Who Are We?
We are a community of scholars who work in various aspects of higher education -- teaching, research, student services, faculty development, and administration. Our institutions are land grant, public, community colleges, and HBCUs. We use various contemplative approaches in our work which reflect our understanding of the transformative nature of education and social change. Meet some our community members below. We'd love to have you join us!
Professor Stephanie Briggs
Professor Michelle Chatman
Stephanie Briggs is an Assistant Professor of English at the Community College of Baltimore County in Baltimore, Maryland, where she teaches Developmental English and English Composition I classes. In addition to English classes, for the past 15 years she has taught and assisted in the long-term development of the college’s History of Hip Hop course. She is a graduate of the New School and New York University in New York City. Her program, “Be. Still. Move: Creative Contemplative Movement,” was developed using the teachings and various practices of a number of mindfulness practitioners. In 2006, Stephanie began exploring the use of movement and mindfulness in the college classroom after studying multi-disciplinary mindfulness practices, movement and vocalization with director/choreographer Meredith Monk. She also took Mudra Theater classes with Elaine Yuen, teacher and student of Chogyam Trungpa. She recently studied the research-to-performance methodology developed by teacher/poet Sekou Sundiata, and use his of storytelling and creative writing to create social engagement around social justice issues developed through his “America Project.” In addition, Stephanie studied combining arts, play, and mindfulness practice with Thich Nhat Hanh ordained Buddhist nun, Sister Jewel.
Professor Briggs leads The Building Communities With Students of Color Initiative, funded by The Fetzer Institute and the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.
Michelle Chatman is an Assistant Professor in the Crime, Justice, and Security Studies program at The University of the District of Columbia (UDC), where she teaches courses on social justice, and urban inequality and where she is also designing a youth studies concentration within the Criminal Justice program. As a contemplative educator, she weaves meditation, music, and introspective practices into her teaching to help facilitate student learning and growth and build community. She is particularity interested in implementing culturally relevant, contemplative practices that foster critical inquiry and inspire justice activism. Her most recently published work, "At Eshu’s Crossroad: Pan African Identity In a Changing City” appears in Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality in Washington, DC (Routledge 2016), and examines the impact of gentrification upon the Pan African and Black Nationalist communities in her hometown of Washington, DC. Her current research focuses on the intersection of contemplative pedagogy with restorative justice and holistic youth development. Michelle earned her M.A. in Applied Anthropology and her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at American University.
Michelle leads a contemplative initiative at UDC which offers a monthly campus-wide meditation, contemplative pedagogy workshops, and an annual faculty and staff retreat. As a practitioner of the Yoruba belief system, the teachings of this ancient tradition, along with influences from her Christian upbringing and other spiritual traditions, serve as the basis of her personal, contemplative practices. Professor Chatman is also enrolled in the Koru Mindfulness Teacher Certification Program. Michelle has initiated youth leadership efforts in The Gambia, West Africa, and in the D.C. area. Her TEDx talk, How Africa Changed My Life, links her contemplative journey to her volunteerism in The Gambia, West Africa. Michelle is also the curator of www.wisdomfromthemat.com, a website devoted to promoting critical, contemplative pedagogy among faculty of color.