Collaborative Learning Environment

Becoming a student in Naropa University’s Religious Studies Department means becoming an educational partner in a collaborative learning environment.

Traditionally speaking, to learn the kind of spiritual knowledge or wisdom offered by the Religious Studies Department, there must be a meeting and opening of minds. Teacher and student must come together to create an environment where knowledge and wisdom is available to all.

This is also true for all the students, faculty and staff who participate in the contemplative educational journey taking place at Naropa University, and specifically within the degree programs of the Religious Studies Department.

While it is true, of course, that academic instructors are responsible for fostering this environment of a learning community (defining areas and methodologies of study), it is vitally important for the student-learner to recognize and embrace their role in this mutual exchange in the learning process. 

The Faculty—Student Relationship

When faculty and students work together in the deep collaborative learning process outlined in the collaborative learning agreement, the relationship between student and instructor takes on a new form.

Some students view instructors simply as guides who point them in a given direction. Others may want a mentor and ally to support the life and learning journey in more substantive ways. This more involved relationship has long been a hallmark of Naropa University’s contemplative-based education.

When student and instructor acknowledge that they’re both learning, the instructor’s offering becomes more dynamically connected to the student.