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Did you know you can get CAT+FD events in your electronic calendar? Use this LINK and you can get workshop listings automatically in your Google Calendar, iCal, or whatever system you prefer.

That might also make it just a little easier to remember that we are continuing our popular mid-week meditation series, now entering its fourth year. It starts this Wednesday, August 21st!

Read on for details... ...continue reading "Put a Little Quiet in Your Calendar"

Meditation Room

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development invites you to join us for a regular group meditation. We'll meet each Wednesday afternoon throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. Drop in when you can.

What to expect?

As the meditation room is located directly beneath the bell tower, we are using the bells in our meditation. They chime quarterly, so our period of silence begins at 12:30 and ends at 12:45.

But I've never done this before!

You needn't have any experience with meditating; just stop by and give it a try. There's no commitment and no pressure.

Why meditate?

Meditation has numerous well-documented benefits, including stress management, improved emotional balance, increased focus and awareness and increased responsiveness to student needs.

  • Date: August 23, 2017 - May 8, 2018 (when classes are in session)
  • Time: 12:30 - 12:45 PM
  • Location: Meditation Room, St. Katharine Drexel Chapel
  • Sponsor: CAT+FD

Photo credit: Bart Everson

by Janice Florent

young lady sitting in a relaxed position with her eyes closed in a warm-water river

Taking a break is important for your overall health. Even Olympic athletes take a break from their training. Rest days are an important part of their training regimen so they can give their muscles time to recover. Without these rest days they cannot perform at their peak ability.

You deserve a break. Hopefully during our upcoming fall break you will be able to give yourself one.

In a recent blog post, Dr. Karen Nichols described something she discovered while attending a webinar called a “doorway moment.” Taking a deep breath at the doorway to get centered and focused. When we get back to the hustle and bustle of the academic year remember to take your doorway moments and take a deep breath.

Additionally, please join us for group meditation on Mondays at half past noon in the Meditation Room of St. Katharine Drexel Chapel for a “Quarter of Quiet.”

Photo credit: Like a SPA by Juan | CC BY-NC 2.0

Circle of Chairs

Over the past year or two I've become increasingly interested in the idea of contemplative pedagogy. This is the notion that we can foster a more thoughtful way of living and learning in our students and in ourselves by cultivating reflective and meditative practices in our teaching.

To this end, I've relished the opportunity to engage in a series of discussions on this topic with faculty, and I've challenged myself to incorporate contemplative practices into these sessions whenever appropriate.

Most recently I had the opportunity to lead a short discussion with participants in the Faculty Communities of Teaching Scholars. Our theme this year is "Promoting Critical Thinking and Self-Authorship in the First Two Years." Contemplative practices seem like a perfect fit for developing self-authorship, and so once again I attempted to teach by example. As we were thinking so intensely about our students' needs and capacities, I decided to conduct a loving-kindness meditation. Also known as Metta Bhavana, this is an ancient practice from the Buddhist tradition. I modified the typical practice to focus specifically on our students.

In some ways, I may have been overreaching. I am not a practicing Buddhist, and more to the point I had never done Metta Bhavana before. Nevertheless, I went forward with it. I even went so far as to rearrange our classroom into a configuration more conducive to the practice.

I was fairly pleased with the results. Certainly I did get some good feedback from the participants, with at least one person saying she repeated the practice later on her own time. That's wonderful.

All the same, in some ways I consider the exercise at least a partial failure. The problem was not the practice itself, I think, so much as what followed. I was so intent on preparing for the Metta Bhavana itself that I did not attend to the context. I failed to make a strong connection between the meditative practice and the larger conversations that had been emerging in the classroom over the previous days. That left some participants wondering what to make of it all.

But if this was a failure, at least it was an educational and perhaps necessary one. I learned a valuable lesson. Several in fact. Always attend the context. Always make the connection. When trying something new, don't neglect these important basics.