Sensei Al Kaszniak, Ph.D

Spiritual Director and Teacher, Upaya Sangha of Tucson
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Arizona

Sensei Al is a priest and long-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism, in which he received precepts (jukai) and dharma transmission (denbo and denkai) as a teacher (Sensei) from Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM. He is a member of the Lay Zen Teachers Association and the White Plum Asanga. In addition to his service as spiritual director and teacher for the Upaya Sangha of Tucson , he serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Upaya Zen Center and Institute in Santa Fe.

Al received his Ph.D. in clinical and developmental psychology from the University of Illinois in 1976, and completed an internship in clinical neuropsychology at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.  He is past Director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium Education Core, and is an emeritus professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Arizona (UA). He was formerly professor of Psychology, Neurology, and Psychiatry, and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the UA. He also formerly served as Head of the Psychology Department, and as Director of the UA Center for Consciousness Studies. In addition, Al previously served as Chief Academic Officer and interim CEO for the Mind and Life Institute, an organization dedicated to the dialog between Western science and contemplative traditions.

He is the co-author or editor of seven books, including the three-volume Toward a Science of Consciousness (MIT Press), and Emotions, Qualia, and Consciousness (World Scientific). His research, focused on the neuropsychology of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related neurological disorders, consciousness, memory self-monitoring, emotion, and the psychophysiology of long-term and short-term meditation, has been published in over 169 journal articles and scholarly book chapters, and has been supported by grants from the U.S. National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Mental Health, and National Science Foundation, as well as several private foundations. Al is a fellow and Past-President of the Section on Clinical Geropsychology of the American Psychological Association, and a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.