Susanna Williams, PhD is Associate Director of the U.Va. Mindfulness Center, where she is a faculty member and teaches several courses. She teaches Mindful Writing which uses contemplative practices to access the rich inner landscape available beyond linear thinking. She also teaches Mindfulness and the Brain which explores the neuroscience behind meditation and wellbeing – class time is divided between learning about the mechanisms within the brain that are impacted by contemplative practice and practicing meditation and mindfulness to actually experience them. A new course called Personal and Social Transformation will guide participants toward their own mindful being as well as explore practical applications of mindfulness within their professional aspirations (health care, education, global development etc.) and/or personal lives. She also teaches mindfulness in multiple academic contexts (such as Mindfulness for Law Students and Mindfulness for Upward Bound Teachers) as well as in corporate settings such as the Brookings Institute and the Federal Executive Institute.
She has a background in health care, and has worked both internationally and domestically in the area of designing and implementing health systems with a focus on full wellbeing, and sees mindfulness as both an entryway and a prerequisite for global development. She has used mindfulness practices in her work with African caregivers, based on the latest neuroscience that marries human connection to human development.
Her current focus is on bringing mindfulness and its applications into higher education (including cross-culturally) as well as researching its impact on students. She has been engaged in spiritual practice for many years and is a certified yoga instructor.
Susanna has presented Innovative Approaches to Teaching Mindfulness in Higher Education at the Annual Scientific Conference of Mindfulness in Healthcare and Society and is engaged with UVA’s Contemplative Pedagogy exploration through the Teachers Resource Center. She is a member of Mindfulness in Higher Education and Mindfulness in Education Network.