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The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Revisiting Boice

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director I’ve been preparing a one-week summer workshop in humanities pedagogy for a few post-docs starting their positions this fall.  My partner in this development is one of our Graduate Teaching Fellows, Jessica Riviere, who just dotted her i’s and crossed her t’s for graduating (or “walking”) in May. The confluence of…

Posted on March 21, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: The Continual Unfolding of Our Work

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This week was an especially stressful time of the semester. Some of you are looking forward to spring break, but Vanderbilt’s was at the very beginning of March.  The week after break–or, as we often call it, “break”–is hard for instructors and students alike. We see the home stretch in…

Posted on March 14, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: About Time

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This work of mindfulness–in essence, focusing awareness on the present moment–has me noticing more clearly how I experience time. Despite the best efforts of clocks and schedules, time is a subjective, varying, and malleable phenomenon. In October’s “Stories of the Slow Professor,” I wrote about it from the perspective of how…

Posted on March 7, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Busy-Shaming

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director My Women & Gender Studies class talked about “slut shaming” recently, and I’ve since been thinking about another kind of shaming that worries me–and that I want to be careful to avoid. The flurry of popular media discussions of mindfulness (and other topics) have been accompanied by concerns about how…

Posted on February 28, 2014 in Commentary, Resource, ,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Opening Our Eyes

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director In the rhythm of academia, right as we began this semester, we also selected our courses for next year. I decided to revisit my course on monsters.  Soon after, a friend gave me a book of original Grimm’s fairy tales–a gruesome treasure! I didn’t expect to stumble onto mindfulness while…

Posted on February 21, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Daydream Believer

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director I’ve previously written about the specific kind of meditation that leads to “Inspiration, Creativity, & New Ideas,” but I want to return to this issue. Creativity is a necessary skill in all disciplines, yet it’s among the most difficult to teach. The research on mindfulness offers a few different strategies….

Posted on February 14, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Time, the Superbowl, & Bandwagons

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director This past week brought a kind of harmonic convergence of mindfulness in popular culture.  First, Time magazine featured “The Mindful Revolution” on the cover. Then, or perhaps simultaneously, word spread (from ESPN to the blogosphere) that the Seattle Seahawks–then heading for the Superbowl, now winners of the Superbowl–regularly practice mindfulness and yoga. This…

Posted on February 6, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Doodling & Knitting

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director Last week, I had a great conversation about class participation with SoTL Scholar Hasina Mohyuddin and my Graduate-Teaching-Fellow partner in teaching the SoTL Scholars Program Andrew Greer (both PhD candidates in the Department of Human & Organizational Development).  I also serendipitously asked my students to work together to create…

Posted on January 22, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Enduring Effects

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director I recently announced on Facebook that I take requests. My friend and former colleague Marnie Bullock Dresser asked the following question:  “I can already tell there are fewer monkeys when I’m in serious monkey mind mode. I can tell my brain is different; I’m just wanting to trust that…

Posted on January 15, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,


The Mindful PhD

The Mindful PhD: Support for Stressed Students

by Nancy Chick, CFT Assistant Director The new semester started yesterday here at Vanderbilt. My students were bright-eyed and enthusiastic, though I know they were experiencing those first-day uncertainties about their new classes, professors, and classmates. Soon enough, these early jitters will turn to a more significant set of stresses as assignments come due, exams…

Posted on January 8, 2014 in Commentary, Resource,