Read the 3/27/20 Conference Update: Moving to a Biennial Schedule

The 11th Annual ACMHE Conference

Radical Well-Being in Higher Education:
Approaches for Renewal, Justice, and Sustainability

Lincoln Campus Center
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
Pre-Conference Retreat Day: November 7, 2019
Main Conference: November 8 – 10, 2019


The ACMHE conference is an annual interdisciplinary forum for all aspects of scholarship and research on contemplative approaches in higher education.

For 2019, the ACMHE conference will share how contemplative practices, including mindfulness practices, can support and sustain learning communities that engage multiple ways of knowing and foster a more just, inclusive, sustainable, and compassionate world. In academia, this can function as a form of radical well-being, as contemplative approaches offer means of sustaining ourselves through institutional and societal challenges. In this way, the goals of the 2019 ACMHE conference are to explore the importance of self-care, to emphasize the importance of expanding our sense of care itself, and to learn how this is demonstrated in the field of higher education in ways that lead to more caring, compassionate campuses and communities.

Presentations at the conference might explore topics including, but not limited to:

  • How are we creating learning environments that engage multiple perspectives, understandings, needs, and ways of knowing?
  • How can a praxis of care in the academy bolster our understanding of ourselves, our relations, the structures we live and work in, and our conditioned and learned patterns of behavior?
  • What practices, strategies, or research has been done?
  • How do these approaches promote respect, cooperation, and justice? How can that understanding lead us towards making change, if necessary, towards conditions of greater equity?
  • How do these approaches help us move through feelings of loneliness and isolation in our institutions?
  • Why is a conference such as this needed now? How do topics such as well-being and self-care, within and beyond educational institutions, speak more broadly to the tensions in today’s world?

We hope that this year’s conference will seed new connections and friendships to facilitate a community of well-being and care in academia, and that through attending, you will be supported in addressing this work in your own communities.

The ACMHE conference schedule emphasizes presentations led by scholars, researchers, and practitioners across campus departments, including students and student groups. Shorter sessions (60 minutes) will offer research presentations, and longer sessions (75 minutes) are available for experiential workshops, contemplative practice sessions, performances, roundtable conversations, or other creative modes of sharing. (All of these are also referred to as “parallel sessions,” as several are run concurrently in the schedule.)

We encourage presenters to use the conference as a place to ask and hold questions that may not yet have answers, and to thoughtfully assess their own ability to skillfully facilitate energetic discussion on these topics during their session. We are particularly interested in:

  • presenters who model contemplative pedagogies and approaches in how they conduct their sessions;
  • proposals that identify the specific context in which the work is situated (e.g., academic disciplines, contemplative disciplines, students’ social identities and demographics, institutional history and location, etc.);
  • presentations which offer practical, experience-based recommendations for developing and integrating contemplative approaches in higher education.

Parallel session proposals were accepted through May 13, 2019. Additionally, the poster sessions offer a valuable opportunity to connect with colleagues across many disciplines while viewing summaries of recent research. Poster proposals were accepted on a rolling basis through August 31, 2019.

Keynote by Dr. Jasmine K. Syedullah

Dr. Jasmine Syedullah

2019 Conference Committee

Stephanie Briggs, co-chair 
Assistant Professor of English, Community College of Baltimore County

Kerr Mesner, co-chair
Visiting Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Wells College

Marlon Blake
Student Affairs Advisor, West Coast University

Jon Brammer
Adjunct Instructor, Three Rivers Community College

Xiaoan Li
Program Officer, Fetzer Institute

Muga Miyakawa
Ph.D candidate, Education, Simon Fraser University

Pearl Ratunil
Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, Harper College

Paul Wapner
Professor, School of International Service, American University