• 15 - 17 Jun 2022
  • online

The Heart of Higher Education 2022: The Beauty That Sustains Us

Join this online gathering of educators as we seek, explore, and sustain the beauty in our work in higher education.

“Beauty is not optional. It’s a strategy for survival.” ~ Terry Tempest Williams

The Fourth Annual Heart of Higher Education 2022:
The Beauty that Sustains Us

A three-day online event, including time with Parker J. Palmer and Dr. Sherry Watt.

Demoralized, burned out, tired, anxious, stressed…
Are these words familiar? If they are, you’re not alone. These are difficult times. From the recent release of the UN report on climate change, to threats to our democracy, the swirl of ongoing concerns about human health and the consequences of racial injustice, many in higher education feel weary, as we continue to support the needs of so many people on our campuses. With our busy, complex lives, it is easy to lose touch with that which is most important to us, that which keeps us alive.

Beautiful, surprising, enjoyable, awake, aware….
Yet amid the pain and challenges, there lies beauty. It is often found in the ordinariness of our days – the simple joy of making a real connection with a colleague, the astonishing encounter in the natural world, a pause in the fullness of a day to watch a group of students laughing, the unexpected kindness of a stranger, the young person who returns to say that we were the one who made a difference.

Please join this online gathering of educators as we seek, explore, and sustain the beauty in our work in higher education.

  • We will be invited to become more alive, more aware of how our inner lives and outer work are connected; how we can connect with and be reinspired by the beauty in our work; and how to fully engage in the purposes of higher education while pondering the gap between what is and what could be.
  • Together, we will spend time getting grounded in the beautiful ordinariness of our lives; waking up through poetry, music, movement, and the wise words of elders; and considering how to dance with our lives.
  • With this rekindled sense of aliveness, we will rediscover ways to sustain ourselves and enhance the common good– connecting with those purposes that originally called us to this vibrant vocation.
  • We will learn to become more present to ourselves, our work, and our lives.

While the event is designed for all who work in higher education, we also welcome anyone who considers themselves an educator. Dr. Parker J. Palmer and Dr. Sherry Watt will join us in this time of inner reflection and outer commitment to cultivating a renewed vision of education.

Details and Registration:

  • Wednesday, June 15 to Friday June 17, 2022
    10:00 am – 2:00 pm Central Time, USA
    To find the time of the event for you: https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/
  • Costs: Registration Fees for Retreat/Conference – $195 total cost for three days.
  • Group Rate: $150 each for groups of three or more who plan to attend from the same institution.
  • You can help us provide scholarships by donating through the registration page. Thank you for considering this partnership with us.
  • Registrations closes June 10, 2022, midnight CT USA
  • Register here:  https://centerforcouragerenewal.salsalabs.org/heartofhighereducation2022?page=register
  • Cancellations must be received in writing and are subject to a $25 administrative fee if received 30 days before the event is scheduled to begin. After that date the standard cancellation policy applies, see full cancellation policy here.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman


***This optional event/series is now fully registered so there are no remaining spaces available.  For future options please let the design team know of your interest (by emailing Judy.skeen@belmont.edu)

The Heart of Higher Education: Taking it Home to Others

An inaugural June 2022 opportunity for those who want to take the “heart of higher education” conversation back to your home campus.

An additional, optional day provides an initial foundation for facilitating circles in your higher education setting – a foundation intended to help you to support the kind of personal and institutional change necessary to bring a more humane perspective to your campus environment. Our aim is to help you reflect on skills to facilitate circles with an intention to nurture deep integrity and foster a more loving, equitable, and healthy environment among your peers.

In addition to receiving a guide which offers a detailed model of engaging your colleagues, this experience offers both community of practice and foundation setting.

We are seeking participants who are ready to embark on a journey that will involve:

  • Full-day session on Saturday, June 18, from 10 – 3 CT, following the three-day Heart of Higher Education retreat, for initial preparation. The session will address the nuances of facilitating campus circles, beginning with reflecting on your experiences, and including topics such as the presence and inner work necessary to lead a group, welcome everyone to the circle, calling forth inner wisdom among participants, and working with paradox.
  • Connecting with others in Peer Practice Circles to follow, over a period of several months, to provide the chance to practice sessions in an online safer space with others before facilitating them at home. Participants will offer warm and constructive support for one another, using the Touchstones to guide this process.
  • A closing retreat day on November 12 to celebrate your intentions and efforts.
  • The support, connection, and foundation necessary to “take it home to others.”

What is required to participate in this “Taking it Home to Others” experience?

  • Participate in Foundations in the Circle of Trust® Approach, and at least one full Circle of Trust® event/program/retreat, prior to beginning conversations on your campus, in addition to participating in the Heart of Higher Education retreat(s).
  • Read: A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, by Parker J. Palmer.
  • Cultivating circles on your campus will require both your initiative and connections with others, along with full participation in the above.

Enrollment is limited. We encourage you to register soon.


“The institution of higher education is notoriously slow to change. But many individuals within the institution have kept the vision of an integrative practice alive in their hearts – using heart in its original sense, not just as the seat of the emotions but as that core place in the human self where all our capacities converge:  intellect, senses, emotions, imagination, intuition, will, spirit and soul.”
~ Parker J. Palmer, from: The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal – Transforming the Academy through Collegial Conversations. 

This program will be offered online through Zoom.

Cancellations must be received in writing and are subject to a $25 administrative fee if received 30 days before the event is scheduled to begin. After that date the standard cancellation policy applies, see full cancellation policy here.


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