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  • Jennifer Cable
  • Monti Datta
  • Kathleen Skerrett 
  • Roger Mancastroppa

Since Fall 2018, we have been meeting as a Faculty Learning Community to engage Mindfulness practices together.  Our members include faculty from the Law School, Robins School of Business, Libraries, and all four divisions of the School of Arts & Sciences.  In addition, we remain connected to a wider group of interested faculty and staff through email.  Our gathering expresses our desire to grow as an inclusive, compassionate, and equity-minded community.  We share Mindfulness practice to support critical thinking and skillful engagement for ourselves and our students when we encounter difficult learning or difficult conversations.  We promote Mindfulness practice because we find that relationships of inclusion and lifelong learning do indeed “start within us.” Across the institution, we believe shared practice has the potential to help us pursue, with increased attention and care, the university’s mission “to prepare students for lives of purpose, thoughtful inquiry, and responsible leadership in a diverse world.”  With gratitude, we aspire to realize more fully the privileges of our vocations as teachers and scholars at the University of Richmond, and to more richly enjoy meaningful fellowship with each other, across our different disciplines and schools. 

Our third Mindfulness FLC Plus, in particular, focuses our attention on ”responsible leadership in a diverse world” while reflecting our desire to continue to grow as a community in practice. In  2020-21 we will embrace new directions and encourage new conversations. Early in the spring 2020 semester, our campus was rocked by incidents of racial hatred, sending shockwaves across campus and impacting every community member. Our 20-21 FLC+ will provide an intentional community to bring the practice of Mindfulness to the challenging discussions of race and identity. We will seek to hold campus gatherings which will create safe spaces for faculty, staff, and students, coming together in community contemplation and care. Our FLC+ will engage members of the summer book club, reading Ruth King’s Mindful of Race, organized by one of our FLC+ leaders, Monti Datta. We hope that students will also engage with our work this year, joining us in meetings, in sit-ins, in pop-up meditation sessions, and in other events across our campus community that will allow us to fully open our hearts to discussions of race and identity.

We imagine additional opportunities to reach our community through partnering with other UR programs, such as the Office of the Chaplaincy, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Common Ground and others.