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A Team-based approach to Improving Teaching, Research, Service, and Professor Job Satisfaction

Discovery: A mixed methods analysis of transformative learning illustrated fundamental shifts in perspectives and behaviors:


  1. Balancing expertise with a ‘beginner’s mind’ approach for greater innovative capacity

  2. Deepening appreciation for subject matter and communion with students

  3. Supporting a genuine sense of community across academic silos

  4. Advocating for a more mindful university culture through six new university-wide initiatives

Dialogue: The central aim of bringing professors together was to help them strategically incorporate and test out mindfulness into their teaching, research, and service.  This seminar included approximately 40% mindfulness practice and 60% faculty inquiry, dialogue, planning, and project development. Each day was divided into three phases: (1) Guided mindfulness practice to create a sense of awareness relative to a professor’s usual quality of mind; (2) Critical reflection upon the benefits of greater awareness in the context and measured impact of university strategy; and (3) Dialogue and action planning in teams of professors from diverse disciplines.

Epiphany: Learners can quickly become lost in the intricacies of subject matter and rely greatly upon professors to resurface. One admission that became clear in our seminar is that professors can also lose themselves in the lesson. Course material can also be inherently dry in nature, which at times deflates momentum, sense of wonder, and appreciation that connects learners with learning. Mindfulness practice not only served as the subject matter for our seminar, but was also instrumental in demonstrating how our thoughts and feelings can be observed from a more spacious sense of awareness.

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