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XCIT 2017

We invite you to join the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team for the 2017-2018 school year. We meet monthly over the course of the year and provide support for each member’s personal practice, contemplative pedagogy, and related research. This year, we'll be adopting an explicit focus on STEM disciplines to examine some of the exciting scientific research in this area. The team is open to all faculty, staff and students.

Read more on our wiki, then download the call for participation and apply today.

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

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 Thursday afternoon throughout the summer of 2016. 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: June 8-August 4, 2016
  • Time: 12:30 - 12:45 PM
  • Location: Meditation Room, St. Katharine Drexel Chapel
  • Sponsor: CAT+FD

Photo credit: Bart Everson

No registration necessary; just join us when you can.

Reflections

A special issue of the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice examines the theme of “Reflection for Learning in Higher Education.”

The journal is online and open access so anyone can read the articles at ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/

In addition to general approaches to the value of reflection in higher education and experiential learning, articles also cover the role of reflection in science, medical education, psychology, and even accounting.

Colored Windows

Since 2010, CAT+FD has actively promoted contemplative pedagogy through presentations, workshops, travel grants, meditation sessions, and other diverse means, culminating most recently in the formation of the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team. This group, supported in part by a grant from the Mellon Foundation, formed in 2015 and has had ten active participants over the past year.

We invite you to join the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team for the 2016-2017 school year. We meet regularly over the course of the year and provide support for each member’s personal practice, contemplative pedagogy, and related research. The team is participant-driven, meaning that the specific agenda and activities of the group are determined by the team members, with guidance from CAT+FD staff. The team is open to faculty, staff and students.

Read more on our wiki, then download the call for participation and apply today.

by Bart Everson

Balance

As you may have noted, CAT+FD's got a new expanded mission that says we'll support faculty work/life balance.

Thus it was with great interest that I attended a panel discussion on just this topic at "Meaningful Living and Learning in a Digital World." I listened attentively as panelists critiqued the current academic culture, which has become a culture of looking busy-busy-busy, of appearing to be more harried than one really is. Often faculty really are busy, it was pointed out, but even during the rare moment of leisure, it is of crucial importance to continue to look and act busy — lest anyone think we aren't pulling our weight.

The deleterious effects of this culture were detailed at some length. It creates an atmosphere of constant stress, distrust, and fear. It is not conducive to thinking deeply, teaching, or transformational learning.

"It's the single most crucial issue facing the academy," one panelist said.

A culture shift is needed, the panelists agreed, and I found myself nodding along with them. But what came next was a shocker.

The culture shift may need to start with staff, including administrators, who have less flexibility than faculty.

Woah! That got my attention. Even though I work closely with faculty from every discipline, even though I identify with faculty on many levels, I'm on staff. What can I do, despite my limited flexibility, to facilitate this needed culture shift?

As it turns out, actually, I am well-positioned to make at least a few modest efforts. After all, I actually work in a unit that includes work/life balance in its mission. For some while now, I've been working to help develop and cultivate personal practices that aim to foster a more contemplative mode of living. See, for example, our Contemplation & Conversation series.

I've got something else up my sleeve as well. I've noted that faculty frequently express a desire for more guidance with time management. Frankly, we could all use some tips and techniques for making the most of our time. So, over the course of this semester, I've been implementing various time management practices in my own life, as a form of experiential research for a workshop on this topic. We plan to offer a workshop on my findings next semester. Stay tuned for details.

So that's what I have in mind. What about you?

We are pleased to announce that the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development has been honored with a grant from Bringing Theory to Practice. The grant will support a one-day seminar on "Well-Being & Sustainability at Xavier," which is planned for Saturday, 23 January 2016, 9:30AM-2:30PM in the Mellon Seminar Room (Library 532B). Please mark your calendars.

We didn't do it alone! This grant proposal was a team effort in collaboration with diverse campus constituencies, including the Mellon Faculty Community of Teaching­ Scholars Fellows, the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team, Academic Affairs, Student Services, the Department of Public Health Sciences, the Counseling & Wellness Center, and Campus Ministry.

For more information, please see our wiki.

All Xavier faculty are encouraged to participate — and to invite your students!

Laudato Si study group

"Concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society and interior peace."

These are the themes of Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Si': On care for our common home, published this summer. World leaders and prominent scientists have praised it as a work of "enormous significance" and an "amazing gift" in the ongoing political struggle over climate change.

Please join our campus-wide study group in which we'll read and discuss this important work. Participants will receive a copy of the encyclical in book form. This is an interfaith effort, open to people of all faiths or no faith. Open to staff, faculty, and students.

First meeting will take place in UC 201, 4-5:30 PM, Monday, 26 October. We anticipate three meetings over the academic year as interest dictates.

Contact cat@xula.edu or call 520-5164 to register or for more information.

Sponsored by Campus Ministry, Department of Theology, Department of Political Science, and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

Labyrinth

Since 2010, CAT has actively promoted contemplative pedagogy through presentations, workshops, travel grants, meditation sessions, and other diverse means. The formation of a Contemplative Inquiry Team, supported by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, is the latest iteration of these ongoing efforts.

We invite you to join the Contemplative Inquiry Team. We will meet regularly over the course of the 2015-2016 academic year and provide support for each member’s personal practice, contemplative pedagogy, and related research. The team will be participant-driven, meaning that the specific agenda and activities of the group will be determined by the team members, with guidance from CAT staff.

Download the call for participation and apply today.

Text

Two years ago, we hosted a session on lectio divina which married two prominent themes in CAT programming: our campus-wide initiative, "Read Today Lead Tomorrow," and contemplative practice. The session was well-received but only hinted at the rich possibilities of contemplative reading, and some participants expressed a desire for more information.

Therefore we are pleased to report that noted scholar Robert-Louis Abrahamson has published a guide on "contemplative engagement with a text." This is not a technique per se; it's more of an attitude. Nevertheless, Abrahamson does prescribe six steps in a clear pattern, with plenty of substantive advice for teachers.

Download the PDF guide from this page.