A Lower Mainland university will be the first in Canada to offering a for-credit, graduate program in Mindfulness-Based Teaching and Learning (MBTL).
The University of the Fraser Valley, which has campuses in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission and Hope, announced plans Wednesday for a four-course, 10-month, part-time program beginning in September 2019. The program is designed to transfer into a range of career pathways, including the MEd program at the University of Calgary’s Werklund School of Education and many other professional graduate programs.
“Ours is one of the first graduate mindfulness programs in North America,” said Dr. Seonaigh MacPherson, coordinator of the MBTL graduate certificate program. “As a for-credit program that links research to practice, it can be integrated within graduate and professional degree programs.”
“While there are other, continuing education programs based in universities across the continent, these are not fully developed as academic programs.”
Mindfulness, defined as “present-moment awareness free of judgment,” per the UFV news release, is having a moment right now in scholastic circles, as mounting scientific research demonstrates that mindfulness programs improve well-being, mental health, and lifelong learning.
“According to the American Mindfulness Research Association, scientific studies of mindfulness have increased from 10 in 2000 to 700 in 2019,” said MacPherson, who has been practising mindfulness for over four decades. “What we need now are training programs like UFV’s Mindfulness-Based Teaching and Learning grad certificate to prepare qualified and well-informed mindfulness practitioners to design, teach, and promote evidence-based mindfulness programs.
MacPherson added that much of the current mindfulness training is ad hoc, and can fail to ensure trainers are keeping up with the ever-growing evidence base. UFV’s program, much of which will be taught online, aims to remedy this.
“The great thing about becoming a mindfulness specialist is that it begins with you. I love that focus on self-care,” said MacPherson. “We start by embodying mindfulness in our own personal and professional lives. Only then can we take that next step of introducing mindfulness to colleagues, clients, and students.
For those interested in the program, there will be an information session on Mar. 28 from 4-5 p.m. at the UFV Abbotsford campus. People can also take part online.
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