Learning About Contemplative Education

I was honored to have been asked to keynote at Naropa University's "Mindfulness, MOOCs and Money in Higher Education: Contemplative Possibilities and Promise" this past weekend at Naropa, bringing a higher education research viewpoint on how we are looking at new ways of defining and demonstrating success with our college graduates. 

It was indeed a delight to meet one of my fellow keynoter's, Laura Rendón, whose work I had long admired.  When I was director of CIRP, we took some of her validation concepts from the qualitative realm into the quantitative and created several validation constructs in the student surveys.

I came away with a new understanding of contemplative education, which encourages experiential learning and introspection in one's learning process.  I was struck how in many areas of education we see this in different ways.  In a sense, Sandy Astin's involvement theory is contemplative in nature, as it says that we get more from our education the more involved we are in it.  Work that I was involved in at Gallup showed the impact of internships that allowed one to connect that work environment and the academic learning in the classroom is surely a type of experiential learning.  Studies with the NSSE (National Survey of Student Engagement) also clearly show the benefits of being engaged in and out of the classroom.

And so it was the best type of experience.  I went there thinking I was going to teach them, but perhaps I ended up learning the most.