A six-week program, Mindfulness in Education, Teaching, Assessment and Learning (METAL), will begin in the spring semester for University of Delaware faculty members.
Michael Mackenzie, assistant professor of behavioral health and nutrition and director of the Mind Body Behavior Laboratory, is providing the mindfulness-based program for faculty development.
According to Mackenzie, mindfulness is impartial present-moment focused attention and awareness.
The program, which is funded by the Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL), will teach UD faculty members how to foster and develop their own reflective mindfulness skills in and outside the classroom, as well as give them the opportunity to disseminate this knowledge to their students.
METAL will take place from 4-5 p.m. every Wednesday from Feb. 15 through March 22 in Allison Hall, room 220 (Alumni Lounge).
Mackenzie, in collaboration with Employee Health and Wellness and with the help of his then-graduate student Jenna Ferguson, previously hosted a six-week program, Mindful Employee and Occupational Wellness (MEOW). MEOW helped 30 UD employee participants apply mindfulness-specific stress reduction strategies during their workday. The program, along with its complementary talk at the 2016 Summer Faculty Institute, was very well-received. Participant feedback encouraged more curricula like MEOW, but tailored directly to faculty within the University.
“We felt we could go deeper with faculty, and further integrate all the wonderful work and research being done with mindfulness in education to offer a tailored best-practices program for UD faculty,” Mackenzie said.
Participants will engage in exercises of breathing, movement and contemplation in order to help them sustain attention on present experience. Ultimately, participants will be able to use mindfulness to foster student engagement and reduce stress.
For best results, full commitment to the six-week program is preferred. “Learning these skills is an iterative process and, like any training, takes time to develop and foster results,” said Mackenzie, adding, “we see a six-week introduction as just that, an introduction to beginning to cultivating these skills.”
Questions regarding the program may be shared by emailing graduate research coordinator Alexis Mattei at firstname.lastname@example.org.