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Bentley Professors Bring Spirituality & Meditative Practices into Business Education

November 2, 2005

Waltham, MA - Call it a role reversal -- Bentley professors become the students during a series of workshops in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006 designed to help them integrate methods such as quiet meditation, reflection, mindfulness, and centering prayer into their courses.

 

The project, "Embedding Contemplative Practices into Bentley's Curriculum", was made possible by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Bentley is one of only three schools in the country, out of 51 applicants, to have received the grant. The two other schools are Brown University and the City University of New York.

 

Professor of Management Joe Weiss received the grant, a Contemplative Program Development Fellowship, and will lead several workshops throughout the school year. "The workshops and campus talks are designed to inform, instruct, model and also create a comfort zone that will enable professors to experiment with different contemplative methods and even design courses that combine these practices with their specialty areas. Students seem more ready for deeper, more soulful learning/teaching approaches than we are!" says Weiss.

 

Professor Weiss holds a master's of divinity from Union Theological Seminary. In 2002, he pioneered the first course in Spirituality and Management at Bentley called "Life Calling & Career Strategies: The Spiritual Journey" which earned him Bentley's Innovation in Teaching Award. He notes that he includes a mindful approach in his MBA leadership course, management consulting and executive coaching. Weiss believes the grant allows Bentley to follow through on its commitment on educating "the whole person" and to offer students the skills essential to professional success, "In today's workforce, creativity is one of the most sought-after capabilities. How do you foster creativity? By listening and nurturing the voice within, gaining a deep sense of self-confidence, and becoming who you are in the fullness of your gifts."

 

The new faculty workshops begin amid a growing scholarly interest in incorporating body, mind and spirit into business and business education. Schools including Stanford, Columbia and Notre Dame also offer courses that encourage spiritual exploration within the context of the workplace. At Bentley, professors in fields such as Management, Marketing and English have already begun to use contemplative practices in their classes. Weiss' recent article on spirituality and leadership is "Calling, New Careers, and Spirituality," with Tim Hall, John Haughey, and Michael Skelly, Vol. 5 , Research in Ethical Issues in Organizations (Elsevier) vol. 5, no. 3, 25-37, 2004.

 

BENTLEY UNIVERSITY is one of the nation’s leading business schools, dedicated to preparing a new kind of business leader – one with the deep technical skills, broad global perspective, and high ethical standards required to make a difference in an ever-changing world. Our rich, diverse arts and sciences program, combined with an advanced business curriculum, prepares informed professionals who make an impact in their chosen fields. Located on a classic New England campus minutes from Boston, Bentley is a dynamic community of leaders, scholars and creative thinkers. The Graduate School emphasizes the impact of technology on business practice, in offerings that include MBA and Master of Science programs, PhD programs in accountancy and in business, and customized executive education programs. The university enrolls approximately 4,100 full-time undergraduate, 140 adult part-time undergraduate, 1,430 graduate, and 43 doctoral students. Bentley is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the European Quality Improvement System, which benchmarks quality in management and business education. For more information, please visit www.bentley.edu

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