The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the United Methodist Church has selected Nebraska Wesleyan University professor Karla Jensen as an inaugural recipient of its Cutting-Edge Curriculum Award.
The award was created to recognize faculty at United Methodist-related colleges and universities from across the country who have developed unique and engaging courses designed to enhance the student experience. Ten finalists were selected with the top two finalists receiving $4,000.
Jensen, professor of communication studies, was selected as one of the two top finalists for her course, “Be. Here. Now.: Mindfulness Theory and Practice.” The course, an Archway Seminar for first-year students, engages students inside and outside of the classroom with a host of exercises such as meditation, journaling, deep listening, and other contemplative practices. The practices, in tandem with class readings and research, foster a nuanced understanding and further application of course content while enhancing introspection, concentration, and perspective-taking — all skills needed to be a diligent student, considerate friend, and attentive, responsible member of any community, said Jensen.
“Her work is a model of what the institution intends for its student body,” said President Fred Ohles. “It directs them toward successful and meaningful lives by equipping them with the intellectual and emotional tools to achieve full maturity.”
In addition to the Archway Seminar, Jensen teaches courses in the interpersonal realm including family, health, and intercultural communication. Her teaching has been recognized by Texas Tech University, the Central and Southern Communication Association, and Nebraska Wesleyan University. She has taught at NWU since 2000 and leads weekly guided meditations and yoga classes for NWU students, faculty and staff.