Students on green

The Office of Academic Affairs

Naropa University represents a unique experiment in American higher education. Our Buddhist inspiration provides a framework in which liberal arts and professional education are placed in constant interaction with students’ emerging self-identity, inner strength and moral compass through exposure to a variety of contemplative practices.



This is an opportunity for faculty and other professionals during the 2021–2022 academic year to spend a semester on the Naropa University campus in beautiful Boulder, Colorado, conducting a research, artistic, social action, or other project that relates Buddhist philosophy and practice to an aspect of American culture and values. This is an ideal place for a Buddhism fellowship, Religious Studies fellowship, or sabbatical fellowship in Religion.



Visiting scholars & events

Each spring, The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for Buddhist Studies and American Culture & Values and Naropa University host an evening lecture with the visiting Lenz Scholar. 


PAST Events

March 5, 2020

Zenju Earthlyn ManuelZenju Earthlyn Manuel: The Lived Experience as the Gateway to Freedom

Born to parents who migrated from rural Louisiana, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, is the author of Santcuary: A Meditation on Home, Homelessness, and Belonging, The Way of Tenderness: Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender, and Tell Me Something About Buddhism. 

She is contributing author to many books, including Together We Are One, Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color, and Lamp: Stories From Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. 

She holds a master’s degree from U.C.L.A. and a Ph.D. in Transformative Learning form the California Institute of Integral Studies.  You can learn more at 



March 14, 2019

Venerable Pannavati: A Heart of Gold

image of venerable PannavatiWhen we are seeking the spiritual way of life, we agree to abandon the "I" and "my" making. We do this only when we are convinced that "I" and "my" making cannot bring us deep and lasting happiness – cannot uproot our secret fears and hidden faults. Only then can we surrender ourselves to another discipline in anticipation of realizing a further freedom and release.

Venerable Pannavati, founder of Heartwood Refuge & Retreat Center and Co- Abbot of Embracing Simplicity Hermitage is known for her wit, compassion, and laughter. A former Christian pastor ordained in both Theravadan and Chan lineages, she is also a Zen Dharma Holder and Vajrayana practitioner.

She is known internationally for her engagement in global projects of socio-economic upliftment and conducts teaching retreats throughout the country sharing the Dharma in a way that is approachable and relevant to all. Still recognized primarily as a forest monk, she concedes: “People are my forest.”

March 1, 2018

Lama Rod Owens: The Practice of Love and Rage as Tools for Liberation
Lama Rod Owens HeadshotLama Rod Owens is an author, activist, and authorized Lama (Buddhist Teacher) in the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism. Lama Rod is the Guiding Teacher for the Radical Dharma Boston Collective, a teacher with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme), a visiting teacher with Natural Dharma Fellowship and the Brooklyn Zen Center. Lama Rod is a faculty member for the iBme’s Teacher Training program and is also a faculty member for the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s professional education program in mindfulness for educators and has served as a guest faculty member for the school’s course Mindfulness for Educators. He holds a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School where he focused on the intersection of social change, identity, and spiritual practice and was a recipient of the prestigious Hopkins Shareholder Award honoring his work in ministry. He is a co-author of Radical Dharma, Talking Race, Love, and Liberation, which explores race in the context of American Buddhist communities. Lama Rod is a founding teacher for the Awaken meditation app that offers meditations and contemplations focused on social change. He has been published and featured in several publications including Buddhadharma, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Spirit Magazine, and contributed the chapter on working with anger for the recent publication Real World Mindfulness for Beginners. He is a regular guest on SiriusXM’s Urban View hosted by journalist and publisher Karen Hunter. He has offered talks, retreats, and workshops for many organizations and universities including New York University, Yale University, Harvard University, Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, Tufts University, University of Vermont, and Boston College. Lama Rod facilitates undoing patriarchy workshops for male identified practitioners in Brooklyn and Boston and his current writing projects include patriarchy in spiritual communities, sexuality and ethics, and fatness and spirituality. Lama Rod can be reached at

March 16, 2017

Lama Surya Das: Make Me One With Everything: Buddhist Meditations to Awaken from the Illusion of Separation

Lama Surya Das is a “foremost Western Buddhist mediation teacher and scholar, one of the main interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, and a leading spokesperson for the emerging American Buddhism.” Further, “The Dalai Lama affectionately calls him, ‘The Western Lama.’” Lama Surya Das is also the founder of the Dzogchen Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts and its branches found around the country as well as the founder with the Dalai Lama of the Western Buddhist Teachers Network. Most recently, Lama Surya’s work has focused on youth and contemplative education initiatives.

Dr. Alfred Kaszniak: Contemplative Practice in a Multitasking World, 2016 - Video

Reverend angel Kyodo Williams: Beyond Buddhism: What We Need to Lose To Save What We Love, 2015 - Video

Sharon Salzberg: Real Happiness at Work, 2014 - Video

Meredith Monk: An Evening with Meredith Monk, 2013

Gary Snyde: On the topic of Buddhism, American Culture and Value, 2011

Joanna Macy: Untitled, 2011

Paula Green, EdD: Building Peace in a Stormy World: A Journey of Service, Hope, and Faith, 2010

Jan Willis, PhD: Dharma Diversity: The Many Forms and Faces of Buddhism in America, 2009

Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, PhD: Five Expressions of Zen: A Path to Service, 2009

José Cabezón, PhD: Thinking through Texts: Toward a Critical Buddhist Theology of Sexuality, 2008

Mark Silk, PhD: The International Conference on Media, Spiritualities and Social Change, 2008



Academic Affairs Staff

Chief Academic Officer
Susan Burggraf, Ph.D.

Director of Online Curriculum Development, Distance Learning
Jirka Hladis

Director of Operations for Academic Affairs
Jason Davis

Administrative Specialist
Liane Shaffer

Project Manager for Accreditation and Compliance
C. Annette Brant

Senior Academic Administrator for the Graduate School of Counseling & Psychology
Sharon Mackey

Senior Academic Administrator for Naropa College and the Graduate Collective
Liz Acosta

Naropa College Associate Deans

Jennifer Bacon, Ph.d.

Cynthia Drake, Ph.d.

Candace Walworth, Ph.d.