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REF NO.: 81

SUBJECT: Memorial students embrace workplace mindfulness

DATE: April 18,2017

Memorial University’s first workplace-oriented mindfulness training program for students is receiving accolades from participants.

Nine graduate and undergraduate students from the School of Social Work, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the Faculty of Business Administration and the Faculty of Science’s Department of Psychology took part in the course.

The 10-week Workplace Mindfulness course included a 90-minute session per week and a two-hour capstone session at the end. Participants were engaged in co-op work terms, internships or field placements for their respective programs.

According to Dr. Janna Rosales, lead investigator for the project, mindfulness training cultivates attention and present-moment awareness free from judgment. Mindfulness has also been linked to increased empathy and compassion towards oneself and others.

“In the past number of years, mindfulness training programs have been adopted by many workplaces to support employee well-being, focus and clarity, among other things,” Dr. Rosales said.

Prominent organizations such as Google, Nike and Intel are champions of workplace mindfulness. In 2015 Memorial piloted a successful workplace mindfulness program for employees.

“We have many students who participate in work placements as part of their education so we thought this kind of training might make a significant contribution to students’ professional development in terms of honing their abilities to pay attention, to think clearly and to reflect, not to mention supporting their well-being both at work and in their studies,” added Dr. Rosales.

Andrew Safer of Safer Mindfulness facilitated the program, which included meditation and other mindfulness practices, a presentation on a weekly theme, such as The Business Case for Mindfulness and Building Respectful Relationships, and reflections from participants.

“The students were highly engaged with the mindfulness practices and the material that was presented,” said Mr. Safer. “They began applying what they learned in their workplaces very quickly, whether it was pausing instead of reacting or recognizing their interior monologue and bringing their attention back to the present.”

The next course will begin on May 9, with a final course to follow in the fall 2017 semester. Courses are open to any Memorial student completing a work placement during the time of the course offerings.

Funded by Memorial University’s Teaching and Learning Framework, the Workplace Mindfulness initiative is led by Dr. Rosales, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and Dr. Kara Arnold, Faculty of Business Administration.

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For more information, please contact Jackey Locke, communications advisor, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, at (709) 864-8287 or jackey.locke@mun.ca; or Susan White, communications advisor, Faculty of Business Administration, at (709) 864-2616 or susanwhite@mun.ca

 

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