Center for Consciousness and Transformation Awards Mini Grants

Posted: October 15, 2009 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: October 14, 2009 at 4:17 pm

By James Greif

Last spring, Mason’s new Center for Consciousness and Transformation within New Century College sent out a call for research proposals and received 22 submissions. Of these 22 proposals, the center has awarded seven mini grants to interdisciplinary teams comprising Mason faculty, students and outside researchers and practitioners.

The grants fund projects that cross such disciplines as education, conflict resolution, science, psychology, communication and health.

Established earlier this year, the center is an interdisciplinary research and teaching unit at Mason whose mission is to understand the nature and effects of individual and group consciousness and their role in transformative learning and social change. Housed within New Century College, the center was made possible by a generous donation from the de Laski Family Foundation.

The following grants were awarded by the center’s research review committee.

A Randomized, Four-Arm Study Comparing Reiki, Yoga, Meditation or Patient Education Group for Addressing Symptoms of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN).

This project will study and compare physical and psychological relaxation techniques designed to reduce the burden of a side-effect related to chemotherapy.

Investigators: Paul G. Clark, assistant professor in Mason’s Department of Social Work; and Geronima Cortese-Jimenez, an oncology nurse education coordinator at Life with Cancer, a program affiliated with Inova Health System Cancer Services.

A Pilot Study to Assess the Critical Components of a Transformative Self-Regulated Learning Assistant.

This study seeks to understand the components involved in self-regulated learning and whether the components contribute to a significant improvement of student learning abilities over time.

Investigators: Kenneth De Jong, professor of computer science and associate director of Mason’s Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study; Anastasia Kitsantas, associate professor and coordinator of the educational psychology program in Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD); and Alexei Samsonovich, research assistant professor in the Krasnow Institute.

Peacebuilders in Southeast Asia and the Caucasus Describe Consciousness and Transformation.

This study will examine peace-building practitioners in Southeast Asia and the Caucasus region (including Georgia and South Ossetia.)

Investigators: Susan Allen Nan, assistant professor in Mason’s Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR); and Al Fuertes, assistant professor in New Century College.

Community-Based Peace Building: Gateway to the Future in Burundi and Sierra Leone.

This qualitative study will examine community-based peace-building programs and practices in efforts to reach a sustainable peace in Burundi and Sierra Leone.

Investigators: Elavie Ndura-Ouédraogo, associate professor of education in Mason’s Initiatives In Educational Transformation Program; Patricia A. Maulden, assistant professor of conflict resolution practice and director of the Dialogue and Difference Project in ICAR.

Design, Implementation and Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Consciousness-Raising and Transformational Change Intervention for Hospital-Based Nurses.

This study will conduct an in-depth assessment of a series of workshops for nurses that aim to improve communications skills, reduce conflict and improve the overall workplace environment.

Investigators: Anne Nicotera, associate professor in Mason’s Department of Communication; Margaret M. Mahon, associate professor in Mason’s School of Nursing; and Sandra Cheldelin, Vernon M. and Minnie I. Lynch Professor in ICAR.

Preliminary Investigation of an Innovative Theory-Driven Clinical Intervention for Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

This research studies a novel approach to treating generalized anxiety disorder with the goal of understanding and reducing symptoms of the disorder over time.

Investigators: John H. Riskind, professor in Mason’s Department of Psychology; Evan Kleiman, Mason student in the clinical psychology PhD program; Michael E. Portman, staff therapist at the Cleveland Veterans Administration and adjunct faculty member at Case Western Reserve University; and Neil A. Rector, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

The “Through Students’ Eyes” Project: Seeing Youths’ Perspectives on School and Their Peers.

Using multimedia, the project documents students’ perspectives on school and aims to increase student achievement in urban centers by addressing the reasons students drop out.

Investigators: Kristien Zenkov, associate professor in CEHD; Pamela Garner, associate professor in New Century College; Paul C. Gorski, assistant professor in New Century College; Laura Horvath, George Mason University facilitator for the Secondary Professional Development School at South Lakes High School; Jim Harmon, teacher in the Euclid City School District (Ohio); Jody McCabe, teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools; and Marriam Ewaida, teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools.

The center will be supporting another call for proposals for mini grants in the next couple of months. For more information about the grants, visit

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