AcademicsSchools CentersCenter for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE)


Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education

Leading the Way in Contemplative Education

Expand your knowledge of contemplative education and deepen your pedagogy with Naropa’s Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education. CACE is proud to be a powerful resource for educators across the globe.

Whether your classroom is in a traditional brick-and-mortar building, a yoga studio, or the great outdoors, contemplative practices will enrich your students’ experiences.

How do we know this to be true?

Here at Naropa, contemplative education is at the very heart of what we do. Contemplative practices—mindfulness, compassion, meditation, yoga, and more—guide our students to their most authentic selves. Here, you will discover that your academic achievements and future successes are most powerful when matched with the sense of purpose that comes from knowing yourself. This is how you will find the work you are meant to do. This is how the world is transformed.

Listen to Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education Founder Dr. Judith Simmer-Brown and Dr. Gaylon Ferguson discuss the new science of compassion:

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Contemplation & Compassion in Action

As a hub for the study and development of contemplative education, CACE at Naropa offers various ways for educators and students to integrate contemplative pedagogy and practice into their teaching and studies: 

  • Integrate compassion into all aspects of your life with CACE’s Compassion Initiative. The eight-week WELCOME: Mindful Compassion Training offers an in-depth introduction to loving kindness, the science of compassion, and ways to apply compassion in everyday life.
  • Benefit from ongoing training in mindfulness, contemplative practices for the classroom, contemplative arts, and more.
  • Read The Soft Spot Blog, a section of the Naropa University Blog dedicated to compassion. Written by CACE faculty, this blog is a resource for news and articles related to compassion and compassion science, as well as CACE events and insights.

Naropa’s Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education pairs scientific research in neuroscience and psychology with teachings from contemplative traditions. CACE’s aim is to provide every educator with opportunities for deeper understanding of self and others in the context of teaching and learning.

Listen to CACE Director Charlotte Rotterdam describe Naropa’s deep commitment to human brilliance and to contemplative practice as a means of waking up to one’s unique brilliance. 

CACE Resources & Courses

Contemplative Education in Practice

Compassionate Leaders

At Naropa’s Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education you can engage with faculty who are deeply dedicated to the development and dissemination of contemplative education at Naropa and around the world.

Charlotte Rotterdam, MTS, CACE Director,
brings to the Center decades of experience as a Buddhist teacher, meditation instructor, and contemplative educator. Listen to her discuss the role of courage in contemplative education on the Naropa U Podcast.

Jordan Quaglia, PhD, CACE Research Director, is an Associate Professor of Contemplative Psychology at Naropa. He is also Director of Naropa’s Cognitive and Affective Science Laboratory, a hub for neuroscience research where the scientific process becomes a vehicle for contemplative training.

Carla Burns, MDiv, CACE Program Manager, is an instructor in Naropa’s Core College and Graduate School of Counseling & Psychology and a certified Mindfulness Instructor. She is passionate about the ways in which contemplative practice communities can come to understand and hold multiple ways of being and knowing, and how we embody and utilize space for liberation.

The Core of Naropa’s Mission

For many students, a university experience can be life-changing. But if you’re seeking to transform from the inside out, Naropa is the place for you. Since our founding in 1974, we’ve led the way in contemplative education. Our blend of rigorous academics, experiential learning, and contemplative practice will help guide you to your most authentic self.

Contemplative Education, Culture & Society

Naropa’s focus on contemplative practice doesn’t stop at personal introspection. Rather, we invite you to explore how you might “be the change” in your community and in the world. In partnership with the Division of Mission, Culture, and Inclusive Community (MCIC), CACE develops contemplative resources for supporting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in teaching, learning, and community. 

Reflections on a Contemplative Education

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This is where experiential learning meets academic rigor. Where you challenge your intellect and uncover your potential. Where you discover the work you’re moved to do—then use it to transform our world.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.