$10 Million Gift Establishes Center for Consciousness and Transformation

Posted: April 1, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By James Greif

Mason has established the Center for Consciousness and Transformation, a new teaching and research center founded through a $10 million gift from The de Laski Family Foundation to New Century College.

The center will seek to understand the nature and effects of individual and group consciousness and their role in transformative learning and positive societal change.

The center hopes to offer courses toward an undergraduate minor as well as establish graduate course work. New courses developed by the center will be integrated with courses already in place in various academic units and departments at Mason.

“Consciousness is one of the greatest human mysteries,” says Mark Thurston, senior fellow at the new center. “It includes our capacity for awareness at multiple levels, plus it provides the means for developing self-image and meaning.”

A wide range of disciplines and fields will influence the center’s work, including philosophy, psychology, religious studies, conflict resolution, communication, education, arts, leadership studies and health and human sciences. Because of the wide range of fields involved, the center will take an interdisciplinary approach in assembling its faculty, courses and research projects.

The center is currently offering small grants to research teams across Mason’s schools and units. These grants are funding projects that cross such disciplines as business, science, psychology, religion, communications and health. The first call for proposals has been released, and the center is accepting funding proposals through April 20.

A goal of the center is to bring together leaders in the field to advance research and develop new methodologies for learning perceptual awareness. In 2010, the center plans to host an international summit where leaders in consciousness and transformation from around the world will share research related to the center’s mission.

“This very generous gift from The de Laski Family Foundation allows Mason to establish a world-class center and achieve levels of excellence and innovation that we would have never dreamed of,” says Lois Tetrick, professor of industrial and organizational psychology and center director.

“The center provides an extraordinary and timely opportunity for Mason to rapidly become a leading academic institution in the fields of consciousness and transformative practices. With an emphasis on theory, research, teaching and practice, this comprehensive center will attract scholars, practitioners and students from diverse disciplines and fields around the world,” says Nance Lucas, associate dean of New Century College and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

For more information, see the center’s web site.

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