It is my pleasure to share a bit of today’s Naropa story as told in this magazine. You will experience many voices, each with a unique perspective and all with a shared passion for our mission and deep commitment to the student journey.
The beginning of the fall term is always a time of great energy and connection. This year, we are especially happy to welcome the inaugural class in our new BA in Elementary Education. Our teacher licensure degree is the first in the country to fully integrate mindfulness and resilience practices for both teachers and their students together with the academic training a K–6 teacher needs. In addition, our graduates will hold endorsements in Cultural and Linguistic Diversity, adding to their employment prospects. This integrated four-year degree will graduate teachers who will have lasting impact on the profession.
The Naropa Counseling Center (NCC) is now a licensed Medicaid provider. In addition to offering mental health counseling to students—our essential responsibility—the NCC is serving low-income residents of Boulder County, whose choices for sub-acute mental health care are severely limited. In addition to supporting our community, this expansion of services has created additional internship positions for our Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology students.
We are doing other off-campus work as well. Building on our pioneering fifteen-week Authentic Leadership program, the online Mindful at Work course launched. In addition, through funding from the World Bank, Naropa’s Authentic Leadership Center worked with fifty managers in the Government of Jamaica Finance Ministry in order to bring mindful leadership skills into the civil service.
We have also been invited to present diversity and inclusion training to business and nonprofit audiences in Colorado, California, Washington, D.C., and a growing list. The work flows from our Office for Inclusive Community and the stated mission to create beloved community through critical consciousness raising and cultural transformation. This important work, as any lasting systemic change is, blends the hard skills training with the deeper work that brings contemplative practice into alignment with compassionate action.
At Naropa, we work hard to hold multiple missions. We know very well that Naropa sits in a complicated social, political, and economic reality, and that one mission is to share with students a certain urgency to engage. And at the same time, lasting impact requires a degree of patience as well. Transformation is not instantaneous. Rather it emerges from the discipline of mindfulness, awareness, and compassion practice as well as sharpening intellectual knowledge and understanding. That is combined here with the deeper work of honing values of diversity, inclusion, and sustainability.
I am proud to engage daily with the committed Naropa students, faculty, and staff who—from the foundation built almost a half-century ago—are propelling Naropa into an even more relevant and impactful future. I invite you to share our passion.
CHARLES G. LIEF
PRESIDENT, NAROPA UNIVERSITY