SIUE’s First Course on Mindfulness

“I hope this class can help people reevaluate what they find meaningful in their life.”–Dr. Linda Markowitz

A great place for mindfulness: The Gardens at SIUE. Photo Credit: E. Dustman

A brand new course was introduced to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s course catalog this fall—Mindfulness as the Center of Human Experience: Mind, Body, & Society (IS-399). As a course in interdisciplinary studies, students are able to learn about mindfulness across multiple disciplines. The course is being taught for the first time this semester by Dr. Wendy Fuchs (Mind), Juliet Kerico Gray (Body), and Dr. Linda Markowitz (Society), each from different departments, specializing in their own areas of study.

Over the past decade, a growing body of research has indicated that there are many benefits for practicing mindfulness, especially considering the times that we live in. “This generation is one of the most stressed out,” explains Dr. Markowitz. “Expectations are so high. There’s a lot of financial debt and pressure to have it all. Mindfulness and meditation bring your attention back to the present moment…the only place where we can be.” Gray’s focus is on the body and her goals are to, “Expose students to mindfulness practices and the health outcomes associated with it,” while Dr. Fuchs plans to explore the capacity of the mind.

Mindfulness is often misunderstood though, Dr. Markowitz explains. “You hear ‘be zen’ all of the time. Mindfulness is not about being perfect or calm all of the time. Instead, mindfulness helps us to be aware. For instance, to be aware of oppression and that it’s not OK. Mindfulness provides us with the tools necessary to work with those experiences.”

Through the hard work of these three instructors in this brand new course on mindfulness, SIUE is paving a way for students to learn skills on how to improve their mental well-being. The class not only provides students with the practice itself but also the intellectual framework for it. “The class is full and I would love to teach it again. There are a lot of possibilities for this course on mindfulness and it serves as the foundation for more courses like it to be taught in the future” (Markowitz).

 

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