Our world is currently being confronted with chilling social issues which call for a framework of teaching and learning that fosters what Latina feminist theorist, Gloria Anzaldúa, called “conocimiento,” a high level of enlightenment fostered through creative contemplative practices such as art, poetry, dance and meditation. The path toward enlightenment connects inner work with public acts involving social change and personal transformation.  This Common Hour session will present a vision of contemplative education that recognizes cultural patterns of oppression, incorporates theoretical lenses rooted in social justice, and employs a diverse ecology of culturally-validating contemplative practices.

Laura I. Rendón is Professor Emerita at the University of Texas-San Antonio. She is also an educational consultant and featured speaker at over 100 higher education institutions and conferences throughout the nation. Her presentations focus on topics such as student success, Latinx STEM students, and sensing/thinking deep learning experiences, as well as self-care and healing. A native of Laredo, Texas Rendón’s passion is ensuring that the nation’s educational system fosters success for all students, especially those who are low-income and first generation. Rendón developed “validation theory,” an asset-based student success framework that has been employed to frame research studies and programmatic activities in two- and four-year colleges and universities. Rendón is also a teaching and learning theorist and thought leader.

She is the author of the book, Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking Pedagogy): Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation, as well as numerous publications focusing on student success and contemplative education. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, a member of the Board of Directors of the John N Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education and former Fellow of the Fetzer Institute. In 2013 the Texas Diversity Council awarded Rendón the title of being one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas. Rendon’s personal archives are a part of the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas-Austin, one of the premier libraries in the world focused on Latin America and Latinx Studies.