Presence in the Academy: A Community of Practice in Contemplative Pedagogy

Contemplative pedagogy is the integration of meditative and other present-moment awareness practices into higher education as a complement to critical reasoning with the goal of rebalancing liberal education to include head and heart, body and mind. Presence in the Academy: A Community of Practice in Contemplative Pedagogy is a 3-year, cross-faculty initiative to: provide free introductory workshops to familiarize faculty with the concepts, theories, practices, research, and rationale for contemplative pedagogy; to  provide free mindfulness courses to faculty to reduce stress and build resilience (in line with the mental health strategy at the University of Calgary);  to develop confidence, competency and leadership with faculty to implement contemplative pedagogy in their courses through practice and course design workshops; build capacity, leadership, mentorship, and sustainability in contemplative pedagogy amongst faculty across disciplines through the development of a Community of Practice, a strategic plan, and resource repository hosted by the Taylor Institute EDU.

Teaching Scholar(s) 
Rachael Crowder
Faculty of Social Work

Rachael Crowder is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary, Southern Alberta Region (Lethbridge), a trauma therapist and mindfulness meditation teacher. Her early trauma intervention training came from frontline work at the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre from 1992-2002. Rachael’s formal teacher training in mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) began in June 2006 in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction with Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy with Dr. Zindel Segal. Her UofC teaching includes social work practice with communities, critical social work theory, mindfulness meditation and MBI theory to undergraduate and graduate clinical social work students, and contemplative pedagogy workshops and guided mindfulness retreats with faculty and staff. In addition to contemplative pedagogy in higher education, her research interests focus on mindfulness-based trauma therapy, the role of mindfulness in building resilience to professional burnout, and collaborating on a teaching institute for community activists using art for social change.

Contact
Rachael Crowder 
Faculty of Social Work 
rcrowder@ucalgary.ca