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Mindfulness and Higher Education


  • Monti Datta
  • Kathleen Skerrett

The proposed Mindfulness FLC will explore scholarship about the effects of mindfulness practice on well-being, achievement, and self-awareness, especially among undergraduate students.   After discussing recent literature, we will explore innovative programs that implement mindfulness instruction in academic or other demanding learning environments.  For example, Duke University has developed and made available Koru Mindfulness training for its community members, especially students.  (Rigorous assessment of the Koru program has demonstrated effectiveness for reducing student anxiety and improving academic achievement.)  Arizona State University has created a Center for Mindfulness, Compassion and Resilience to offer mindfulness instruction for 100,000 students.  We will evaluate other creative and innovative methods of mindfulness practice for a pluralistic university environment. 

In addition, we are interested in mindfulness practice as a technique for preparing faculty, students, and staff for difficult conversations and for fostering inclusive communities.  This includes intentionally engaging and modifying the anxieties, defensive mindsets, and biases that can vex or inhibit dynamic engagement across different perspectives and experiences. 

We are interested in how modes of embodied learning enable students to better integrate their learning with their diverse lives.  We will consider literature that advocates tailoring mindfulness instruction for particularly vulnerable individuals.  Ultimately, we approach mindfulness practice as a means to help students, faculty, and staff integrate their inner lives with social justice purpose.