Center for Contemplative StudiesYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

The Top Numbers3,381WCU students exposed to contemplative practice this year490local community members exposed to contemplative practice735sessions of guided practice offered10student leaders presented practice sessions8formal events with outside speakers presented to the community18special programs for student groups and organizations2Center for Contemplative StudiesYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

The Tree of Contemplative PracticesThis tree, developed by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society( is the inspiration for our logo, and it’s alsothe guide for our efforts to branch out—to meet more students andcommunity members with practices that fit their lives. The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. Concept & design by Maia Duerr; illustration by Carrie Bergman3

We’ve Been Branching Out The CCS offered 240We offered 60 sessionsBuster” days, and it grew intosessions of mindfulnessof Aikido, taught by Carolyntwo further free sessions in themeditation and 335 sessionsFlechsig, laboratory coordinatorspring. More is on the scheduleof yoga this past year. Butfor the chemistry department,for 2019-2020.that was just a beginning,and Antonio Aloia, a graduatebecause we’ve been branchingstudent in history. This contem-out—adding new contemplativeplative martial art allows you topractices to appeal to otherdefend yourself while ensuringstudents with different waysthe well-being of your attacker.of being in the world.It’s a different way of thinking:We offered 90 sessionsof mindful art practice—contemplative drawing, painting,harmonizing the energy ofthe situation.This spring, Dr. McCowntraveled to the UK to betrained in an evidence-basedcontemplative practiceknown as Shared Reading—where participants read aloudand dialogue about greatliterature. He led two 4-weekWe’ve added contemplativegroups for students, in whichor crafting together in groups—music practice, with drumresearch showed improvementsthanks to our innovative graduatecircles led by Dr. Angelain wellbeing and increases inassistant Michelle Laurenzi andGuerriero and music educationmindfulness.BFA candidate Emily McGuigan.students. This started as partof our end-of-semester “StressNon-competitive games teach us toshare mindfulness4Center for Contemplative StudiesStress Buster drum circleYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019Therapy dogs—amazingmindfulness teachers!

The undergraduateand researching a curriculumHealth Issues of Women,minor in Contemplativethey develop for a group theythe Psychology Club, and, ofStudies closed the year withcare about. Programs are beingcourse we love presenting for53 students, learning mindful-offered in summer 2019 fororientation and FYEs and forness and other contemplativeparents of young children,graduate student events skills for study and for life. It isstudents with readingexciting to note that their focusdifferences, athletes inon calm and quiet seems totraining, frail elders, andenhance academic performance:people in recovery. And that’sour 24 graduates this year hadjust the average GPA of 3.6. And we feel the same wayabout requests from thewider community. Wecreated programs for ASPIRE; forelementary school counselorsfrom West Chester schools;As always, we’ve beeneager to respond to anystaff at SPIN and Networkscertificate in Appliedrequests from WCU faculty,for Training; Chester CountyMindfulness will ultimatelystudents, and staff to offerschool nurses and counselors;touch countless folks in thepractice workshops or talksand we sponsored Act 48community. Our first cohort offor specific classes or groups,credits for a national meeting19 students, culminate theirlike MBA604, Components ofof the Mindfulness in Educationprogram by teaching, evaluating,Effective Leadership, NSG109,Network (MiEN).The new graduateInvestigating subtle energywith Dr. Peggy Fuhs in a FallSaturday SeminarMeditation session in the CCSpractice roomDistinguished speaker Dr. AndrewNewberg speaking on Spirituality andMental Health5

A Letter from our Co-DirectorsDear Friends,As the quick overview on the previous pages shows, The Center for Contemplative Studies(CCS) has been taking on new strategies to fulfill our core mission of spreading the benefitsof contemplative practice to our students—indeed, to the whole campus community andbeyond. We’ve been finding more and different practices to expand ourdaily extra-curricular programming. We’ve been adding new academicprograms and expanding our offerings of lectures and workshopsby WCU faculty and visiting contemplative scholars. And we’ve beenfurthering our engagement with the tri-county area and beyond. Thebranching out that we are doing is inherent in contemplative studies.The tree of contemplative practices (on page 3) acts as a kind of mapfor our growth. There’s plenty of room to spread out.A demonstratedimpact on studentstress: Anxiety goesdown, busy mindsget slower, andtense bodies relax.Contemplative practices are ways of being, based on skills, that help one to pause andreflect on experience rather than be hijacked by immediate reactions. The growingliterature on contemplation in higher education shows that students trained in suchskills can better focus their attention and regulate their emotions, can more objectivelyencounter new ideas and keep their minds open long enough to think critically, and—perhaps most important—can recognize their shared humanity in others and reach out tothem with care and kindness. This is, we hope it goes without saying, a valuable dimensionin a university education.Adding Extracurricular PracticesThe above benefits are why, as we add to our daily extra-curricular programming, we tryto appeal to students’ very different ways of thinking and engaging with the world. Thedeveloping scientist, the excited entrepreneur, the impassioned educator, or compassionateclinician, the writer searching for an authentic voice, the musician camped out in the practiceroom, the sculptor driven to the studio, or the athlete pushing the limits—there’s a way ofpractice to fit everyone. This year, we added regular sessions of mindful art practice, Aikido6Center for Contemplative StudiesYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

(a contemplative martial art), drum circles, and shared reading (groups in which we readstories and poems aloud). And, of course, many new approaches are featured in our “StressBuster Day” practice marathons that we hold before finals week each semester, in which wealso include therapy dogs—some of the very best mindfulness instructors around!All our added practices have demonstrated an impact on student stress. Studentestimates of their stress levels, entered at the start and finish of each practice sessionand compiled through our computer system, show that anxiety goes down, busy mindsget slower, and tense bodies relax. The measurements of those changes are not onlystatistically significant, they mean a lot to the students and the people they interactwith, because calm feelings get shared.The new practices will all return next year, during our 8am to 9pm, Monday throughThursday schedule. Plus, we have plans to add more music-and art-based practice sessions,a semester-long shared reading group, and a Friday series ofWe have plans to addmore music- and artbased practice sessions,a semester-long sharedreading group, anda Friday series ofcontemplative musicconcerts and art shows.contemplative music concerts and art shows.Yet another way we are reaching out to more students isthrough peer-to-peer delivery of our practice sessions wheneverpossible. When students lead the practices, they make differentconnections than faculty make. They use words and gesturesthat fit their fellow students’ experiences of the world moreprecisely—while still remaining deeply connected to millenniaof practice in contemplative traditions around the world. Ourstudent instructors have trained rigorously in what they offer—many are enrolled in the Contemplative Studies Minor and/or theWCU Yoga Teacher Training program. We also provide them with additional training in CCSprocedures, and they must earn certification in Mental Health First Aid , a day-long trainingoffered through WCU. This coming year, as we continue to build care and safety into ourprogramming, a new CCS staff training will ensure trauma-sensitive practice.7

A Letter from our Co-DirectorsBranching out in Undergraduate AcademicsOur undergraduate academic reach is significant. Consider that the Minor in ContemplativeStudies has just completed its fifth year. We have graduated more than 70 studentssince spring of 2015, including 24 this year. For the past three years, we have maintainedenrollment of more than 50 students in the program. And if you consider all the studentsin our designated courses, 1,521 students were exposed to some form of contemplativepractice just this past year—that’s about 7,500 across five years. A further foray intoundergraduate academics this past year included Dr. McCown’s participation in the teamthat teaches HON100, “Self-Awareness” in the WCU Honors College, reaching 80 students. Infall 2019, he will teach an Honors Seminar (HON452) entitled “Mindfulness and Leadership.”We have plans to branch out in the minor next year, proposing additions of contemplativecourses in music, art, and social work, as a start. The more that our students can see thecontemplative dimension in their own majors, the faster and easier the minor will grow.Growing Graduate AcademicsAt the graduate level, we’ve branched out too. While we have long been a site for Master’sdegree students in Public Health and Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs to get fieldexperience, we’ve not had a specifically contemplative graduate program located at the CCS.Now we do. The Graduate Certificate in Applied Mindfulness started in fall 2018, offeringwide-ranging possibilities for students. Just as our undergraduate minor is interdisciplinaryand reaches out to students in all majors, the new certificate program is designed toaugment or integrate with many different WCU graduate programs, including public health,social work, clinical mental health counseling, psychology, nursing, exercise and sportscience, educational counseling, PK-12 education, higher education policy and studentaffairs, transformative education and social change, human resource management, andmore that we are discovering as we go. And the curriculum carries an extra benefit forWCU, as the advanced training course includes demonstration groups, in which studentsare participant-observers in a six-week mindfulness course that includes 10 faculty andstaff members as participants. Demand for the first group was so high that we offeredanother—and could have filled many more!8Center for Contemplative StudiesYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

The first cohort—19 students—came together to form a multifaceted and highly supportivelearning community. Just a few of the projects they are about to roll out in their workplacesand organizations include mindfulness groups for parents, for students with readingdifferences, for athletes training together, for frail elders and caregivers, for people inrecovery, and more.Here’s one student’s experience, as an example: “I practiced mindfulness in my first-gradeclassroom every day this school year. By the end, the students were leading the sit. On thelast day of school, a student rang the bell, suggested we get into our mindful bodies, guideda few breaths, and then we sat in silence. I felt my tense bodyThe Graduate Certificatein Applied Mindfulnessstarted in fall 2018,offering wide-rangingpossibilities for students.release a bit and soaked in the energy from the group. In histiny, but confident voice, he suggested we think of a memoryof our time together. He ended the sit with another ring ofthe bell, and we began an emotional wrap up of our schoolyear and the community we created. If I had any doubts ofthe power of mindfulness in the classroom, they melted away.Practicing mindfulness daily connected a diverse, active groupof first graders into a cohesive learning community!” The impact of this graduate certificatewill ultimately be felt far and wide.Reaching beyond the UniversityThe Center has been offering contemplative-based programming through a seminar series—now known as the “Saturday Seminars,” since 2011. This year’s series included a lecture onthe latest scientific evidence on mindfulness as a clinical intervention, and a seminar onthe uses of mindfulness in education and community life for people with disabilities andtheir caregivers. Our branching out was a new policy of adding a hands-on workshop to atleast one seminar each semester to give participants a chance to deepen their experienceand learn new contemplative-based skills. In seminar/workshops, participants learnedhow to direct and share subtle energy, work with folks with disabilities, and use drawing ascontemplative practice.9

A Letter from our Co-DirectorsAs our three-year-long distinguished speakers series, “Science, Spirit, and Health,” supportedby a generous anonymous donor, wrapped up this year, we moved from neuroscientistAndrew Newberg’s fall talk on “Spirituality in Mental Health: Just How Crazy is ‘Crazy,’ ” to arthistorian James Elkins talking this spring about “Intense Encounters with Art Works.” Themove was a shift of topic and venue (the John H. Baker Art Gallery in the E.O. Bull Art Center),pulling in faculty and students we’ve not directly appealed to before. On the morning afterthe talk, we also added a workshop by Dr. Elkins for WCU art students. We’re now finalizingplans for the next three-year series, with talks each semester under the bigger banner,“Contemplative Living in Action,” which will incorporate at least one workshop each year.First in the series will be an evening of conversation on contemplation and action with ourCenter’s good friend Pat Croce, scheduled on October 16, 2019. You’ll want to save that date!Of course, we also continue to respond to requests to teach and support contemplativeprograms in educational and social institutions in the larger community. We’ve continuedto deepen our collaboration with the Chester County Intermediate Unit and districts andschools in the area, providing talks and workshops. In fact, right now, we are now waiting tohear about a grant for a study of the effects of teacher mindfulness on student outcomesin special education classrooms, which is an important, under-researched area. We alsohave been running programs for non-profit organizations—such as staff training for SPIN,which serves people of all ages with autism and intellectual/developmental disabilities inSoutheastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley; and our sponsoring of Act 48 credits forthe annual conference of MiEN (Mindfulness in Education Network), a national organizationpromoting mindfulness in K-12 schools. This work is also building bridges, for collaborationon research, and opportunity for field experience for our students. And that’s how we’re notonly branching out, but also planting new trees.Wishing you the ease of wellbeing,Don & Chris10Center for Contemplative StudiesYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

A Farewell from our Co-Director, Chris MoriconiAs I retire, I am looking back on the process of co-creating the Center for ContemplativeStudies and it has been an honor, one I will hold dear. It has been a wonderful processof give and take, unknowing and discovery with Don McCown, my co-director. I want tothank Don for staying the course through thick and thin. Yoga mats in the car trunk andsqueezing in mindfulness classes between faculty responsibilities has been a practice ofbalance from the start. The Center for Contemplative Studies began in 2011 as a virtualCenter with a mission and vision but no identifiable space on the WCU campus until, “outof the blue”, in 2015, Pat and Diane Croce made a generous gift that has enabled Donand I to grow and develop CCS mindfulness programing for students, as well as for staffand faculty. These are efforts to grow and enhance a culture of mindful awareness withinthe university community.Many thanks to Dean Scott Heinerichs, who has been a continued supporter of CCS anda believer in our vision. Gratitude also to all of the WCU students, graduate assistants,and our first administrative assistant, Patti Spackman, who have been key to our mission.I leave CCS with all the people and memories held close to my heart. The CCS story ofabiding in the present moment and acting from a spirit of generosity is the legacy ofcontemplative living. This will be the story that carries possibilities forward at the Centerfor Contemplative Studies.Love to all,ChrisEnvoi – Contemplating the FutureAs I am thinking through the potential challenges and delights of the coming academicyear at CCS, I know that I will reach out, as has long been my practice, for the supportof my friend and co-director. Although I may no longer find her close by, I trust that herkindness, compassion, and very practical wisdom will be right here with me. Or, there’salways the telephone!In friendship,Don11

Our Formal EventsOur Saturday Seminar Series(ongoing since 2012) exploresdimensions of contemplativelife, both scientific and social.Our Distinguished Speaker Series(Supported by a wonderfulanonymous donor!) bringsleading thinkers to campus toeducate us on “Science, Spirit,and Health.”12Center for Contemplative StudiesYEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

ScholarshipProfessional DevelopmentCongratulations to Dr. Moriconi on completing thePsychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programat University of Pennsylvania, and becoming licensedand certified!Dr. McCown was on sabbatical leave for the springsemester and traveled to Liverpool in the UK,where he trained as a “Reader Leader” and receivedadvanced mentorship training in the shared readingprogram of The Reader Organization, a national charitythat runs reading groups in more than 500 locationsin the UK. The program is evidence-based, withongoing research through the University of Liverpool.Dr. McCown, with the help of MPH graduate studentsGarrett Skelton and Michelle Laurenzi is adding tothe evidence base, through a pilot study at the CCS,and ongoing research involving Homeless veterans atthe Coatesville VA Medical Center. He will present onthe work with students this coming November at theannual conference of the Association for ContemplativeMind in Higher Education, in Amherst, MA.Dr. McCown completed the three-day “First DoNo Harm” meditation safety training from BrownUniversity that includes five modules: informedconsent, screening, monitoring, mechanism, andmanagement. The training covers the potentialadverse effects of meditation, methods to ensuresafety, and, particularly, trauma-informed methodsof teaching. This material will be included in trainingstudent instructors for CCS programs, and in theGraduate Certificate in Applied Mindfulness courses.PublicationsMcCown, D. (in press). Contemplation. In A.Possamai,& A. J. Blasi (Ed.), The Sage Encyclopedia of Sociology ofReligion. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.McCown, D. (in press). Meditation. In A.Possamai, &A. J. Blasi (Ed.), The Sage Encyclopedia of Sociology ofReligion. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Mamberg, M.H. & McCown, D. (2018). Mindfulnessbased programs de-reify self: DST clarifies a newtherapeutic voice. In A. Konopka, H. Hermans, & M.Gonçalves (eds.) The Dialogical Self in Psychotherapy:Across Schools and Cultures. Abingdon: Routledge.Reibel, D. & McCown, D. (2019). Mindfulness-basedstress reduction: Theory, practice, and evidencebase. In I. Ivtzan (ed.), Handbook of Mindfulness-BasedPrograms: Every Established Intervention, from Medicineto Education. Abingdon: Routledge.International PresentationGiorgino, V. & McCown, D. (2018). Opening aContemplative Commons During the Great Transition:Reorienting the MBIs, International Conference onMindfulness (ICM) 2018, Amsterdam, NL, July 10-13.PostersMoriconi, C., & McCown, D. (2018). Mindfulnesspractice within a psychiatric BSN clinical curriculum:A pilot study with substance use clients. 10th AnnualConference of Association for Contemplative Mind inHigher Education, Amherst, MA, 5-7 October.Moriconi, C., & McCown, D. (2018). Mindfulnesspractice within a psychiatric BSN clinical curriculum:A pilot study with substance use clients. 32ndAmerican Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)Conference, Columbus, OH, 25 October.Moriconi, C. (2018). Rapid-fire session: “Kids First:A pilot study of mindfulness and emotional wellbeing for preschool children.” 13th Annual NursingResearch Day, Christiana Hospital, University ofDelaware, 2 November.Moriconi, C. (2019; accepted). Holistic care in thecommunity health setting: How do we get there?”33rd American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA)Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, 4 October.13

Much Gratitude to our StaffIt takes so many people to make the CCS run soefficiently. Thanks to all these folks for their dedicationand kindness!a candidate for yoga teacher certification. She teachesgentle yoga/mindful movement at the Center.Graduate Assistants and Internstowards a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology and a BAin Spanish Language and Cultures, with anticipatedgraduation in 2022. She completed the Yoga TeacherTraining program this spring.King Frayneld is a graduate student in the WCUMaster of Public Health program and a graduateassistant at the Center for Contemplative Studies,with an anticipated graduation date of spring 2020.He’ll be with us again in 2019-20.Michelle Laurenzi is a graduate student in the WCUMaster of Public Health program and a graduateassistant at the Center for Contemplative Studies,graduating in spring 2019. She hopes to help bringmindfulness and contemplative practices to ourstudent body as well as show everyone how easy it isto incorporate into their lives. Mindfulness has greatlyhelped Michelle as a student, and she believes it canbe beneficial to everyone else as well.Garett Skelton is a graduate student at WCU Masterof Public Health program, and a graduate assistanton campus. His work at the Center for ContemplativeStudies was in conducting research as part of theApplied Learning project for the MPH Program. Garettwill graduate in spring 2019.Yoga Teachers in TrainingAbigail Kennedy is a Professional Studies major witha focus on Geography and Communication, with ananticipated graduation of spring 2020. She joinedthe WCU Yoga Teacher Training program fall of 2018and has found it to be one of the most impactfulexperiences in her academic career. She completedthe program this spring and hopes to focus herpractice on helping children learn healthy ways tomove their bodies.Victoria Maurone is a senior Psychology major at WCU.She is in the Contemplative Studies minor program and14Center for Contemplative StudiesUpasna Singh is a dual-degree candidate workingCheri Turnquest is a yoga instructor here at the Centerof Contemplative Studies. She is currently in her thirdyear of the Yoga Teacher Training program at WCU.Mindful Art InstructorEmily McGuigan is a Senior BFA student with aconcentration in drawing and painting, and Psychologyand International Business minors. Her future goalsinclude a Master’s degree in Art Therapy. Emily ispassionate about mental health and believes in thepower of creative expression to heal. She has ledMindful Art sessions at the Center, Monday throughThursday, during the spring semester.Meditation LeaderJules Hedrick is a first-year graduate student in theMaster’s program for Higher Education Policy andStudent Affairs. She graduated Bloomsburg Universitywith an Organizational Communication Studies degreeand a minor in Professional Writing. Her hobbiesconsist of traveling, attending Zumba classes andpracticing mindfulness and meditation.Aikido InstructorsAntonio Aloia is currently a West Chester Historygraduate student and a graduate assistant for theHistory Department.Carolyn Flechsig is the laboratory coordinator for theChemistry Department, and a highly skilled practitionerand teacher.YEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019

About the Center for Contemplative Studies (CCS)The CCS was developed in 2011 and was based on the WCU Stress Reduction Center, which itsuperseded. The new name was not so much inspiration as aspiration: to create a place and, evenmore importantly, an atmosphere on campus in which the benefits of all the great contemplativetraditions could be explored and experienced by students and the whole community—for healthand wellness, self-regulation, self-awareness, and, ultimately, for friendship and solidarity. Ouroverall goal is to clear a path for students to engage in contemplative educational experiencesand personal practices that can promote their wellbeing during their educational career andthroughout their lives. Because contemplative practices are relational and engender an attitudeof friendliness towards all experiences, we hope that, over time, this attitude will grow to affectthe entire West Chester University community.VisionTo wake up our neighbors and ourselves to the eternal possibilities of the present moment.MissionOur mission is three-fold:1. Deliver educational opportunities in contemplative studies for students, professionals, clinicians,and educators, both locally and internationally;2. Support the West Chester University community and local institutions and organizations inapplying contemplative practices to improve wellbeing for leaders, members, employees, clients,and constituencies;3. Add to the research base about contemplative practices in clinical and educational applications,while training the next generation of teachers and researchers.15

WCU Center for Contemplative Studies700 South Church Street, West Chester, PA

4 Center for Contemplative Studies YEAR IN REVIEW 2018-2019 . circles led by Dr. Angela Guerriero and music education students. This started as part . recovery, and more. Here’s one student’s experience,