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Working Toward Beloved Community: Contemplative Practice and Social Justice In One Public University

Ranjeeta Basu, Jocelyn Ahlers, Jacky Thomas, Marie Thomas, Jill Weigt


This paper offers a descriptive case study of the ways a group of faculty, staff, and students introduced contemplative practices into a medium-sized state university community, with the long-term goal of fostering justice and inclusion for all members of that community. Using documents and oral and written narratives from key participants, we detail the ways community has been fostered through shared contemplative practices; faculty learning communities (FLCs) focused on contemplative pedagogy, compassion, and social justice; and the use of contemplative practices to underpin and guide decision-making. Evaluations from students and faculty members involved in these initiatives suggest that the use of contemplative practices not only serves to create connection and belonging but also is laying the foundation for spaces where the hard work of creating inclusion and justice can happen. Though our work is still very much in progress, we document and share our experiences in the hope that they can be helpful to others interested in working towards more just and inclusive academic institutions.


Contemplative pedagogy, faculty learning community, social justice

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