Mindfulness and Meditation at University – 10 Years of the Munich Model
Through courses offered via the Munich Model, students explore the practice and theory of mindfulness and meditation. Offered at the Munich University of Applied Science and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich for the past ten years, these courses – graded as academic credits – offer students the opportunity to get more in touch with themselves, while also encouraging them to incorporate these practices into their future professional work. Prof. Dr. Andreas de Bruin’s book on the history of the Munich Model highlights participants‘ experiences, as detailed in their meditation journals.
The initiative began in 2010 with just one course on „meditation“ offered in the social work degree program, but over the years it has developed into a comprehensive course offering on „mindfulness and meditation.“ Each semester, 150 students from up to 24 degree programs take part in its courses, which award credit points for participation. One of the first programs of its kind in Europe, the Munich Model is integrated into the curriculum through it’s regular courses, though additional programs are also offered for alumni, faculty and staff.
Meditation as an assessed course credit
In the practical part of the courses, students learn various mindfulness and meditation exercises. The theoretical components of the course include, specifically, scientific research, background information on the various approaches to meditation, and the possible applications of mindfulness and meditation in the students‘ later professional fields. The course is graded on the basis of attendance, regular participation, keeping a personal meditation journal, and a written reflection on how mindfulness and meditation can be meaningfully offered and implemented in future professional contexts. Students are encouraged to practice the exercises presented in class at home. The corresponding experiences are recorded in their meditation journal.
Meditation journals provide insight into its effects
After evaluating two thousand meditation diaries, the results from the first ten years of the Munich Model are now available. The evidence shows that the program has helped participants to cope better with everyday challenges, the general pressure to perform and the sometimes heavy workload in their studies. They can handle stressful situations more constructively and evaluate them more neutrally, more objectively. Minor disagreements that can lead to arguments and conflicts are now handled more constructively. In addition, the practical exercises lead to a better understanding of others and to greater emotional composure. The students find it easier to adopt a meta-level, which is also helpful for tackling scientific questions. It’s also apparent that the experiences gained have had a positive impact on self-efficacy as well as one’s own creativity and inspiration.
Students bring learned practices into their professional fields
As indicated, students benefit from mindfulness and meditation practices. And since many students also bring their experiences into their later professional fields, such as daycare centers and schools, the target groups there also benefit. This proved especially true for students who dedicated their final thesis to the topic of „Mindfulness and Meditation“. So far, 95 students have already done so, and the trend is rising. In a survey, 86 percent of the participants stated that „meditation in the university context offers a meaningful and rewarding enrichment for students and should therefore be offered more extensively.“
The accumulated experience of the „Munich Model“ in the form of a book
As a successful example of anchoring mindfulness and meditation in the university context, the Munich Model has developed into a catalyst over the years, inspiring numerous universities at home and abroad to explore these topics. In the meantime, the model’s approaches have also been incorporated into training programs for university teaching staff, such as those offered by the Center of Teaching and Learning (DiZ). Professor Andreas de Bruin is the founder and director of the Munich Model, and author of the recently published book about the first ten years of the Munich Model. Notably, the book features the testimonies of a selection of the two thousand students who have thus far participated in his courses and who report on their experiences based on their meditation journals.
Further information: The book „Mindfulness and Meditation at University – 10 Years of the Munich Model“ is available in both German and English as a print version and as a free e-book.
An overview and excerpts from the book can be found on the website of Transcript publishing house. Background information on the Munich Model is available on the website of the Munich University of Applied Sciences.
Prof. Dr. Andreas de Bruin
Andreas de Bruin was born in Delft, the Netherlands, in 1965. After studying Industrial Engineering and Management in Rijswijk, he studied Psychology in Leiden and Heidelberg, and Cultural Anthropology in Munich. He received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology in 2003 and became Professor of Aesthetic Media at the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences at Munich University of Applied Sciences in 2006. He also teaches at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich as part of an educational and research partnership. De Bruin’s main fields of research and teaching are mindfulness and meditation and their effects on physical, emotional, cognitive and social levels. He is a sought-after speaker on these topics and the Munich model „Mindfulness and Meditation in a University Context“, which he initiated, has already inspired many universities to launch similar offerings. In addition, de Bruin regularly hosts a free series of public lectures and film screenings entitled „Spiritual Teachers and Their Teachings.“ His most recent project, „Meditation and Art,“ teaches conscious observation of Old Master paintings.
Prof. Dr. Andreas de Bruin