Faculty guide students in mindfulness training

By John Bach

Before COVID-19, Tia Sherèe Gaynor, College of Arts and Sciences assistant professor of political science, and Brian Metcalf, assistant professor of psychology, were among 16 faculty members who took part in the Mindfulness and Teaching Faculty Learning Community through UC’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CET&L).

The Learning Community focuses on strategies to build resilience, focus and cultivate wellness in the classroom — strategies which have come in handy during the shutdown.

For example, Gaynor says, given all the feelings (“even the negative feelings”) one can experience during a crisis, she asked her students to set a foundation for each day using a mindfulness tool called a “gratitude practice” by writing three things that would “make today a great day.”

Mindfulness practices such as this, she says, are a holistic, thoughtful way to deal with feelings and create a learning environment that allows students to be emotional humans while also showing themselves a bit of grace.  

And the training is beneficial to the instructor as well, says Metcalf. “While I like to think that I have done a good job with that all along, this has made me try more mindfully to reach out to them regularly. To let them know I am here, I care, I am going through this, too, and am unsure about a lot of things. That I will work to help them reach the finish line. And that I am proud of everything they are doing and how they are adjusting.”

Excerpted from: UC faculty and staff complete historic academic undertaking in response to COVID-19, by John Bach, UC News

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