Mindfulness and stress-reduction is a connection well established. However, it is important to analyze the specific effects of mindfulness in different professional fields. One such field is academia, where burn-out is pervasive, resulting in increased depersonalization, physical and mental exhaustion and cynicism. In this study, a Mindfulness-based Program will be offered free of cost to academics in 5 South African Universities. We anticipate a reduction of these symptoms, which will have a deep impact in the whole academic environment: not only for lecturers but for the thousands of students that attend their lectures. This project is also important because it will provide the first large-scale data on the effects of mindfulness in the South African academic population, which is extremely diverse and diverse in ways that are different to what is usually encountered in universities in the Global North. The methodology is also innovative, combining quantitative data gathering with systematic use of first person accounts. This will allow for the voice of academics to be at the center of the study and for a systematic investigation of the potential enhancing effects of mindfulness in relation to teaching. Journaling exercises and a critical incident report will provide the qualitative data.

Nuño Aguirre de Cárcer, PhD

University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa