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Professions & Performance

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Professions & Performance

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UVA is exploring contemplation in business, professions, athletics, and artistic performances for professionalism, productivity, and innovation. We are offering a pilot academic course in mindfulness for third years in the McIntire School of Commerce, while Leadership and the College are offering a January course on contemplative entrepreneurship. Professional development is fundamental to the Compassionate Care Initiative in health care, Education's contemplative reworking of teacher preparation programs, and mindfulness in Darden's Leadership as Wise Practice with Elizabeth Powell. There is also important research being done, such as David Mick's (McIntire) book Transformative Consumer Research for Personal and Collective Well-being.
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Interest in contemplation is rapidly expanding in business and athletics, as well as artistic performances, and thus U.Va. has been making rapid progress in these areas. For example, in business, marketing Professor David Mick of the McIntire School of Commerce has co-edited a pioneering new book called Transformative Consumer Research for Personal and Collective Well-being, which asks age-old questions about happiness and wisdom in the context of modern consumer society in which individuals are challenged to consume sustainably and healthily. At the Darden School of Business, yoga and mindfulness practices are introduced during the first week of the EMBA program in a class led by Professor Elizabeth Powell called “Leadership as Wise Practice.” Her elective course on “Leadership Presence” also incorporates contemplation, along with acting techniques, to help students communicate more authentically and powerfully. A pilot program is introduce an eight week academic course in mindfulness for third year students in McIntire. Batten and the College are teaming up to offer a January term course on social entrepreneurship that draws extensively upon contemplative ideas and practices. Professional development is also fundamental to the Compassionate Care Initiative, which is cultivating a resilient and compassionate healthcare workforce—locally, regionally, and nationally— through innovative educational and experiential programs grounded in contemplative approaches; it is also crucial in the Curry School of Education's reworking of teacher preparation programs to make contemplation a cornerstone for better classroom management skills, resiliency, and communication. In sports, contemplative practices such as visualization and breathwork have become popular among competitive athletes as means of improving performance. Lessons learned about improving performance among athletes are now being applied and investigated in the context of business. The Darden School’s partnership with the Human Performance Institute’s Corporate Athlete program is but one example. For the wider student body, U.Va.’s Intramural Sports has an already diverse array of mind-body classes to which it has been added an Ashtanga Yoga program, directed by religious studies professor John Campbell, and now a program in T'ai chi as well. We are expanding this to a flexible and modular set of programs that any group or unit at U.Va. can take advantage of as integrated with their work environment. Progress in the arts has been slower, but there are numerous faculty with interests that CSC will be helping develop.
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