Who We Are

 cace group 

Our history

Initially created as a pilot program through a grant from the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education is now providing important leadership in the growing contemplative education movement.

The Center is made possible through the generous support of the Schocken Foundation, the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, and individual donors.

our Staff

The Center's staff and faculty are comprised of a unique and diverse team who specialize in contemplative approaches to teaching that include, yoga studies, transpersonal psychology, religious studies, social, racial and climate awareness, meditation and mindfulness practices, music, the arts and more. Through the collaborations and intersections of these various curriclums, we offer students, faculty, staff a wide variety of perspectives in which to cultivate and build upon their individual practices, creative expression and life experience as a means to directly explore and engage with personal and social transformation.

Charlotte RotterdamDirector of Naropa University’s Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE). 

Charlotte RotterdamBeginning in 1995, she served as Program and Managing Director of Naropa’s School for Extended Studies for ten years; most recently she directed the University’s 40th Anniversary, which included the Radical Compassion Symposium and the inauguration of the Francisco Varela Lecture Series on Science & Mindfulness. She was Program Director at Shambhala Mountain Center and Executive Director and Board President of Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center, where she is also an authorized teacher. An Instructor at Naropa, she has taught in the Religious Studies department and continues to teach the Contemplative Learning Seminar in the Core College. Charlotte received her Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Her essays on the intersection of spiritual practice and motherhood have been published in Mandala and in an anthology, Fearless Nest.

CACE Council Members
  • Dale Asrael, Associate Professor of Transpersonal Psychology
  • Richard C. Brown, Director of Contemplative Teaching Initiative
  • Ben Williams, Core Faculty of Religious Studies and Yoga Studies
  • Mark Miller, Professor of Music
Inclusive Community Commitee
  • Carla Sherrell, Core Candidate of Somatic Psychology
  • Ian Wickramasekera, Assistant Professor of Transpersonal Psychology
  • Bhanu Kapil, Associate Professor Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Janelli Chapin, Instructor of Psychotherapy, Buddhist Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Regina Smith, Executive Director for Mission Integration and Student Affairs
CACE Advisory Board Members

Tom CoburnThomas B. Coburn, PhD, is a Religious Studies scholar specializing in South Asian religion who served as president of Naropa University from 2003 to 2009.  The pilot phase of the Center for the Advancement of Contemplative Education was inaugurated during his tenure. He is currently a visiting scholar at Brown University’s Contemplative Studies program. Previously he was vice president and dean of academic affairs at St. Lawrence University, where he served for many years as the Charles A. Dana Professor of Religious Studies.

Carolyn JacobsCarolyn Jacobs, PhD, is Dean Emerita of Smith College School for Social Work and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor Emerita. While serving on the Smith faculty, she created and served as director of the Contemplative Clinical Practice certificate program. She has written and presented extensively on the topics of contemplative practice, spirituality, and clinical social work practice. She is also a spiritual director. Among many professional volunteer activities, she serves on the Boards of the Mind & Life Institute, Contemplative Mind in Society, and Naropa University. 

Qualifications for Contemplative Educators

Tish JenningsTish JenningsPhD, is an Associate Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She is an internationally recognized researcher in the field of social and emotional learning with a specific emphasis on teacher stress and how it impacts the social and emotional context of the classroom and student learning. In her work at Garrison Institute’s CARE for Teachers program and in the Prevention Research Center at Penn State, she conducted federally funded research on teacher well-being.

A Contemplative Call to Justice

Al KaszniakAl KaszniakPhD, is director of the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium Education Core, and a professor in the departments of psychology, neurology, and psychiatry at The University of Arizona. His work has focused on the neuropsychology of Alzheimer's disease and other age-related neurological disorders, consciousness, memory self-monitoring, emotion, and the psychophysiology of long-term and short-term meditation, and his research has been supported by federal and private foundation grants.  He has served as Chief Academic Officer for the Mind and Life Institute. In addition to his academic and administrative roles, he is a lineage holder and teacher (Sensei) in the Soto tradition of Zen Buddhism.

Contemplative Reading

David RomeDavid I. Rome is a teacher, coach, and writer specializing in contemplative methods for personal, organizational, and social change. A close student of both Chögyam Trungpa and Eugene Gendlin, David has integrated Buddhist mindfulness-awareness techniques and Gendlin’s felt sense work into the practice of Mindful Focusing. Formerly, he was a Senior Fellow at the Garrison Institute.


Ed SarathEd Sarath is the Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan, is active worldwide as performer, composer, author, and change visionary. He is founder and President of the International Society for Improvised Music. His book Improvisation, Creativity, and Consciousness (SUNY 2013) is the first to apply principals of Integral Theory to music. His most recent recordings is New Beginnings, featuring the London Jazz Orchestra performing his large ensemble compsotions. He is a National Endowment for the Arts. Recent keynote addresses included National Association of Schools of Music, Society for Consciousness Studies, and University of Melbourne.