The Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion

Cognitive Reset I & II

July 8, 2020 to July 22, 2020

The Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion, in partnership with the Center for Collaboration & Development, is excited to sponsor a two-part workshop with Professors Richard Bilodeau and Vaishali Mamgain. The presenters will share their research and introduce practices that engender empathy and enhance creativity and learning.  

These techniques, many of which evoke playfulness and a lightness of being, are an invitation to look afresh at our own disciplines and pedagogy. A “beginner’s mind” may be invaluable in rebuilding our learning communities as we grapple with the world’s problems and celebrate our achievements.  

Participants will work in dyads/triads to create contracts on how to implement these practices in a class they currently teach or are developing. Many of these techniques and practices can help us reduce our stress while offering the neuro-reset necessary to do our most optimal thinking.

Faculty are requested to commit to both sessions so that we can explore this work more deeply. As a way to integrate into the curriculum, faculty will design contracts that they can commit to in their teaching.

Enrollment is limited to 15.


Presenter's Bios



Vaishali Mamgain

Dr. Vaishali Mamgain is Associate Professor of Economics and the Director of the Bertha Crosley Ball Center for Compassion at the University of Southern Maine. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include contributions by refugees and (im)immigrant workers to Maine’s economy.

She is a pioneer in the field of contemplative education and facilitates Compassion Training workshops in the US and abroad. When COVID-19 forced an online transition, she was teaching Economics and Happiness – a contemplative class she had developed during a fellowship with the American Council of Learned Societies. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of The Center for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education and the Courage of Care Coalition.

She practices in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and from 2014-2017 she did a 3 year meditation retreat at Samten Ling Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado. She lives in beautiful coastal Maine where she walks, sings and gazes at seaweed.


Richard Bilodeau

Richard Bilodeau teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in entrepreneurship, creativity, design thinking, business sustainability, strategy, and marketing at the University of Southern Maine (USM). He is also an entrepreneur who is a partner in two growing businesses. One business is a direct marketing company working and consulting in alternative health and wellness located in Portland, Maine. The other is a television network located in the Southeast providing vacation and tourist information. He also has an active consulting practice with clients located in the United States, Canada, and Europe. 

Richard’s current research focuses on the role our neurobiology plays in our creative and business decision-making. His other research interests focus on the use of design thinking to create market value, the development of marketing strategies to support rapid growth, the role of leadership in startup success, and the importance of triple bottom line thinking in business strategy. 

Prior to his career in business and education, he worked in a clinical laboratory where he conducted research and testing involving tumor markers.