received a large number of promising proposals from teaching and learning centers at colleges and universities across the country and abroad, which made for a challenging selection process.
This year’s grant awards span a variety of types of institutions, communities, and contemplative pedagogy programs at different stages of implementation, including: a collaborative program between a TLC and a community service-learning office, a mindful teaching and learning program at a community college, and a plan to integrate contemplative pedagogy into formalized learning outcomes at a 2-year college. We look forward to hearing more about the progress and outcomes of these programs.
2014 Review Committee
Professor of Economics, Amherst College
Assistant Professor of English, The Community College of Baltimore County
Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts and Sciences, University of North Carolina at Asheville
Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, The University of Texas at San Antonio
The 2013 Awardees
Engaged working groups, speakers’ series, and attendance at our events all have stimulated far greater depth and breath of contemplative approaches at each of the institutions. We believe that these changes will continue to bear fruit over the next few years, producing multiplicative effects going forward.
Highlights of 2013 TLC Grant Projects
- 5 faculty groups (28 members total) were formed with the intention of incorporating contemplative practice and thought into curriculum and personal practice, and have continued their discussions and activities in the 2013-2014 academic year.
- 11 faculty members were able to attend summer institutes, conferences, or retreats on contemplative pedagogy.
- 2 online resource databases were created and made available to all staff and faculty, containing ideas for contemplative practices in the classroom, reflections on experiences, and reading lists.
- 4 workshops, seminars, and speaker events were held in the Fall 2013 semester, with more planned for Spring 2014.
- 8 contemplative pedagogy events were funded at 6 campuses.