Elaine Gray
Day/Time Taught: 
TR 2:00 -3:15 pm
Course Number: 

What is consciousness? Do our thoughts, assumptions, culture and beliefs influence our reality? Am I just a bundle of neurons or is there something more to the essence of who I am? Is attention span something I can improve with practice? How do I construct self, meaning, and purpose? Can mindfulness change our brains, improve our well-being and create a better world?

This course explores the mysteries of consciousness by examining this phenomena from multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives on self, psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Course activities focus on student engagement through research, discussions, and papers. Students will engage in contemplative inquiry based in reflective journals and mindfulness practices that explore attention, self-awareness, and inner knowing. An examination of attitudes, habits, beliefs, and assumptions that influence our worldview combined with readings and research on the subject of human consciousness will culminate in the student’s articulation of an integrative philosophy of mind. (This course meets the GLO Attribution)

Instructor Bio: 

Dr. Gray considers herself an Interdisciplinarian whose academic interests range from contemplative pedagogy, consciousness studies, spiritual intelligence, and the wisdom arts. Her most recent research focuses on how students in higher education can cultivate a sense of purpose and well being. She received her PhD in Integral Studies from the California Institute of Integral Studies and her masters in Liberal Studies from Rollins College. Dr. Gray received the 2010 Brantz Award for Outstanding Teaching in First Year Seminar. She is an affiliated faculty member with the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and the First Year Seminar Program. She taught in the College of Education graduate program for Curriculum and Instruction and Leadership and Higher Education from 2006 - 2010. She is also the e-portfolio coordinator for University College.

Dr. Gray began teaching student success courses at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida in 1995. Her extensive experience teaching first year students created an opportunity for her to write a student success book which would blend her academic background in transformative adult learning theory and emotional intelligence. Pearson published the book entitled "Conscious Choices – A Model for Self Directed Learning" in 2004. Her textbook focuses on self-awareness, critical thinking and self-reflection as methods for becoming a successful life long learner.

Her classroom teaching styles and pedagogies include journaling, discussion, self-assessment, mini lectures, student presentations and active reading. Dr. Gray believes students' benefit from meaningful classroom dialogue and knowledge construction in collaborative groups. Her emphasis on integrating mindfulness, inner attention, and self-awareness are the foundations of her teaching philosophy.

Dr. Gray's life interests include playing guitar with the local Celtic group The Mountain Laurels, practicing Tai Chi, reading about esoteric knowledge, kayaking, biking, and enjoying her dogs Maggie, Kasey and Shelia.

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

QEP Global Learning