About the 2014 Conference

Intention, Method, and Evaluation: The 6th Annual ACMHE Conference

October 10-12, 2014
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
$332 – $485 (ACMHE members pay a lower rate)

View/download the conference schedule

Read the Conference Program


Conference Theme | Keynote Speaker | Networking at the Conference | Conference Committee & Organizers

Conference Theme

Faculty, staff, and administrators throughout higher education are employing contemplative practices for many reasons. These include sharpening attention; creating environments that enhance the well-being of all; addressing inclusion and access for all in support of the vibrant diversity of our institutions; deepening engagement and learning of subject matter; reflecting on and supporting meaning-making; considering the wider impacts of our actions; and ultimately supporting the development of a more just and compassionate society. Given the breadth and depth of these many intentions, the types of practices used are extremely diverse, and their assessment needs to be approached with great sensitivity. Assessment of practices designed to develop attention, for example, will be different from assessment of those practices designed to increase conceptual understanding or develop compassion and creativity.

This conference seeks to investigate the relationship between the intentions of contemplative methods and their effectiveness. How might the development and evaluation of these methods be guided by what has been discovered about the many ways we learn, the creation of meaning, and the development of meaningful assessment? How might contemplative practices inform new ways of evaluating effectiveness?

Presentations at the 2014 ACMHE Conference will examine many topics relating to contemplative inquiry in higher education, but will emphasize investigations of intention, method, and evaluation. We will also explore the relationship between contemplative education and other approaches that share an emphasis on awareness, experience, inquiry, and transformation (e.g., holistic education, transformative education, feminist pedagogy, critical race theory), as well as the results of evidence-based studies throughout higher education that can challenge and deepen the use of contemplative practices inside and outside the classroom.


Keynote Address by Peter Felten

Toward mindful assessments: Inquiry in and as practice

Purposes matter. As Arthur Zajonc reminds us, our aims for student learning and development are “too important to be left to chance.” Having intentions, however, is not enough. Practices matter. As scholars we inquire into the results of our work. Are our students reaching our goals? Are we supporting and challenging our students along the way? In this interactive session, we will explore how our intentions and methods can inform the ways we assess our students, our pedagogies, and our programs. We also will consider whether assessment practices truly can be mindfully aligned with our goals.


Peter FeltenPeter Felten is the Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning, Executive Director of the Center for Engaged Learning and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and Associate Professor of History at Elon University.

As a teacher, he aims to help students think critically and write clearly about the connections between the lives of individual people and larger themes in history. As a scholar, he has published widely on the scholarship of teaching and learning, including most recently the co-authored books Transforming Students: Fulfilling the Promise of Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) and Engaging Students as Partners in Learning and Teaching: A Guide for Faculty
(Jossey-Bass, 2014).


Networking and Connecting at the Conference

ACMHE conferences are more than an opportunity to present relevant work and gain insights into current contemplative pedagogy methods and practices–they provide a space for higher education professionals from different regions, disciplines, and offices to meet and connect with one another.

In order to foster these connections, we have introduced Home Groups as a feature of the 2014 ACMHE Conference. On Friday night, at the start of the conference, participants will have the opportunity to meet in a small group arranged by geographic region and talk about their backgrounds, interests, and plans for the conference. Specific times throughout the conference will be designated for Home Groups to reconvene and discuss what they’ve learned and experienced during Parallel Sessions and other conference sessions. We hope that this structure will provide participants with a sense of continuity and connection as they move through the weekend, and also with a means of continuing their connections when they return home.

In addition to the Home Groups, the conference aims to nurture a supportive and lively environment for exchanging ideas through interactive presentations, thematic paper presentations, experiential contemplative practice sessions, panel and plenary presentations, and open, unstructured time for conversation.



JOCI Issue 1

Presenters and participants are invited to submit related papers to The Journal of Contemplative Inquiry (ISSN: 2333-7281), which will dedicate a future issue to the topics of intention, evidence, and evaluation.

2014 Conference Committee

Heesoon Bai
Professor, Philosophy of Education, Simon Fraser University

Daniel Barbezat
Professor, Economics, Amherst College
Director, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Oliver Hill
Professor, Experimental Psychology, Virginia State University

Renée A. Hill
Associate Professor, Philosophy, Virginia State University

Douglas K. Lindner
Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech

Terry Murray
Associate Professor, Educational Studies, SUNY New Paltz

David Sable
Lecturer, Religious Studies, Saint Mary’s University

Genét Simone
Program Director & Senior Instructor, Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University

Linda Slakey
Professor and Dean Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Conference Organizer

Jennifer Palmer
Program Associate & Events Coordinator, The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society

Conference Coordinator

David Levy
Professor, The Information School, University of Washington