Video Spotlight: University Meditation Program, 2007-Present


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This video spotlights the diverse learning environments of the University of Redlands’ pioneering meditation program in its first 16 years of academic classes and community offerings. As reported in places such as Inside Higher Ed (Redden, 2007, December 18) and books published from the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (Astin et al., Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives, 2011), our contemplative classroom was one of the first of its kind at any college or university when it opened in 2007. We were inspired by the call for more holistic and “interior” learning in the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ document, College Learning for the New Global Century (2007). As described in the book, Meditation and the Classroom (Simmer-Brown & Grace, eds., 2011), the college students in our contemplative classes are exposed to inner practices that deepen their self-knowledge and cultivate disciplined habits of mind. Ultimately, through practices such as tonglen, students' capacity for compassion expands to include others and also the Earth. The Meditation Program has grown to include intergenerational classes, free community offerings such as a weekly virtual meditation, and large-scale public events across a wide spectrum of contemplative practices. Our faculty have published books and articles on the effects of contemplative education, as observed in our program. For example, an interdisciplinary team of professors from fields of religion, psychology, and biology published a study of our Compassion Course in The Journal of American College Health, demonstrating the positive effect of meditation, mindfulness, and compassion education on college students’ well-being (Ko et.al., 2018, March).. Since the Meditation Program began in 2007, we have received many inquiries and on-site visits from faculty and administrators of other institutions, seeking information about the “how” of establishing a place for inner learning. This video gives a helpful visual introduction to our practices.

Key Words:

College, university, education, contemplative practice, contemplative, inner education, meditation, mindfulness, spiritual, educational, pedagogical, mental health, intergenerational, compassion, healing, happiness, inner, forgiveness


Astin, Alexander W., Helen S. Astin, and Jennifer A. Lindholm. 2011. Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Redden, Elizabeth. 2007. More Spiritual, But Not in Church. Inside Higher Ed, December 18.


I express appreciation to: 1) the thousands of students, community participants, and instructors who have contributed their time and energy to our classes and programs; 2) Support staff: Denise Spencer and Tracy Teillard; 3) Faculty members: Bill Huntley, Lorenzo Garbo, Patricia Geary, Nancy Carrick, Karen Derris, Lillian Larsen, Lisa Olson, Celine Ko, Larry Gross, and Frederic Rabinowitz.

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