A focus on faculty: Building a contemplative campus one classroom at a time

Funded by: Brock University (Chancellors Chair for Teaching Excellence Award)

Principle Investigator: Pauli Gardner, PhD (Brock University)

Date: 2016-2019

Abstract:

There is a mental health crisis on university campuses across Canada as students and faculty struggle to balance the many demands of academic life. While campuses increase efforts to support those in crisis, there is a growing need for ‘upstream’ preventative approaches that build resilience and positive mental health among the campus community. Mindfulness and other contemplative practices have been shown to assist students, faculty, and staff, to become more resilient in responding to the day-to-day pressures of academia while improving the teaching and learning experience for instructors and learners. Despite the demonstrated benefits of mindfulness and meditation and growing interest, enthusiasm, and participation in contemplative practice workshops and events provided on campus, knowledge uptake and implementation is limited. The purpose of this project is to understand the challenges of integrating mindfulness into post-secondary classrooms and to use this knowledge to design a set of tools, strategies and resources that make it possible.

Aim:

The overall aim of A focus on faculty is to promote resilience and positive mental health among the campus community by providing faculty with the tools, strategies and resources they need to integrate mindfulness practices into their classrooms

Design & Timeline:

Year 1 / Research: To understand the challenges to implementing contemplative practices into the classroom environment. What are the barriers to knowledge uptake?

Year 2 / Toolbox Development: To use new knowledge and expertise to develop a set of relevant, effective materials, strategies and resources that support faculty to use, experiment and have fun with these new practices and ways of teaching. What do faculty need to implement mindfulness practices into their classrooms?

Year 3 / Implementation & Evaluation: To implement (i.e., teach/provide/share) the toolbox of mindfulness practices and evaluate their impact. Is knowledge uptake improved? Are faculty using their new skills and knowledge in their classes?

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