Contemplative Practices Learning Community

“Without a context to develop the awareness of the implications of our actions and a clear idea of what is most deeply meaningful to us, we will continue to act in ways that force us into short term, myopic responses to a world increasingly out of control.” (Bush and Barbezat, 2013)

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The Contemplative Practices Learning Community (CPLC) is a cohort of faculty, graduate students, and academic staff interested in engaging in a yearlong exploration of contemplative practices. Contemplative practices are applied across the disciplines in higher education and are unified by activities designed to invite the mindful integration of one’s own rich experience into the learning experience.

We seek to create a place for contemplative practitioners to gather in a supportive community espousing radical care for others and ourselves. We will engage in our own contemplative practices (“inner work”) while learning how to infuse contemplation and reflection into our professional lives (“outer work”). While contemplative practices vary greatly, they focus on the present experience and include a “first-person” orientation that creates opportunities for greater connection and insight.

The CPLC will provide opportunities to:

  • Connect with colleagues in a supportive community throughout the academic year
  • Co-learn methods of effectively integrating contemplative practices into courses, meetings, and other aspects of our professional lives
  • Collaborate and develop new models of implementation and assessment of contemplative practices
  • Deepen individual contemplative practices with structure, guidance, and encouragement

During the year we will:

  • Understand the academic underpinnings of contemplative practices in higher education
  • Explore a variety of contemplative practices, which are transferable to the classroom or non-classroom professional settings
  • Practice integrating contemplative practices into our professional lives
  • Engage in a variety of guided contemplative practices in community
  • Deepen our personal contemplative practices individually and in small groups or pairs

Becoming a fellow means committing to attending:

  • Six monthly meetings (dates and times contingent upon fellows’ schedules)
    • Three ninety-minute meetings the fall semester
    • Three ninety-minute meetings in the spring semester
  • A one-day mindfulness retreat (date TBD) in collaboration with UVM Mindfulness
  • A half-day retreat in May (week of May 15-19, 2023) to reflect, share, and extend our work

    View our Past Participants

AY ’21-’22

Thomas Cleary, Music
Victor Izzo, Plant and Soil Science
Donna Smith, Rehabilitation and Movement Science
Sarah Wittman, Biology

AY ’20-’22

Karen Benway, Mathematics & Statistics
Tricia Brown, Education
Jeremiah Dickerson, Psychiatry
Emily Glassman, Nursing
Kathleen Gough, Theatre & Dance
Kelly Clark Keefe, Education
William McDowell, Art & Art History
Amy Seidl, Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources
Jeanne Shea, Anthropology
Priyantha Wijesinghe, Civil & Environmental Engineering

Contemplative Practices Learning Community Coordinating Committee

Laura Hill, Senior Lecturer, Plant Biology Department
Adrian Ivakhiv, Professor, Environmental Thought and Culture
Karen Nordstrom, Evaluation Director (USDA REEU project), UVM Extension
Educational Research Associate, Agroecology & Livelihoods Collaborative
Donna Smith, Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation & Movement Science
Wendy Verrei-Berenback, Assistant Director, Center for Teaching & Learning
Priyantha Wijesinghe, Lecturer, Civil Engineering and Environmental Science