Date of Award

Spring 3-1-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Elaine Walker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, Ph.D.


contemplative pedagogy, professional identity, higher education faculty


Anxiety, depression, and feeling overwhelmed are consistently reported among college students. Contemplative pedagogy is a teaching approach that incorporates yoga, meditation, and other spiritual and physical activities into an academic curriculum. It is an emerging prescription in the field of higher education to alleviate some of the emotional struggles students face, providing an alternative solution to more clinical interactions. Contemplative faculty are higher education professors who regularly implement contemplative approaches in their teaching as a response to students’ needs. Through an analysis of faculty narratives, this study explores the experiences of contemplative educators in 4-year universities in the United States. This study found that higher education faculty perceive contemplative pedagogy as an integral part of their academic identity and value teaching life skills over subject matter. Professors in this study utilized contemplative pedagogy in response to their students’ emotional needs and frequently had to cope with their academic peers’ unsupportive attitudes toward their teaching and scholarship.