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Introducing Contemplative Approaches to Higher Education: A Public Roundtable with Leaders in the Field

April 15, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm  |  McHenry Library UCSC, Room 4286


Contemplative pedagogy is an integrated approach to teaching and learning that sees education as a transformative process rather than simply a means of accumulating
information. With an emphasis on curiosity, collaboration, engagement, and student-centered learning, contemplative approaches seek to cultivate thinkers and responders rather than consumers of knowledge. Practitioners forge links between traditional disciplinary wisdom and the environmental, ethical, and economic challenges facing humankind.

The goal of contemplative pedagogy, as articulated by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, is to foster “true community, deeper insight, sustainable living, and a more just society.”

Friday, April 15 @ 2-4 pm
Public Roundtable on Contemplative Approaches in Higher Education
McHenry Library Room 4286

This roundtable brings together leaders in the field with expertise in diverse disciplines, including the Humanities, the Natural Sciences, and Legal Studies.

Saturday, April 16 @ 9am-5pm
Contemplative Pedagogy Symposium

A day-long Symposium will follow on Saturday, April 16th. We’ll read central texts in the field of Contemplative Pedagogy and discuss them with our panel of experts. If you would like to participate in the symposium, please email Click here for more info on the Symposium.


Rhonda Magee, Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, School of Law, and a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Her scholarly work focuses on race law and policy as well as on humanizing legal education and the practice of law. This effort aims to help law students and practitioners cope with pressure in order to be more successful and effective. A national leader in the movement to humanize law and legal education, and an expert in contemplative pedagogy, Professor Magee recently published “Contemplative Practices and the Renewal of Legal Education,” New Directions for Teaching and Learning: Contemplative Studies in Higher Education, no. 134, (Jossey Bass, 2013), 31.” Magee’s courses share a common theme of examining how law responds to the vulnerable in society. She is the author of numerous journal articles, including “Educating Lawyers to Meditate?” (University of Missouri–Kansas City Law Review, 2011), “Slavery as Immigration?” (University of San Francisco Law Review, 2009), and “Competing Narratives, Competing Jurisprudences: Are Law Schools Racist?” (University of San Francisco Law Review, 2009).

Erin McCarthy, Professor and Chair of Philosophy and Professor in Asian Studies, St. Lawrence University. Dr. Erin McCarthy came to St. Lawrence in 2000. She teaches Asian, feminist, continental and comparative philosophy. Author of the book Ethics Embodied: Rethinking Selfhood through Continental, Japanese and Feminist Philosophies (Lexington, 2010), her work has been published in several anthologies and journals in both French and English and she regularly presents her scholarship both nationally and internationally. She was an inaugural recipient of the “Frederick P. Lenz Foundation Residential Fellowship for Buddhist Studies and American Culture and Values” at Naropa University in 2009. Dr. McCarthy sits on the Editorial board of the journal Comparative and Continental Philosophy and is Co-editor of the ASIANetwork Exchange: A journal for Asian Studies and the Liberal Arts. She has also served as Chair of the Board of Directors of ASIANetwork (a consortium of over 170 North American colleges). Currently, her research interests are taking two directions – the first, a project titled “Re-imagining Maternity,”is a comparative philosophical re-thinking of the norms of maternity; and the second looks at the ways in which contemplative education can be enriched by incorporating feminist philosophies.

Peter Grossenbacher, Professor in Contemplative Education and Contemplative Psychology, Naropa University. Professor Grossenbacher directs Naropa’s internationally known Consciousness Laboratory. In collaboration with students in the lab, he conducts empirical research on meditation instruction, worldview transformation, and engagement with awareness. His research has been covered in the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, and Discover Magazine. Grossenbacher teaches courses in Perception, Neuroscience, Mindfulness Meditation, Cognitive Psychology, Personality, and Research Methods. He previously conducted research on human attention at the National Institute of Mental Health, and taught at the University of Oregon, England’s University of Cambridge, and American University in Washington, D.C. A practitioner of meditation since 1980, he speaks internationally on contemplative education, synesthesia, meditation, and the brain.

Contemplative Approaches to Higher Education are some of the most exciting and fast-growing developments in post-secondary education in the US.

To see the kind of work being done by some of the leading national centers for Contemplative Approaches, please visit the following websites:

The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education         
University of Virginia Contemplative Sciences Center                      
Brown University Contemplative Studies Initiative                           
University of Michigan Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies       
Naropa University Contemplative Education Program                      


Institute for Humanities Research, Contemplative Pedagogy Research Cluster, Center for Public Philosophy, Bill Ladusaw, Literature Department, Philosophy Department, Graduate Division, Porter College, Oakes College, College Eight, Social Sciences Division.


April 15, 2016
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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