Last year, while experiencing what I’ve come to call a crisis of meaning, I read a review of Zajonc and Palmer’s The Heart of Higher Education. Within minutes I had ordered the book and invited the faculty of my university to read it with me. A month later, more than twenty educators from across the campus, including our university president, showed up for a Sunday morning conversation about why we do what we do.
Moving, challenging, and inspiring, that conversation broadened my sense of the community I’ve been working in for the past seven years and provoked me to explore the ontological and epistemological underpinnings of my pedagogy, to cultivate cross-disciplinary conversations with colleagues who care about “educating the whole person,” and to mindfully, creatively, and curiously tend to the questions of purpose.
Since then, we’ve held bi-weekly conversations that were either free-form or focused on a particular article or topic. We met in a variety of locations (pub, coffee shop, Thai restaurant, conference room, colleague’s home) at various times of day to include as many people as possible. Some of us have attended seminars and conferences through the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, and our summer reading group just had its first of two meetings. With thirty-seven people on our email list, we have quite a little movement afoot!
At our conversation this morning, a colleague suggested I start a blog to post notes and reflections. So here it is! I’m hoping other members of our contemplative and mindfulness pedagogy group will add their voices to this medium. My first few posts will feature the books we’ve read so far (with some of my own notes and observations) and a report on the ACMHE 2012 Summer Session I recently attended. Who knows where it will go from there.
In closing: I’m not an expert. I’m curious, skeptical, enchanted, and learn best with others. And I’m so glad you’re joining us on these paths!