As a creative generalist for faculty development, it’s my professional mission to encourage teachers to think deeply about their teaching, to explore new pedagogical techniques, and to thrive as whole human beings. To those ends, I am a passionate advocate for contemplative pedagogy and integrative learning. I’m particularly interested in the creative process. As a media artist with broad technological expertise, I work with social media, blogging, podcasting, et cetera, as tools to promote learning for both students and teachers.
Since 1999, this is the work which has engaged me at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development, at Xavier University of Louisiana.
Contemplative Practice & Pedagogy
Teachers must continually replenish their spirit, for their own sake and for the sake of their students. I seek to support teachers in their quest to establish a personal practice and implement a contemplative pedagogy. I facilitate initiatives such as the Xavier Contemplative Inquiry Team and lead workshops on topics such as Mindfulness for You and Your Students. I am also continuously developing my own peculiar form of this pedagogy, which I might describe as Contemplative Faculty Development. A few formative remarks toward such a pedagogy, as well as my own story, are told in a presentation titled “From Spiritual Emergency to Visions of Wholeness.”
In 2015 it was my honor to participate in a panel on “Building Beloved Communities: Academic Capitalism, Adaptive Leadership, and the Contemplative Project” with Dorothe Bach, John Eric Baugher, Richard Chess, and Matthew Lee. Presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, at Howard University in Washington, DC, you can hear audio of my talk.
This program is a broad one, to be sure, but I believe we have an ethical responsibility to take the broadest view we can muster. Work-life balance has been identified as perhaps the single most crucial issue facing the academy today. That’s motivated me to convene workshops and seminars on topics ranging from well-being and sustainability to time management.
Those of us who work with technology (just about everyone in the academy these days) must find ways to embrace critical perspectives, even as we attempt to leverage the enormous innovations in this domain toward the service of transformative learning. A narrow technological focus only serves to reinforce what Pope Francis has criticized as the “technocratic paradigm.”
For nearly 30 years I have been producing a series of actions, interventions, demonstrations, performances, protests, artwork, videos, new media, interviews, essays, poetry, music, workshops and presentations aimed at getting people to think about technology and our relationship to it. Some examples:
- Beyond Jena: A Forum on Bloggers of Color, Education and Social Justice in New Orleans (2009)
- Content Curation for Teaching and Learning (2013)
- Developing a Personal Vision and a Personal Website (2015)
- Social Media, Social Justice (2015)
- Phantom Vibrations: Technopathology and the Mindfulness Movement (2016)
- Resistance Against the Technocratic Paradigm (2016)
- Transformational Strategies for a Digital World (2016)
- Letting Go, Letting Be, Letting Come with Karen Nichols (2019)
- Maintaining Focus in a Fragmented World with Elizabeth Hammer (2019)
For some years I curated a newsletter on the intersection of technology and mindfulness, which I called “Tech Mindful.” Now available as an archive, it represents the confluence of two major themes of my professional work. I believe this topic will hold increasing relevance in years to come.
Award-Winning Blog, Noted Podcast
I’m the managing editor of CAT Food (for thought), a group blog produced by my great coworkers and cited on the EdTech Dean’s List for two years running.
Since 2008 I have served as production manager for the long-running faculty development podcast, Teaching, Learning & Everything Else, a finalist for the POD Innovation Award.
You can learn more about my work by visiting the website of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development.