Call for Participants

Academic Learning Community: 

Teaching and Contemplation: Nurturing the Teaching Self

Fall 2017 & Spring 2018 (year-long ALC)

Conveners: Bobbi Patterson, Professor of Pedagogy in Religion & Joonna Trapp, Senior Lecturer, English

“To be awake is to be alive” (Thoreau). 

What does it mean to be awake as a teacher? How do we keep ourselves alive, thriving, growing, curious about our various teacherly enterprises? Our decisions to enter the profession of teaching might well have been guided by passion and fascination for our fields and for learning. Perhaps it was even guided by the desire to find that “place” where our “deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meets” (Buechner). Yet, in spite of a deep sense of gladness in teaching and learning, and in spite of realizing the great need for quality educational work in our communities and culture, teachers report burn-out, frustration, and the need for inner renewal.

This Academic Learning Community (ALC) will address that part of the teaching life, supported by readings in the field of teaching and learning, with a focus on writings arising out of the movement for contemplative pedagogy and other related initiatives. It will draw upon the writings of others, as well as the writings and musing of participants. Through sharing, dialogue, storytelling, and deep reflection, participants will enter a community of discourse about regeneration of the teacherly self. They will be encouraged to drop down below daily demands and expectations to consider habits of mind and practice.

Academic Learning Communities are informal seminars that are intended to:

  • engage faculty in collaborative explorations of innovative research and teaching topics;
  • bring guest speakers to campus to enhance the curriculum and learning; and/or
  • help disseminate important research discoveries and innovative learning strategies to the broader community.


  • The Seminar will meet from 1:00-2:30pm on the following dates: September 22, October 20, November 10, December 1, January 19, February 16, March 23, April 13, and a workshop in May.
  • Opportunities to develop contemplative pedagogy practices and personal writing will be encouraged.
  •  Each meeting will balance presentations by the facilitator or invited speakers with group discussions of pertinent readings and presentations by seminar participants.
  • Suggested readings will be posted on Canvas prior to the session, and/or will be made available separately.
  • Up to 20 participants will be accommodated and will include both faculty and graduate students from across the university. 

To apply, please fill out this form here.

The deadline for application is Friday, August 25.

Selections will be announced in early September. A limited number of spaces will be reserved for graduate students based on the relevance of their research to the topic.