University of Virginia - Virginia State University - Radford University - George Mason - UMBC - Contemplative Sciences Center
Virginia Tech - Invent the Future
Contemplative Practices for the 21st Century University  - March 10-12, 2016 - The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center - Blacksburg, Virginia

Keynote Speakers:

Speaker Photo The Reverend Tim Auman became the University Chaplain to Wake Forest in July of 2001. He has two decades of experience in ministry in higher education and has worked as a Hospice chaplain. Tim has degrees from Wofford College and Duke University. He is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Tim is also a certified spiritual director who enjoys the holy curiosity that is at the heart of the major questions common to people throughout the ages. Why are we here? How shall we live our lives? What is required to arrive at a quiet mind and a serene spirit? At the core of his chaplaincy lies the belief that the cultivation of the human spirit is our greatest task.

Tim is a certified meditation instructor and has been a student of the Tao for fifteen years. When not working, Tim enjoys trekking, reading, hanging out with friends at local coffee shops, and remaining open and ready to receive new gifts of wisdom, connection, and depth of soul.

Speaker Photo Marvin G. Belzer, Ph.D, is the Associate Director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He has been teaching mindfulness meditation for over fifteen years, including the UCLA MAPS courses as well as a summer undergraduate course at UCLA (Psychiatry 175: Mindfulness Practice and Theory). For many years he taught a semester-long meditation course in the Department of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, where he was a Professor of Philosophy. He and Diana Winston were instrumental in developing week-long mindfulness retreats for teens in the mid-1990s.

Speaker Photo Cathy Kropff is the Director of Hokie Wellness, in addition to co-founding and co-owning her own business with her husband. She received her Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Sports Management from The State University of New York College at Cortland and a Master in Public Health Administration from Virginia Tech. Prior to Virginia Tech, Cathy worked in sports management and marketing for the New York Yankees Double-A minor league baseball team and Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports. She is a certified Worksite Wellness Specialist and a Certified Wellness Coach as well as FEMA certified. Cathy enjoys running, reading, hiking, racquetball, volleyball, painting, and spending time with family and friends.

Speaker Photo Mo Edjlali is the co-founder of Mindful Leader Inc. producers of the Mindful Leadership Summit - the largest international gathering of CXO, Executive Directors, entrepreneurs, leaders and change makers around bringing Mindfulness to leaderships and into the workplace. He is also the founder of TeleSangha - a technology service that helps people develop a daily meditation habit with the power of peer support. Mo is a serial entrepreneur and his last company grew to a multimillion-dollar company from 0 to 30 people in less then 3 years. His experience includes working for startups, non-profits, F500 companies, and government agencies including: Accenture, Fair Issac, NASA, USCIS - alongside White House Digital Services Team. He graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech. In his free time he creates psychedelic electronic pop while fantasizing about becoming a rock star.

Speaker Photo A passion for critical care nursing underlies the distinguished career of Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, PhD, FAAN, as a clinician, scholar, researcher, educator, and leader.

Since her appointment as Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing and dean at UVA, Dr. Fontaine has implemented Appreciative Inquiry methodology as the basis for the School’s strategic planning and launched an interdisciplinary process to create a transformational model to provide compassionate end-of-life care across the health care spectrum. In addition, she has been a strong advocate for interprofessional education, engaging both medical and nursing students in collaboration with the School of Medicine, and a champion of developing the School's continuing education programs for working nurses.

Dr. Fontaine’s teaching has centered on issues related to critical care, including sleep promotion, pain relief, and family presence at the end of life. Most recently, she has investigated strategies to promote nursing education partnerships, diversity, and interprofessional education in university settings. Her priorities as dean include continued work in promoting healthy workplace environments, building more interprofessional collaborations, and increasing diversity in both the faculty and student populations.

Between 2003 and 2004, she served as president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. That association recognized her contributions with its Lifetime Member Award.

Fontaine was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 1995, has received the Presidential Citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International nursing honor society. Her alma mater, Villanova, honored her with a Medallion for Contributions to the Profession in 1999 and the University of Maryland named her a Distinguished Alumna in 2012.

The following year, Fontaine received the Distinguished Lectureship Award from the Society of Trauma Nurses, the same year that the Blue Ridge chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society feted her with their Silver Hope Award, the society's highest honor. Later in 2013, UVa's Seven Society recognized her "exemplary leadership" and that fall, Fontaine was the invited Convocation keynote speaker at JPJ arena before an audience of thousands.

In 2015, she received the Martin Luther King Jr. Award from UVA Health System as well as the University of Maryland's Visionary Pioneer Award. In 2014, Dr. Fontaine received recognition from UVA's Sons and Daughters of Liberty for her leadership along with UVA's Lifetime Learning Outstanding Faculty Speaker recognition award.

Prior to her 2008 appointment at UVA, Dr. Fontaine was associate dean for academic programs and clinical professor at the University of California San Francisco. Before coming to UCSF, Dr. Fontaine held associate dean positions and taught at Georgetown University School of Nursing.

Dr. Fontaine received her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and her PhD from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In 2006, she completed a Management and Leadership in Education Program at the Harvard Graduate Institute of Higher Education. She's lived with her family in Pavilion IX since 2010 on the west side of UVA's historic Lawn.

Speaker Photo David Germano is a Professor of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia with a focus on Buddhist philosophy and contemplation. He co-directs U.Va.'s Tibetan Studies and Buddhist Studies programs, both amongst the largest in the West. He has founded and directed the Tibetan and Himalayan Library (, the Tibet Center (, and SHANTI (Sciences, Humanities and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives, Since 2011, Germano has directed UVa's Contemplative Sciences Center (, and works with each of U.Va.'s eleven schools to explore learning, research, and engagement initiatives regarding contemplation in their own disciplinary and professional areas, as well as partnerships across the schools.

Speaker Photo Chelsie Kuhn is a Well-Being Programs and Special Events Coordinator for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being (CWB) at George Mason University. She was trained by the Gallup Organization to facilitate workshops and coaching sessions with students, faculty, and staff around the StrengthsFinder assessment. Chelsie graduated in May 2015 with a B.A. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a minor in Social Justice. During her time as an undergraduate at Mason, she lived in the Mindful Living Learning Community, which has made a substantial impact on her life. Her research interests include structural conflict, social movements, community development, narrative, well-being and sustainability. Additionally, Chelsie has been practicing yoga for 6 years, and has her RYT-200 Certification with Yoga Alliance.

Speaker Photo David Sable, PhD began with a B.Sc. in engineering mechanics from Columbia University, moved into psychology at Teachers College, and worked in the field of educational technology while he was trained in meditation and contemplative practices under the guidance of Tibetan meditation master, Chogyam Trungpa. David’s doctoral thesis, "The Impact of Reflective Practices on the Dispositions for Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Courses," was nominated for Best Thesis in the Social Sciences at Dalhousie University and his work noted in the National Teaching and Learning Forum, 2012. A peer-reviewed article summarizing his research appeared in the inaugural edition of the Journal of Contemplative Inquiry and subsequently David served on the editorial committee of the journal for 2014-2015. In 2014 he developed and delivered an interactive faculty development webinar for the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education titled "Measurable Indicators for What Matters Most," attended online by over 180 university faculty members from seven countries. Currently, David teaches at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, conducts faculty development workshops, and is working on a book documenting the impacts of mindfulness-based contemplative practices on learning.

Speaker Photo Sandra S. Seidel, PhD serves as an Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. She monitors the academic progress of a cohort of students through graduation and helps coordinate Summer Orientation for new students. As an Associate Professor she incorporates contemplative practices into her course Human Biology and Disease and her freshman advising seminar on cardiovascular physiology, What Makes Us Tick? As the Director of Studies at the International Residential College (IRC), Sandy teaches the course Mindfulness Practices and is grateful that her favorite yoga instructor shares a yoga practice with the students in the residence hall. Sandy also serves as faculty advisor to the Bhakti Yoga Club at UVA and enjoys chanting.

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