Centre for Mindful Engagement

Respect for the past, awareness of the present, discernment for the future — the Centre for Mindful Engagement (CME) is a gathering place for researchers from across all disciplines and interests to explore the significances of mindful community engagement.

Our Approach


The centre embraces and embodies mindful community engagement through valuing the intersections of varied intellectual traditions. Our transformative engaged research explores the critical and creative conditions that foster sustainable well-being for ourselves and others across the life course.


The centre brings together scholars, researchers and practitioners invested in cultivating learning contexts for all to live well in the world with others. Our relational and participatory approach incorporates multiple voices and recognizes diverse forms of knowledges and experiences.


The centre is a gathering place for researchers from across all disciplines and interests to explore the significances of mindful engagement.


The centre aims to envision and articulate the educative significances of mindfulness now and for our future. Guided by the principles of respect, relationality, relevance and reciprocity, our projects promote intergenerational and cross-cultural engagement within and across diverse communities.

Who We Are

The CME Advisory Board provides guidance to the centre’s director, supporting, refining and promoting the centre’s mission to foster research into mindful engagement.

Director of the CME

Karen Ragoonaden, Professor of Teaching,
Okanagan School of Education

Advisory Board Members

  • Margo Tamez, Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies, UBC Okanagan
  • Oren Ergas, Senior Lecturer, Biet Berl Academic College (Israel)
  • Virginie Magnat, Associate Professor, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, UBC Okanagan
  • Christopher Martin, Associate Professor, Okanagan School of Education
  • Sabre Cherkowski, Director of Graduate Programs, Okanagan School of Education
  • Robert Campbell, Associate Professor, Okanagan School of Education

Research, Collaborations & Partnerships

This research is funded by the University of British Columbia Eminence Fund and the University of Exeter Wellcome Center for Cultures and Environments of Health.

Exploring synergies between cultural, creative, and mindfulness practices that have the potential to foster and sustain health and well-being. This cluster draws on the collective expertise of researchers from Canada, the U.K., and France to co-develop an arts-based community-engaged research model combining cultural, creative, and mindfulness practices and integrating the perspectives of Indigenous scholars and artists to explore the cultural, spiritual, and environmental dimensions of health and well-being.


Cluster Leads

Virginie Magnat, UBC, Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (Performance and Voice Studies, Arts-based Inquiry)

Karen Ragoonaden, UBC Okanagan School of Education (Mindfulness and Well-Being, Culturally Responsive Pedagogy)


Canadian Research Team

Tania Willard, UBC Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies (Indigenous Art, Multidisciplinary Artistic Practices, Land-Based Community Engagement)

Sarah Dow-Fleisner, UBC, Faculty of Health and Social Development (Social Work and Health and Wellbeing, Intervention and Prevention in High-Risk Contexts)

Evan Adams, UBC Faculty of Medicine and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) Chief Medical Officer (Indigenous Health, Cultural Safety, Holistic Approaches to Wellness)

Rena Sharon, UBC School of Music (Arts-Based Inquiry, Music and Health, Music and Science)

Vicki Kelly, SFU Indigenous Education (Arts-Based Inquiry, Indigenous Cultural Revitalization, Ecological Education)

University of Exeter Partners

Konstantinos Thomaidis, Performance and InterdisciplinaryVoice Studies

Ann Grand, Open Science and Public Engagement

Bryony Onciul, Public and Indigenous History, Community Engagement, Truth and Reconciliation, Understanding Place and Environment


Université Grenoble Alpes Partner

Gretchen Schiller, Arts de la Scène (Dance Studies Scholar-Practitioner)

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Sabre Cherkowski

This three-year, SSHRC-funded research project explores organizational well-being in schools across British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Researchers aim to understand how it is that some K-12 school communities thrive, and to use what they learn to contribute to increasing flourishing in all schools, especially those on the margins and those who have not yet reached their full potential.

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Principal Investigator: Associate Professor John Tyler Binfet

Building upon a successful study of kindness (which surveyed 1,753 students in Grades 4 to 8 from School District 23 in the Okanagan), Binfet’s is investigating primary students’ perceptions of kindness. Working in collaboration with graduate student Amy Gaertner, this innovative research has students draw what kindness looks like to them and sketch an act of kindness they have done recently at school.”

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Principal Investigator: Professor of Teaching, Karen Ragoonaden
Co-Investigator: Professor of Teaching Margaret Macintyre Latta

Shared Narratives about Well-Being

This study aims to examine the similarities between Mindfulness and Indigenous knowledge. An ancillary aim is to examine how integrating mindful practices into university courses, whose focus is on Indigenous knowledge, impact on identity and on the wholistic well-being of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student populations.

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Learning Garden Co-ordinator: Associate Professor Robert Campbell

Built in 2006, the Learning Garden at UBC Okanagan is primarily an experiential teaching and learning tool for potential teacher candidates to develop the practices of environmental education. The garden is dedicated to promoting the principles of sustainable environmental practice, authentic and responsible stewardship of nature, interdisciplinary learning and ecoliterate knowledge, across campus.

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Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Stephen Berg

This study is aimed to develop a greater awareness of the impacts that outdoor environments have on the physical activity levels of children in early childhood settings. Providing children with opportunities to develop their skills and be active can help them reach greater levels of physical literacy and obtain higher levels of self-efficacy.

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Scott Roy Douglas

Examining the Impact of English for Academic Purposes on the Undergraduate Experiences of Students from Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds

This project seeks to identify the impact of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs on students’ undergraduate experiences as well as the value of these programs as a pathway to university. Data gathering includes classroom observations, questionnaires, and interviews, with data being compiled into emerging themes. This knowledge is critical to fostering positive student experiences and developing quality EAP programming as an equitable entrance pathway to higher education and a legitimate alternative to standardized English language testing.

Community-Led Action for Resiliency Important Throughout Youth (CLARITY)

Co-leads, Dr. Sana Shahram, School of Nursing & Dr. Karen Ragoonaden, School of Education

Suicide is the second-most common cause of death among young people. Over 40% of youth who die by suicide showed no previous warning signs. In an effort to prevent suicide risk before it arises, the CLARITY Project aims to promote community-based initiatives and actions to support resiliency among all youth in our communities. This work includes heightening awareness among parents, teachers, doctors and community members about suicide risk. Importantly, we hope to clarify the ways in which everyone involved in caring for our younger generation can help foster resilience in our youth to actively protect against that risk.

This research is supported by the MMRI Institute at UBCO.

Cluster of Research Excellence on Zero Plastic Waste: An Integrated Circular Economy Approach from Science & Technology Innovation to Public Education & Policy Decision-Making

Nearly ninety percent of Canada’s plastic waste is not recycled or recovered, denoting an economic loss of $7.8 billion. As such, the Government of Canada has recently approved the Canada-wide Strategy on Zero Plastic Waste, aiming to reduce the harmful environmental impacts of plastic waste through prevention, collection, and value recovery. In concert, this research cluster is composed of a multidisciplinary group of ten faculty members from three campuses aiming to spearhead the national issue of plastic waste in four different frontiers of Science, Technology, Education, and Policy.

Research members include:

  • Mohammad Arjmand, School of Engineering, UBCO
  • Abbas Milani, School of Engineering, UBCO
  • Shahria Alam, School of Engineering, UBCO
  • Amir Ardestani-Jaafari, Faculty of Management, UBCO
  • Jeremy Wulff, Chemistry, University of Victoria
  • Karen Ragoonaden, School of Education, UBCO
  • Maria Holuszko, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering, UBC V
  • Warren Hare, Mathematics, UBC O
  • Parisa Mehrkhodavandi, Chemistry, UBC
  • Fatemeh Fard, Computer Science, UBCO

This research cluster will be administered by the MMRI Institute at UBCO.


Certificate and Minor in Communications and Rhetoric (CORH)

This project will develop both a Credit Certificate (anticipated launch date: Fall 2021) and a Minor (anticipated launch date: Fall 2023) in Communications and Rhetoric (CORH). These programs will build upon UBC Okanagan’s interdisciplinary expertise to offer unique learning pathways that will help students develop the academic, professional and cross-cultural communication skills crucial to active citizenship in our increasingly interconnected world.

The 15-credit CORH Certificate structure contains four thematic interdisciplinary clusters, with the learning outcomes for each cluster of courses focusing on a specific conceptual aspect of communications, and a final capstone project. The tentative titles for the thematic clusters are: The Self, The Individual and Others, The Community, and The Media.

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Funding for this certificate was made possible by Aspire 2010 Learning Transformations (ALT) Funding 2020

Research Cluster in Culture, Creativity, Health and Well-being

This research cluster team is exploring synergies between cultural, creative and mindfulness practices that have the potential to foster and sustain health and well-being.

This cluster draws on the collective expertise of researchers from Canada, the U.K. and France to co-develop an arts-based community-engaged research model. The cluster combines cultural, creative and mindfulness practices and integrates the perspectives of Indigenous scholars and artists to explore the cultural, spiritual and environmental dimensions of health and well-being.

Learn more

Interested in Smart Resiliency And Mindfulness Training (SMART) for Educators?
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Get Involved

Faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and community members are invited to become affiliates of the centre. If you are interested in contributing to the centre’s mission and enabling its growth, please contact us.

The Centre for Mindful Engagement, Okanagan School of Education
1137 Alumni Ave.
UBC Okanagan
Kelowna, BC Canada V1V1V7