Mindfulness Expert to Address Compassionate Practices in Education

a diverse group of students standing in a circle in the theatre participating in an exercise
Members of the Rhodes community participating in a 2016 Compassionate Campus Initiative retreat (photo courtesy of Prof. David Mason)

Rhodes Compassionate Campus Initiative (CCI), a recently organized group of faculty, staff, and students, seeks out and executes ways to make Rhodes a kinder and more mindful community.
The CCI has invited Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and author of pioneering works on mindfulness and compassion training, to address the campus in March. According to Prof. Mark W. Muesse, a member of the CCI and a longtime practitioner and teacher of contemplative studies, “Dr. Kabat-Zinn is without doubt one of the foremost authorities in the arts of mindfulness and compassion. It is no exaggeration to say that his work has been one of the fundamental reasons mindfulness and meditation practices have garnered the attention of the cultural mainstream and are enjoying widespread success as techniques for coping with the stresses of modern life.”

On Wednesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. in the McNeill Concert Hall (613 University Street), Kabat-Zinn will present “Cultivating Compassion through Mindfulness.” The next day, Thursday, March 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hardie Auditorium, he will be the keynote speaker for a day-long symposium on compassionate practices in education. The event brings together faculty, administrators, students, and thinkers from around the nation to share and discuss best practices for fostering compassionate campuses. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about ways to make academic communities more hospitable and welcoming environments and to cultivate techniques of personal and institutional flourishing. 

“I truly believe that the rediscovery of contemplative practices such as meditation and the skills of compassion will have a profound effect on the shape of education in the 21st century,” says Muesse. “We are at a critical moment in our culture where the gifts of contemplation can point the way to a better life for everyone.”

Both the Wednesday evening talk and the Thursday symposium are sponsored by the Rhodes Compassionate Campus Initiative and Advancing Mindfulness, LLC, and are free and open to the public. To register for the symposium, visit http://www2.rhodes.edu/compassionatecampus