Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Academic Staff

Professional Development Opportunity for Academic Staff, Spring 2019

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Academic Staff

Wednesdays: February 6 – March 27, 2019

12 noon-1:30 pm

Garland Hall 204

Free to Academic Staff, Course Materials included

Attendance Required

Academic staff, the backbone and face of UWM, continue to experience unpredictable change and increased workloads leading to stress and burnout in these times of ongoing budget and organizational uncertainty.  It is widely known that stressed workers easily to fall victim to negative work environments, which can lower morale and performance.  Stress can also manifest in an array of health concerns. There is no easy solution toward creating a more positive and manageable workplace, so the significance of professional development offerings, specifically for staff, to provide useable tools to address these issues is important.

In the spirit of workplace health and wellness, the UWM subcommittee on Resiliency and Coping, in partnership with Growing Minds, offers this eight-week course as is an opportunity for participants to devote time and space to reframe how they view their work by examining daily practices and habits that influence our workplace lives.

Participants will learn about the practice of mindfulness and its benefits for themselves. This course will provide practical tools for participants to use both at work and in their personal lives to reclaim their center, discover new ways to react to change, and work more skillfully in challenging times.

Based on neuroscientific research, this is a unique program designed to help participants reduce stress and revitalize their work lives by promoting awareness, presence, compassion, and inspiration.  A mindfulness practice develops the capacity for a calm, focused mind that is open, responsive and sensitive for optimal teaching, advising, management, and learning. Participants will have the opportunity to become more effective professionals and influential models of healthy social and emotional behavior for their peers and students.

The group who participates will explore themes and topics related to mindfulness through discussion, experiential activities and reflective group practices.  Topics will include:

  1. Mindful Awareness & the Brain
  2. Attention and Focus
  3. Thought Patterns (worries, ruminating, catastrophizing)
  4. Calming strong emotional states (anchoring the mind in the body)
  5. Reacting vs. responding (the pause)
  6. Mindfulness in everyday activities (movement)
  7. Stepping back from our thoughts
  8. Dealing with stress (exploring the difficult)
  9. Kindness and compassion to oneself
  10. Mindful Listening
  11. Scripts and Triggers
  12. Self-Compassion

Past participants report outcomes including:

  • Feeling more positive
  • Reduced emotional reactivity
  • Cultivation of compassion for oneself and others
  • Minimized drama in everyday life
  • Lowered stress levels, even in hectic times
  • Appreciation for the small things in life
  • Greater connection to your values and goals

This course is scheduled to take place during the months of February and March and will be held in Garland Hall, room 204 from 12:00pm to 1:30pm following the schedule below:

  • Wednesday, February 6
  • Wednesday, February 13
  • Wednesday, February 20
  • Wednesday, February 27
  • Wednesday, March 6
  • Wednesday, March 13
  • Wednesday, March 20 (UWM Spring Break week)
  • Wednesday, March 27


This opportunity is open to teaching and non-teaching academic staff at UWM.  This course will be limited to the first 25 registrants.  The only requirement is that individuals who participate are able to commit to the entire series.  One planned absence is acceptable.

Please use the Qualtrics link below to register.  After registration is complete, you will receive an email confirming your enrollment in the course.

Mindfulness Course Registration Link: https://milwaukee.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_enh6KTWauHAe5uJ


Course instructor, Susan Lubar Solvang is President and Founder of Growing Minds, a non-profit whose mission is to create safe and connected relationships for more effective leadership, stress reduction and purposeful living. Using SEL tools, and primarily mindful awareness practices, Susan has been a pioneer in bringing these strategies to the Milwaukee area educators, and students since 2010. Growing Minds currently focuses on Professional Development such that educators might feel more positive and intentional, and less reactive and frustrated, with the understanding that the ripple effect will greatly benefit students.

Susan’s background in mindfulness includes trainings with the most established people and programs in our country, including UCSD Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training, Mindful Self-Compassion with Kristen Neff and Chris Germer, CARE with Patricia Jennings, Mindfulness in Schools Project, Mindful Schools, and Learning to Breathe with Patricia Broderick.

If you have any questions, please contact Christine Wolf at cawolf@uwm.edu.  Thank you!

*This event is funded via the Academic Staff Group Professional Development Award and organized by the UWM Resiliency & Coping Sub-Committee.