Published : Thursday, April 30, 2015 | 1:09 PM
These are some of the key questions to be addressed in the upcoming Mindfulness and Compassion 2015: The Art and Science of Contemplative Practice at the San Francisco State University. Running from June 3rd to June 7th, this conference brings together brilliant minds and explores the latest advances and research on mindfulness and compassion.
University of the West, a SoCal institution with strong Buddhist roots, has always espoused the value of contemplativeness and meditation through its teaching practices. It’s no surprise then that it will play a key role in the convention as Monica Sanford, institutional effectiveness and planning officer and faculty member from UWest, will present a paper about contemplative education in the university setting.
“I will be presenting on how universities evaluate teaching different subjects to try to inform people who are interested in teaching contemplative education, what they need to do to prove to the university the value of what they want to teach,” says Sanford.
Contemplative practices—which refer to cultural or traditional practices like meditation, prayer, ritual, dance, art, and even long walks—are integrated into UWest’s teaching philosophies.
“In a class, we teach contemplative practice or [we engage them] in practice and the students usually go through a process of reflection, both verbal and written,” Sanford says.
Sanford says that while contemplative teaching is a big and common practice in UWest, other universities have also started adopting it.
However, Sanford notes, “it is not always an easy thing to sell to faculty and administrators as they don’t really know what that is.”
Sanford’s talk will hopefully encourage educators and administrators to ease into contemplative teaching. She’ll also cover how to sell the idea to a school administration, determine if your new program is truly effective, and how to use that information to continue to get support once an organization has decided to incorporate contemplative teaching into their program.
Sanford says the entire university is thrilled to be part of the conference.
“We’re really excited to be going, not just to present at this conference but also to learn. So for us, it’s not just presenting. It’s an opportunity to learn from these people and bring them back to our university and to our community in Rosemead and do the best that we can for our students,” Sanford says.
University of the West is located at 1409 Walnut Grove Avenue, Rosemead. For more information, call (626) 571-8811 or visit www.uwest.edu.