Seminar Faculty

Richard C. Brown founded the Contemplative Education Department at Naropa University in 1990. The department, which he chairs, adapts wisdom, compassion and skillful means drawn from Buddhist and holistic education traditions to nonsectarian teacher education. Its programs include a BA in Early Childhood Education, a fifth-year state teacher licensure program and a low- residency/online MA in Contemplative Education. After teaching public elementary school, Richard taught seven years during the 1980’s at The Vidya School, a Buddhist-inspired K-12 in Boulder. Since then he has been involved in the formation of several contemplative schools. He has helped develop Buddhist rites of passage programs, and has published a Buddhist view of child and adolescent spiritual development. Richard has written on various topics of contemplative teacher education including emotion, awareness and observation.

Susan Burggraf, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of the Contemplative Psychology Department at Naropa University. Susan recently came to Naropa after teaching for more than a decade at Mount Holyoke and Bowdoin Colleges. During her years at Bowdoin and Mount Holyoke, Susan integrated contemplative modes of inquiry along with traditional critical and empirical modes into her social and developmental psychology courses.  She is currently researching assessment of contemplative curricula outcomes using a developmental lens. Her doctorate is from Bryn Mawr College and her dissertation on the appeal of horror movies was supervised by social psychologist Clark McCauley.

Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, studied South Asian religion at Columbia University and University of British Columbia. She became a Zen student of Shunryu Suzuki- Roshi, in 1971, and a student of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in 1974. She is Professor of Religious Studies at Naropa University, where she has been a faculty member since 1978, specializing in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. She lectures and writes on Tibetan Buddhism, women and Buddhism, and interreligious dialogue, and is an Acharya (senior dharma teacher) in the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. She is the author of Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism (Shambhala 2001).

Zoë Avstreih is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a member of the Academy of Dance Therapists Registered.  She is also a Licensed Psychoanalyst and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in New York State. She is the Founder/Director of the Center for the Study of Authentic Movement and Founder and former Director of the graduate Dance Movement Therapy Program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. A pioneer in the development of Authentic Movement, she lectures and teaches internationally and has published widely.

Mark Miller has toured and recorded with Art Lande, Paul McCandless, Peter Kater, R. Carlos Nakai, David Friesen, Tom Grant and Bill Douglas. With jazz pianist Art Lande he has recorded three albums of improvised duets, The Story of Ba-Ku, Prayers, Germs and Obsessions and World Without Cars, as well as two award-winning children's albums featuring Meg Ryan and Holly Hunter. With pianist Peter Kater, he has recorded seven albums including Migration, Honorable Sky and Rooftops, as well as sound tracks for television and Off-Broadway.

Naropa University
Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian liberal arts institution dedicated to advancing contemplative education. This approach to learning integrates the best of Eastern and Western educational traditions, helping students know themselves more deeply and engage constructively with others. The university comprises a four-year undergraduate college and graduate degree programs in the arts, education, environmental leadership, psychology and religious studies, as well as study abroad programs.

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, Naropa University draws upon a long heritage of contemplative education. With more than thirty years of experience using meditation-based methods in the classroom, no other university has the breadth and depth of experience in this field. Naropa faculty members have developed their own unique contemplative approaches to their particular disciplines. The integration of contemplative practice into every aspect of teaching and learning is an ongoing exploration. It is this wisdom, knowledge and constant discovery that the seminar draws upon.

Frederick P. Lenz Foundation
This seminar is funded in part by a grant from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, which is dedicated to promoting the benefits of Zen Buddhism, meditation, yoga and related Buddhist practices as a pathway to self-realization and the harmonious blending of the material and spiritual in contemporary American society.

See Also:

Seminar Curriculum
Seminar Faculty