Mindfulness @ Middlebury

Developing Mindfulness

Mindfulness at Middlebury officially began during the 2015-2016 academic year, when 16 invited colleagues and students from across Middlebury’s institutions convened to examine Middlebury’s institutional engagement with mindfulness. While faculty had been meeting informally for months to discuss the role of mindfulness at Middlebury, the creation of a steering committee marked an effort to give these discussions additional focus and direction.

Convened by Tim Spears, Middlebury College Vice President of Academic Development and co-chaired by Michelle McCauley, Middlebury College Professor of Psychology and Erin Quinn, Middlebury College Director of Athletics, the Mindfulness Steering Committee met regularly to discuss the role of mindfulness at Middlebury. Through looking inwardly at what was already happening on Middlebury’s campuses, as well outwardly to mindfulness initiatives elsewhere, the group gained a broad perspective on the mindfulness work already being done across Middlebury. The long-term charge was to “identify programs and structures to frame our future development of resources around mindfulness and contemplative practice, with a strong emphasis on the academic dimensions of mindfulness.”

The Steering Committee completed its final report in fall 2016, with the understanding that the vision described within it will require further discussion and may take years to achieve. In addition to presenting the report to the Senior Leadership Group, the Committee also submitted it to the Envisioning Middlebury process as part of the strategic planning effort. A copy of the report is available on this website so that community members can read it.

Although the report is mainly future-oriented, the administration identified four key areas where, through a modest investment of resources, we can make meaningful progress in developing mindfulness at Middlebury. For each of those areas, two colleagues will oversee the creation of related programs and activities that will help build the next level of contemplative culture at Middlebury’s campuses.

  • Contemplative practices and the curriculum
    (Middlebury College Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research)
    Becky Gould, Middlebury College Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies
    Jim Ralph, Middlebury College Dean of Faculty Development & Research
    and Rehnquist Professor of American History & Culture
  • Mindfulness programs for students outside the classroom (wellness)
    Mark Orten, Middlebury College Dean of Spiritual & Religious Life
    and Director of the Scott Center

    Baishakhi Taylor, Middlebury College Dean of Students and Lecturer in Sociology
  • Programs for staff and faculty (health and wellness)
    Andi Lloyd, Middlebury College Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty
    and Stewart Professor of Biology

    Laura Wilkinson, Middlebury College Senior Nurse Practitioner
    and Integrative Health Coach for Parton Center for Health & Wellness
  • Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (all mindfulness initiatives)
    Julie E. Johnson, MIIS Associate Professor, French Translation & Interpretation
    Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation & Language Education (GSTILE)
    Jennifer Hambleton-Holguin, MIIS Career & Academic Advisor, Director of Fellowships, Exchanges and Study Abroad

Although Middlebury’s mission statement does not directly name mindfulness, it alludes to it, noting that we offer students “an inspirational setting for learning and reflection.” Thus, mindfulness—as an initiative to facilitate community members’ engagement and practice in intentional focus, overall well-being, and a calm approach to life and problem solving—supports our core values of educating beyond the classroom and working with the whole student.

Download a PDF copy of the Mindfulness at Middlebury Steering Committee Report

We thank the members of the steering committee for their assistance with this work: Aimee Diehl, Sue Driscoll, Melissa Hammerle, Kimberlie Hansen, Julie Johnson, Gus Jordan, Eli Susman, Patricia Szasz, Bill Waldron, Catharine Wright, and Michelle Yang, as well as these administrative members: Jim Ralph, Steve Snyder, and Tim Spears.

In addition, we thank those who served as an in-house advisory committee, answering questions and helping us frame our inquiry: Naila Baloch, James Berg, Sophie Esser Calvi, Carole Cavanaugh, Kim Cronise, Katie Ann Dutcher, Rebecca Gould, Michel Gueldry, Jennifer Herrera, John Huddleston, Jon Isham, Marc Lapin, Jonathan Miller-Lane, Amy Morsman, Andrea Olsen, Mike Roy, John Spackman, Linda White, Larry Yarbrough, Robert Schine, and Lyuba Zarsky.


Michelle McCauley, Erin Quinn, and Tim Spears
On behalf of the Mindfulness Steering Committee

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