Saybrook University

Posts

"Knowledge" is easy; "learning" is hard

05/19/2009

Will file sharing, easy downloads, and a universe of experts all posting on Wikipedia make universities irrelevant within 15 years? 

Yes, says David Wiley.  Information will be free, and that means universities will have to radically restructure to accommodate that … or else face irrelevance. 

Wiley, a leader in the “open content” movement and professor of psychology and instructional technology at Brigham Young University, made that prediction recently in the wake of student bodies more inclined to download than watch TV … and universities putting more and more class lectures online.

Between Facebook, Google, file sharing, YouTube, and universities putting lectures online, Wiley says, all universities have to offer paying students is a credential – and at some point that will be provided by other means, too.

Or will it?  Eric Fox, Saybrook’s Dean of Instruction, says that he had a great time reading the article about Wiley’s prediction – but doesn’t think the future will pan out just that way.

That, Fox says, is because having “access” to information isn’t the same as “learning.”

Continue Reading

Saybrook to co-sponsor Existential Humanistic Institute's annual conference

05/19/2009

Saybrook is proud to announce that it is co-sponsoring the annual conference of the Existential Humanistic Institute, which will be held November 19-21st, at First Universalist Unitarian Church and Center in San Francisco.

The topic of the conference will be “From Crisis to Creativity: Necessary Losses, Unexpected Gains.”

“The theme of our conference reflects the paradoxical nature of life and our times,” says EHI Vice-President and Saybrook faculty member Kirk Schneider.  “In order to change and grow, a familiar way of being must end, so that a new way of being can develop. Letting go can be a terrifying process, filled with anxiety and confusion. But if we find the courage to let go and begin a new journey, down a new path, the possibilities of unexpected gains will be revealed.”

The roster of presenters is now being finalized, and there will be many significant names in the Existential-Humanistic therapy participating. 

Continue Reading

Turns out watching YouTube at work is NOT goofing off!

05/05/2009

Do you ever worry that maybe you spend too much time updating your Facebook status at work? 

Don’t.  An Australian study suggests that, in fact, your office should be encouraging it.
 
According to the research out of the University of Melbourne, people who use the Internet for personal reasons at work are nine percent more productive.

According to Wired Magazine, “’workplace Internet leisure browsing,’ or WILB, helped to sharpen workers' concentration,” so long as it took up less than 20% of their time at the office.”

Wow – who knew YouTube could be a productivity tool?

“This made me smile,” says Nina Serpiello, a PhD student in Saybrook’s Organizational Systems program and a human factors research designer at IDEO.  “A traditional company might not encourage goofing off without having a business reason for it, like cultivating creativity for innovation. If a company is interested in empowering employees to offer ideas to outsmart the competition, then it also should promote activities that stimulate creative thinking.”

Continue Reading

Life without universities

05/05/2009

Students posted about it on their Facebook pages;  faculty sent links back and forth;  at Saybrook’s San Francisco offices, administrators asked one another about it.  Everyone in the community, it seems, has an opinion about last week’s New York Times op-ed by Mark Taylor, “End of the university as we know it.”

In it, Taylor suggests scrapping traditional fields of study in favor of real-world problem solving clusters;  abolishing tenure and replacing it with seven year, renewable, teaching contracts;  replacing academic papers, and even dissertations, with scholarly multi-media presentations;  and training academics for careers outside of teaching.

It’s not the first time the death of the modern university has come up (link), but this time it’s engaged the Saybrook community like no other.

Here are some student and faculty reactions.  Please continue the conversation by leaving your own responses in the comments section.

Eugene Taylor:

Psychology faculty Eugene Taylor found the document “Orwellian” – and product of the very type of thinking it wishes would end.  

“(Mark Taylor) might be more optimistic if he were more person-centered. The very thing all his emphatic points miss is the spiritual side of learning.” Eugene Taylor wrote. 

Continue Reading

Ruth Richards receives prestigious APA award

05/05/2009

Ruth Richards was thrilled to discover she had won the prestigious Arnheim Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Psychological Association – but she was less excited for herself than for her field. 

This award, and the fact that it specifically cites her as one of the pre-eminent scholars in the study of creativity, is a major recognition of the field she’s devoted much of her scholarly life to.

“Everyday creativity may seem obvious, even a necessity for any of us to survive in this crazy world,” says Richards, a member of the psychology faculty at Saybrook.  “But not everyone gets it yet.  Clearly (the APA) committee did, and this award helps make our work much more mainstream.”

The study of creativity, Richards points out, goes back to the founders of humanistic psychology:  both Abraham Maslow and Rollo May wrote a great deal about it.  Her contribution has been to take the creative out of the realm of the artistic, and instead show how it operates in daily life. 

Continue Reading

What the Dalai Lama’s dialogues can – and can’t – teach us about the mind

05/05/2009

Last month His Holiness the Dalai Lama held the 18th of his celebrated “Mind and Life” conferences – inviting notable neuroscientists to India in the hope that when Buddhist epistemology and western neurology compare notes, the results are educational for everyone.

It’s the sort of communication that Saybrook faculty say they’d like to see more of:  different intellectual approaches coming together to get a bigger sense of the picture.

“Exchanges between spiritual understandings of consciousness and scientific understandings can be mutually enriching,” says Amedeo Giorgi, a Saybrook faculty member in psychology who is a major figure in contemporary phenomenology.  “Such exchanges can only be helpful.”

They have born fruit in the past, according to an article in the London Guardian:

 

 (C)onferences have spurred the development of research programmes that examine the effects of Buddhist contemplative techniques and how they might be applied more widely to benefit humanity. They have, for example, been instrumental in the work of Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin, whose brain imaging studies found that experienced meditators show increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex of the brain, an area associated with emotional well-being, as well as having stronger immune systems.

But Saybrook psychology faculty Stanley Krippner, long at the forefront of the exploration of consciousness, says he always has mixed feelings when he hears about the Mind and Life conferences – because he thinks they could be taken to the next level.

Continue Reading

Explore “Creativity, Leadership, and Wisdom” with the Saybrook Dialogues

05/05/2009

The Saybrook Dialogues, a new series of conversations for networking, exploration, learning and making meaning of our personal and professional lives during uncertain and challenging times, presents its next program in early June.

“Creativity, Leadership and Wisdom” will explore the ways we can allow the creative process to inform our leadership, our work, and our lives.  It will be led by Steven Kowalski, Ph.D. and Marc Lesser, MBA.

Marc Lesser is the founder and president of ZBA Associates, a company offering coaching, consulting and facilitation services. Currently conducting executive training programs for Google, he is a board member of the Social Venture Network and the author is the author of Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less.

Steven Kowalski has over 25 years expertise in the field of creativity and innovation, and is the founder and president of Creative License.  Since 1995, Steven has facilitated, coached, and trained clients in the U.S. and Europe to activate creativity and ingenuity of leaders, teams, and entire departments.  He currently provides executive development solutions to impact performance and business aims at Genentech. 

The Dialogue will be held Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m., at the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center’s San Francisco offices.  Seating is limited. A $25 donation is requested.

To reserve a seat, RSVP to Terry Hopper at 415-394-5220, or thopper@saybrook.edu.  

Continue Reading

Center for Mind-Body Medicine to offer spring programs in cancer treatment and food for health

05/05/2009

James S. Gordon, the Dean of Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine Program, and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, now affiliated with Saybrook, are pleased to offer two training programs this summer. “CancerGuides II,” and “Food as Medicine.

CancerGuides II, which grew out of a conference that the New Yorker called “the most important alternative medicine meeting in America,” teaches health professionals and patient advocates to create safe, effective, individualized programs of comprehensive and integrative care for people with cancer and their families.

World leaders in integrative care and CancerGuides practice will help participants put their work in a larger social, historical and ecological context. Plenary speakers will offer a vision of cancer care that is fully consonant with the principles of integrative medicine, a vision which we believe will be reflected in policies the Obama Administration will implement.

“Food as Medicine,” a comprehensive clinical nutrition training program for healthcare professionals, will focus on sustainable nutrition, nutrition in practice, digestive healing, longevity and the aging brain, family nutrition, community nutrition, herbal remedies, and more. 

Both programs will be held June 11 – 14, in Washington D.C.. 

For more information, or to register, visit www.cmbm.org

Continue Reading

You CAN teach "empathy" in the classroom

04/21/2009

When some people say “kids will be kids,” what they really mean is that “children are cruel.” 

The assumption behind the saying is that there’s nothing we can do about it.  It’s human nature.  Kids won’t grow out of cruelty until they mature. 

But according to a recent New York Times report, schools around the country – especially middle schools – are betting that children can learn their way out of cruelty through new curriculums. 

The idea:  “teach” kids empathy. If they can learn to be more empathetic, the thinking goes, children will be less cruel and more supportive to one another.  Bullying will be reduced, and kids who might have been pushed over the edge as outcasts will have a better chance for happy childhoods.

It’s a nice plan, but is it realistic?  Is empathy something that can be taught? 

Even if it can, will it, in fact, likely lead to the desired effect of less bullying?

Good news:  Saybrook's Social Concentration Director Joel Federman has done research indicating that the answer to both questions is "yes" - if you do it right.

Continue Reading

James S. Gordon, M.D. appointed as Dean of Saybrook's future College of Mind-Body Medicine

04/21/2009

Saybrook students will now have the opportunity to work with one of the leading practitioners and scholars of integrative medicine, as Saybrook and The Center for Mind-Body Medicine affiliate to develop a ground-breaking graduate education program in healthcare.

 

Dr. Lorne M. Buchman,  President of Saybrook Graduate School and Dr. James S. Gordon, Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM), today announced an affiliation for educational initiatives in mind-body medicine that will revolutionize graduate education in healthcare. The affiliation will bring the resources and expertise of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine to Saybrook’s masters, doctoral, and certificate programs in Mind-Body Medicine (pending WASC approval) and provide unique opportunities for professional and personal enrichment to a broad range of students interested in enhancing their skills in mind-body and integrative medicine.

Dr. Buchman also announced the appointment of Dr. Gordon as Dean of Saybrook’s Mind-Body Medicine program and its future College of Mind-Body Medicine.  The future College of Mind-Body Medicine will be the focal point for Saybrook’s graduate programs in healthcare and is one of the future colleges Saybrook will be creating as it evolves into a multidisciplinary university.   
 
James S. Gordon M.D. is a Harvard educated psychiatrist and a world renowned expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma. He is the Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical School, and recently served as Chairman of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. He also served as the first Chair of the Program Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Alternative Medicine and is a former member of the Cancer Advisory Panel on Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Gordon has created ground-breaking programs of comprehensive mind-body healing for physicians, medical students, and other health professionals; for people with cancer, depression, and other chronic illnesses; and for traumatized children and families in Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, and Gaza as well as in post 9/11 New York and post-Katrina southern Louisiana. He is the author of more than 150 articles, and a dozen books, the most recent book is Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven Stage Journey Out of Depression. He also helped develop and write the educational materials to supplement the public television series, “Healing and the Mind with Bill Moyers.”

Continue Reading