Free Webinars: Spring, 2019

 20-Minute Mindful Compassion Webinars
Hosted by San Diego State University
Updated December 28, 2018

  •  All webinars are offered free of charge through SDSU Zoom –
  • Each Webinar will begin promptly at 12 noon (pacific time) on each date indicated.
  • Each webinar will be recorded and shared for future reference at, where the free book with additional resources can be obtained.
  • Each webinar will be no more than 20 minutes in length with 10 additional minutes for live questions and comments.

Webinar 1: The Micro Ethnography of Compassion in University Student Group/Team Work
January 24, 2019– Theo Gilbert

Link to You Tube Video ––VmCsEaY  
PPT – The Micro skills of Compassion in Group Work

Dr. Theo Gilbert introduces this series of 6 webinars on progress with student training in the micro skills of compassion for group/team work in UK universities.  He explains qualitative and statistical outcomes (of applying the micro skills in the seminar or tutorial room) for students’ personal well-being and for raising group intelligences, in studies conducted so far. This work (demonstrated here: ) is being carried out in response to the international crisis in student wellbeing and mental health, and because, statistically,  the skills have been found in studies so far to apparently remove (not reduce) the BAME attainment gap.

After this session, all following sessions in this webinar series will be delivered by a different educator and/or researcher – each month.  That is, speakers from the universities of Aberdeen, Exeter, Derby and Anglia Ruskin will present to you their progress and outcomes of embedding the micro skills of compassion into their own student group work, namely in Business, the Humanities, Nursing and Psychology respectively.  Their aim is to provide a rich, practical bank of collective support to colleagues anywhere who know that Rome is burning, and there can be no more delay to accepting the evidence – from neuroscience, clinical psychology and anthropology – for practical and explicitly compassionate approaches to any modern system of education.  If you are out there, this series is for you – you are not alone. In solidarity.

Dr. Theo Gilbert is an English and Drama graduate of London University, and a post graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (also London University) in ethnography and politics of the Middle East.  After teaching with joy in Further Education (similar to US community colleges) he moved into the University of Hertfordshire in 2000.  Trying to present his argument for public debate on the urgency of applying new evidence on practical compassion in the class room, he recently collaborated with Upswing, a UK national theatre company, has featured on BBC radio, and runs workshops in schools and universities on the compassionate group skills.  He is cultivating a network of staff from, so far, 36 universities who are similarly engaging with the above approach to group/team work for staff and students. (To join, see: ). On behalf of this network, and his own university he recently accepted the Times Higher Education’s award for “Most Innovative Teacher of the 2018.”  With computer science colleagues, he is now working on a virtual reality training simulation in the compassionate behavioral skills for group work.  The team’s hope is to develop free Virtual Reality software to help train staff and students in the UK and other countries as cost effectively and inclusively as possible.

Webinar 2: Facilitating Cross-Cultural Teamwork
February 13, 2019– Norton Bertram-Smith

Link to YouTube video –
PPT – Introducing Micro Skills of Compassion  

Norton Bertram-Smith will discuss how the introduction of micro-compassion-based relationship skills, (as a means to better facilitate the giving and receiving of feedback and creating a more psychologically safe team-working environment) was introduced to students of Aberdeen University, Scotland.  This was within a context of cross-cultural teams carrying out a two-week Management of Change simulation within an MBA module.  The training was found to help reduce friction and boredom, and improve engagement, participation, sharing and learning.

Norton Bertram-Smith is the founder of On Purpose. He brings a wealth of business experience and personal discovery to working with clients and is an experienced leadership consultant and coach. Norton provides personal and corporate facilitation for senior leaders and their teams in the field of transformational leadership development, with specific expertise and enthusiasm for authentic leadership and the practices of creating high trust and collaborative working environments, as well as mindfulness-based compassion at work. Norton has extensive experience in running action-learning programs, providing coaching and mentoring for strategic leaders.

LinkedIn profile link:

Webinar 3: Embedding Strategies of Active Compassion into Seminar-based Learning

March 14, 2019  – Dr Jo Esra, University of Exeter.

Link to the YouTube video –

Strategies of active compassion were incorporated into a second-year English module at the University of Exeter, following training from Dr Theo Gilbert with the module teaching team. Jo will discuss how the concept of active compassion was introduced to the students on the module, how the team overcame specific challenges which arose, and the successful outcomes from deploying these strategies. Some of these outcomes were not anticipated. Jo will highlight how introducing active compassion into seminars has had a positive, long-term impact beyond the seminar room and the second-year module. Many of the students who took the module are working in a more consciously co-operative, compassionate and mutually supportive way, not only during independent group study, but during one of the most individualized aspects of their degree, researching and writing their dissertations.

Dr. Jo Esra is a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature with the University of Exeter, although with a professional background in mental health and addiction services for young people. She is committed to providing inclusive, positive student-focused environment to ensure effective teaching and learning, and to the broader project of widening participation and access to higher education.

Webinar 4: The Promise of Virtual Reality to Enhance the Human Condition

Tuesday,  April 16th, 2019  – Andrew Marunchak, University of Hertfordshire

Link to the YouTube video –

In this webinar Andrew Marunchak will provide a look at how virtual experiences can serve to remind us of our agency in a variety of circumstances. Everything is a choice and as long as we have a mental model that remains constructive for a given situation, we can gain value from our conscious involvement. This session focusses on the use of Virtual Reality to aid human social interactions in the context of compassionate pedagogy.

As a creative programmer and artist, Andrew Marunchak spends much of his time exploring emerging technologies and creative trends in the digital medium. Andrew works as a senior e-Learning Technology Developer at the Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre at the University of Hertfordshire. This is also the same institution from which he obtained his degree in Software Systems for the Arts and Media as well as his master’s degree in 3D Animation. Andrew is an advocate of virtual and augmented reality technology and the potential it has to facilitate communication and learning. Although his work has more to do with the pedagogic applications of various technologies, this is where his personal interest lies. The challenges associated with this are numerous and involve everything from the stigma surrounding the medium to the level of technical literacy within various user groups.Andrew has been an active participant of multiple European Commission funded projects setup to investigate the affordances of XR technologies in an educational context at both school and HE levels.

Webinar 5: Sharing Experiences of Teaching Compassion to Specialist Community Public Health Nursing students 

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 – Ann Pettit, Anglia Ruskin University

Link to the YouTube vide –

This webinar is an opportunity to share experiences of teaching compassion to nurses who care for vulnerable children, their families and community – a context in which compassion is key to preventing and alleviating distress in the students and in me.

As a teacher I found self-compassion and awareness is needed and role modelling competencies that are seeded.

So hopefully through this webinar today we can explore these experiences and learn a new way to develop our compassionate curriculums further and continue to inspire and encourage one another.

Ann Pettit is an experienced nurse who has been supporting vulnerable children, families and communities for the past thirty years. She has won a number of awards for her practice including a quality award for service developments for children with cancer and their families. Ann is a psychology graduate of the University of East London, and a post graduate of the Tavistock in infant mental health and Anglia Ruskin University in specialist community public health nursing.

Ann has been a senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) for the past six years. Together with practice and academic colleagues she has developed a compassionate resilience curriculum for Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN).This curriculum aims to create a compassionate learning environment, to raise self-compassion and emotional resilience in students, so potentially promoting the facilitators of compassionate care.  An ecological, experiential approach is utilized with the University and NHS Trust staff working in partnership.  The curriculum includes a resilience framework for health visitors (Pettit and Stephens 2015) and a digital story called Baby Steps (Pettit 2016). This is used to facilitate discussion about the emotional labor of SCPHN practice. A research-focused evaluation of the curriculum has been conducted (Pettit, McVicar, Knight-Davidson, Shaw-Flach, 2019) and the outcome is reflected in the following student feedback “I’m a lot more compassionate to myself. So if things are becoming quite overwhelming I take a step back and give myself a break. Get some supervision and then go back to it. So I think in terms of the way I look at how I’m managing myself, things have changed.”The curriculum continues to evolve, and this year has included the micro-skills of compassion in group work.  The subject of compassionate resilience is now included in the children’s, primary care and community nursing and social work programs. Ann continues to work in partnership with local health care providers and regularly facilitates “Transforming Stress Workshops” which include training in compassionate resilience.

Ann is committed to fostering compassionate resilience, promoting infant mental health and being a voice for vulnerable children.

Webinar 6:  Embedding compassionate micro skills of communication into the curriculum with level 4 undergraduate students

Monday, June 3rd, 2019  – Dr Caroline Harvey, University of Derby

Link to the YouTube video –

Dr Caroline Harvey will be reporting on progress within the Psychology Department, University of Derby, UK, to embed compassionate micro skills of communication into the curriculum with level 4 undergraduate students.  Caroline leads a module which involves weekly group work during seminars, culminating in an assessed group presentation at the end of the module.  The team at Derby hopes that introducing students to the micro skills of compassion will lead to a more positive experience for the students.   The impact of embedding the compassionate micro skills into the curriculum is being assessed through a research project and Caroline will report on progress in relation to introducing the skills as part of the module teaching and the research to date.

Dr. Caroline Harvey is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby.  She studied for her PhD in Psychology during the late 1990’s at the University of Derby and after finishing her PhD she went on to work in the public sector for 11 years, working first for the Police, and then a Local Authority in various roles relating to project management, performance management and community safety. In 2012 Caroline returned to academia taking up her current role within the psychology team. She works part time and is currently the Level 5 Lead and Employability Lead for the psychology team.  She is module leader for two modules: Psychology in the Modern World; and Skills and Careers in Psychology II; and she also teaches on a range of other undergraduate and post graduate modules.  Her current research interests include embedding compassion in the Higher Education curriculum; nature connection; and individual differences relating to belief.  Caroline is working on a number of projects across these areas. She is also supervisor to a PhD student exploring the measurement and representation of the dark tetrad personality traits.