The Next Generation Bringing Consciousness-Based Education to the World
We know you’ll be inspired to learn about some of the younger staff now in leadership roles at MUM, and so we’re introducing four of them to you in this article. We will feature more talented staff in future profiles.
Just by their mere membership in the post-Baby Boomer generations, they are ensuring MUM’s mainstream societal relevance and securing connectedness into the future.
But beyond their age, the administrators and faculty featured below, all in their 30’s and 40’s, are demonstrating a natural ability for enlightened communication and ethical leadership and policy-making — not to mention an ease with and receptivity to technology that is unknown to the generation before theirs. All of which gives confidence and satisfaction to those who are passing the torch.
Tiago Passos Lean Manager
Development and Alumni Affairs
Among our new talented leaders is the compassionate, sharp, and indefatigable Tiago Passos.
A native of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Passos works as Lean Manager on the Institutional Advancement Team (led by Brad Mylett, university Vice President of Development and Alumni Affairs).
Lean Management is an approach to running an organization that supports continuous improvement, systematically seeking to achieve small, incremental changes in order to improve efficiency and quality.
As Lean Manager, Passos learns of and defines underdeveloped processes to see where there is room for improvement; he often serves as a coach and problem-solver; and he helps to bring about positive relationships among department personnel. Foremost, his lean thinking prioritizes the student experience: How can we attract the best and brightest people here? How can we inspire our alumni to donate most generously?
Passos has worked at MUM since 2009. He was an International Administration Counselor on the university’s Ambassador Project, which aided the transition of international students to university life. Passos has also been a marketing manager in both the Computer Science Professionals Program and the MUM marketing team.
A TM-Sidha who spent a year and a half on Purusha, Passos is now a family man who enjoys community life with his wife, Carolina Passos — MUM’s highly qualified Director of Human Resources who, by the way, merits her own interview, soon to come! — and sons Miguel, 7, and Gabriel, 4.
Mr. Passos’s dedication to the MUM mission runs deep. “People here know they are doing good for the world,” he says. “We have a dedicated group in our office, many of whom are devoted not only to accomplish their tasks but who are looking beyond that to becoming better human beings. We all have a very special reason to work at MUM.”
Co-dean of Admissions
Gwendolyn Stowe grew up in Fairfield and attended Maharishi School, learning Transcendental Meditation at the age of 10, then moving with her family to Cambridge, MA.
During her junior year at Middlebury College, Vermont, she longed to return to Fairfield. She traveled back for a semester of study at MUM and “loved Consciousness- Based education and SCI,” she recalls. That experience made a lasting impact.
As an MUM administrator for the past five years, Stowe has worked primarily in Admissions, shifting effortlessly between roles. Currently she manages eleven U.S. and International Admissions counselors and assistants.
Ms. Stowe implements marketing and advertising strategies to optimize the journey of student applicants from the first stages of outreach all the way through to enrollment. Often she consults with specific academic departments and with the Director of Marketing, Ron Barnett, on mission–critical projects, as well as producing and managing content for MUM’s website.
“I really enjoy the variety,” she enthuses. “I like dealing with all the different perspectives and understanding how it all fits together—optimizing the process and working to make it better. I enjoy the challenge of having to reconcile the differing ways departments see and do things. It takes a holistic vision.”
Though she left Fairfield and later returned, the University and its surrounding community has never been far from her heart. “I want to help fulfill Maharishi’s mission for education and provide all students the opportunity to grow in consciousness.”
BA Program Director and Assistant Professor of Creative Writing
Leah Waller’s responsibilities span the gamut— from in-the-stars creative to feet-on-the-ground practical—and demonstrate her formidable talent.
On the practical side, Waller works with department chairman Stuart Tanner, advising students, planning calendars, formulating program goals, coordinating initiatives with faculty to create events, and more—all aimed at improving the student experience.
And then there’s the creative writing and teaching side: her lifelong passion.
At times, Waller’s view of the meditating student writers is nothing short of astonishment. “They produce some of the most amazing creative work I’ve ever read,” she says. “I’ve rarely seen that level of quality, even when I was in my master’s program.”
There’s no substitute for natural ability, but credit must also go to students’ practice of Transcendental Meditation and the resulting expansion of waking state consciousness. “When you’re having the personal experience of transcending, you have the ability to go deeper into your writing,” says Waller. “The poems and stories I’m reading have brought me to tears, moved my heart, and made me laugh out loud. There’s a very different caliber of writer in this program.”
In order to come to MUM, Ms. Waller turned down a faculty position at Northern Arizona University, where she had received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2013. Prior to this, she earned a BA in Literature and Writing from MUM.
Waller cites Fairfield, known to many as an incubator of creative talent, as advantageous for writers. “The stress level here is significantly lower than in the city,” she says. “Everybody knows everybody. Honestly, what do we do but sit in living rooms and talk and connect with each other? At the end of the day, no matter where you are, that’s what you’re doing. The people in Fairfield are the most interesting of any place I’ve been.”
Waller herself has tapped deeply into that pool of creativity and connectivity in her own work. “I feel the pull here to write stories and poetry,” she says. “It’s the atmosphere that stirs up creativity. I’m incredibly grateful to live and work here.”
Director of Online and Continuing Education
As Director of Online and Continuing Education, which offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs as well as noncredit enrichment courses to students all over the world, Bei Liu has his hands full.
“We’re bringing the university to the next level,” says Bei. “American and worldwide students can now join and experience the unique education that’s only available from Maharishi University of Management.”
Working on developing his department has at times reminded Bei of running a startup business. “Certain resources are being used up front without necessarily— yet—seeing a return, at least in the short term,” he says. “But those critical, required steps are setting a solid and scalable foundation that will provide benefits for years to come.”
The Online and Continuing Education department integrates a number of educational technologies to help faculty create an engaging learning experience. Developing this capability has been a high priority for the university. “We’ve had so much understanding and support from MUM leadership,” says Bei. “They’ve seen that online learning has enormous application and that this is truly a field full of potential.”
Mr. Bei hails from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, China. He has lived in Fairfield and worked at MUM for ten years. In his spare time, he enjoys exercise, reading, movies, travel, and artistic pursuits. “I love to look at and create my own art, especially photography – seeing the world and people in a different way extends my horizons.”
Likewise, his vision for the department is visionary and expansive: “We’re creating a new paradigm of education, one that values creativity and innovation in conjunction with the deep principles of Consciousness-Based education. Everyone is very excited.”
More Interviews coming soon!
- Aster Hesse
- Mahmood Ali
- Gyan Shrosbree
- Johan Svenson
- Karen Aoki
- Patrik Siljestam
- Yali Jiang
- Maryam Naraghi,
- Nahom Abegaze
- Ingrid Bianco
- Corina Acosta
- Sultan Salah
- Carolina Passos
- Peter Kennedy
- Selin Ozbudak
- Amine Kouidar