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Announcements from the Office of the Provost

Greetings, Pacifica Graduate Institute Community,

As we gracefully transition into the winter and holiday season, I am delighted to share some exciting academic-related updates and developments with you. With the fall quarter sessions concluding, it has been invigorating to see the life, spirit, and academic excellence on display across our campuses, programs, and events. We hope this fall quarter has been a warm welcome to our new students, who have recently become an integral part of the Pacifica community, and a meaningful step forward for those who continued their coursework or are in their dissertation phase. It brings me great joy to see familiar faces again. Since my last newsletter in July 2023, a myriad of positive developments have taken root, and I am privileged to share these exciting updates with you in this communication.

New Faculty Hires and Promotions
We proudly welcome the newest members of our Faculty this fall and celebrate the promotions of esteemed colleagues. Please join me in congratulating and welcoming:

  • Devon Deimler (Associate Core Faculty in Mythological Studies and Depth Psychology & Creativity – previously Adjunct Faculty)
  • Jenny Escobar (Core Faculty in Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco-Psychologies)
  • Benjamin Heilveil, LMFT (Core Faculty in Counseling – previously Adjunct Faculty)
  • Monica Mody (Core Faculty in Mythological Studies)
  • Tomas Yufik (Core Faculty in Clinical)

Additionally, we celebrate the return of two Associate Core Faculty members as Core Faculty:

Two distinguished Faculty members, whose substantial contributions have enriched Pacifica Graduate Institute have been accorded the prestigious title of Emeritus Faculty. With profound honor and respect, we acknowledge the privilege of including them among our Emeritus Faculty.

Matthew Bennett has returned from his sabbatical in the summer of 2023. During his sabbatical, Matthew completed chapters of his upcoming book, Return to Freedom and Dignity. The book proposes a structure for a transtheoretical Jungian/Psychoanalytic perspective on personality and personality disorder. Kathee Miller and Susan Rowland will soon return from their fall 2023 sabbaticals. Kathee Miller’s sabbatical addresses the following questions: what is our relationship to our storied emotional bodies and the environment? Where do we belong? Where is a sense of a sacred, safe, brave space, and are we at home in our bodies? Susan Rowland’s sabbatical focus is to complete her Jungian Arts-Based Research project on depth psychology and families in the 21st century. The following Faculty are scheduled for sabbaticals in upcoming quarters: Mary Wood, Glen Slater, and Evans Lansing Smith (winter 2024); Nuria Ciofalo (spring 2024).

Shared Governance and Faculty Compensation and Workload Study
As mentioned in the President’s updates in November, the Executive Leadership Team, Faculty, Staff Members, and two Trustees have been working together to develop a shared governance statement that encapsulates Pacifica’s commitment to collaborative and informed decision-making and clear definitions of constituencies’ roles and structures. Once finalized, this statement will be posted on Pacifica’s website, providing a pathway for the next steps, including establishing a decision matrix specifying each constituency’s decision-making authority and a Faculty governance body. Also mentioned in the President’s updates was the completion of the Faculty Compensation and Workload Study. The spring will be dedicated to implementing the recommendations from that study, which will benefit the majority of core and associate Faculty members. A similar study is underway to examine staff compensation and workload.

Faculty Affairs
Key achievements include implementing the Pacifica-issued email requirement initiative, effective September 1, 2023. Core, Associate Core, and Adjunct Faculty must now use Pacifica-issued email addresses for all Pacifica-related businesses to comply with FERPA regulations. As requested by WSCUC, Academic Affairs created a Syllabi Database where syllabi from all programs at Pacifica will be stored for the remainder of the 2023-2024 academic year and beyond. Academic Affairs also created and published Dissertation calendars on the Academic Calendars webpage. These Dissertation calendars serve learners in their program’s dissertation phase. The Online Grading Initiative was launched in select courses offered this fall and will continue through the winter 2024 quarter. The purpose of this initiative is to digitize the recording of grades and automatically transfer them to the student records database, thus facilitating the work of our Faculty and staff. Looking ahead, there is a goal to track attendance online rather than on paper rosters, thus modernizing our processes and systems.

New Faculty Orientation & Faculty Development
In collaboration with the Registrar’s Office, Student Services, the Library, and the Dissertation Office, Academic Affairs offered a new Faculty Orientation to support and welcome our new and returning instructors. This orientation ensured Faculty could navigate policies and processes effectively and introduced them to our development platform, providing valuable professional development opportunities. This platform is powered by The National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity (NCFDD), an independent professional development, training, and mentoring community for Faculty, graduate students, and professionals. NCFDD provides helpful programs and resources for members in four areas: strategic planning, academic productivity, healthy relationships, and work-life balance. For more information or to log in, visit the Office of the Provost’s Faculty Development webpage.

Elevating Learner Experience Outcomes
We are delighted that our accreditor, the WASC Senior College and University Commission, has approved two new fully online programs! Pending approval of the Department of Education, we anticipate launching the new MA/PhD in Psychology, Religion, and Consciousness in the fall of 2024. In the spring of 2025, one track of the MA/PhD in Depth Psychology with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies will be offered fully online (no residential sessions). The program will continue to offer a hybrid track every fall. These programs offer valuable opportunities for students unable to travel to campus, expanding access to depth psychological education.

Our Dissertation Success Curriculum program, coordinated by the Dissertation Office, is nearing completion for its first cohort of dissertation students. Congratulations to our first cohort of dissertation students in the last stretch of their 1-week program, with just a few more webinars and a final group meeting. Students in the dissertation phase are learning tips for developing writing habits and time management strategies, among many other tools to support them in the dissertation phase. We thank the Faculty who supported this initiative and led webinars with the students. This program greatly increased the use of the NCFDD platform, as shown below.

In the spirit of supporting students with financial needs, for the first time this year, we provided funds to 31 students who presented at conferences in 2022-23, including the Jungian Society of Scholarly Studies Conference, Fates & Graces Mythologium Conference, International Conference at the C.G. Jung Institute, APA Convention, and the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology Conference. We hope to be able to offer such opportunities in future years. Stay tuned for upcoming scholarship opportunities.

Promoting Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Our exceptional Library team, in collaboration with the Diversity and Inclusion Council and our esteemed Faculty, has curated a rich array of diverse resources reflecting the diversity of our collective experiences. We invite you to explore these resources and appreciate the myriad ways we all gain from diverse perspectives, cultures, and backgrounds. Together, let us foster an environment where mutual support and celebrating our diversity are paramount, cultivating a deep sense of belonging for every community member.

Within these resources, you will discover valuable insights and information spanning gender and sexuality, disabilities and health, racial and ethnic identities, neurodiversity, social justice, and more. May this compilation serve as a testament to our commitment to inclusivity, ensuring that each individual feels seen, valued, and an integral part of our shared journey.

Compliance Initiatives
Administrators, staff, and Faculty have been working collaboratively on our Institutional Report for the Reaffirmation of Accreditation by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). This document highlights the new initiatives to support student success and institutional well-being in the last six years. The report is due at the end of January and will be followed by a panel review in April 2024 and a site visit in October 2024. This is a standard process to demonstrate compliance and continuous improvement. We are excited to have this opportunity to showcase all the great work that Faculty, Students, Staff, and Leadership have accomplished together in the past years.

As the holiday season draws near, I extend heartfelt greetings on behalf of my dedicated team in the Provost Office. I hope this upcoming celebration envelops each of you in the warm embrace of your unique cultures, cherished beliefs, and rich histories, surrounded by the presence of your loved ones. I eagerly anticipate sharing meaningful moments with my close family, reveling in profound gratitude for our togetherness, abundance, and the peace that graces our lives. In a world marred by conflicts and the heartbreaking loss of innocent lives, let this season become a sanctuary for reflection on our core values. As practitioners of depth psychology, educators, and catalysts for positive change, may we ponder how our collective efforts can contribute to a more compassionate, understanding, and harmonious world. May this holiday season be a celebration and a transformative opportunity to deepen our connection to ourselves and others, fostering authenticity and warmth in our shared journey toward a brighter future.

Kindest regards,

Loraine Devos-Comby, Ph.D.
Interim Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs
Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness & Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)

Important Updates from the Office of the Provost – July 12, 2023

Dear Pacifica Community,

As we enter the summer months and prepare for the new academic year, we feel inspired to reflect on the past five months since I entered the role of Interim Provost and the accomplishments of our shared work together, namely with faculty, staff, and the support from the Office of the President. We have a deep appreciation for everyone’s work and contributions as well as tremendous gratitude for the dedication of faculty and staff at Pacifica, and for learners’ commitment to their educational journey.  Here are some highlights of what we accomplished together.

Connecting, Listening, and Celebrating Together

During my listening tour, I met with learners of all cohorts and programs in residential sessions and in an online Meet & Greet. This also allowed me to meet with instructors whom I hadn’t met already during the concurrent all-faculty Meet & Greet. It was a joy to connect with colleagues and learners and I carry what I learned from those rich interactions into my daily work. I had the privilege to participate in several programs’ celebrations and rituals, which further reinforced my sense of belonging and my ties to the community of learners, faculty, and staff. During Thesis Day, I met MA Counseling graduates, and their families and friends as they shared their scholarly work with joy and a new sense of accomplishment.

Listening to Learn With and From You

In keeping with our goal of developing a feedback culture, we instituted two feedback forms, one for employees, and one for learners. We also launched a new Student Survey in partnership with Student Services, and an Employee Survey in partnership with Human Resources; all results are currently being reviewed thoroughly to gain a deep understanding of the successes, pain points, and possibilities, and guide improvements for the next academic year.

Elevating Learner Experience & Outcomes

To better serve our learners we supported the reorganization of the Dissertation Office, now fully managed by Meadow Rhodes with support from Jude Ryan, who are working on greater data access for programs and new resources for learners in the dissertation phase. By the fall, the dissertation office will offer a 12-week Dissertation Success Curriculum program that will use a cohort model and allow dissertation students at any stage of the dissertation writing to join a cohort of other Pacifica students. We are currently offering funds for students with financial needs who presented or will present at conferences in AY 2022-23. This is the first initiative of its kind at Pacifica and we are proud to support learners in this way. Moreover, new this year, we invited learners in the Clinical and CLIE programs to attend job talks for faculty open positions in their departments and hiring committees reviewed their feedback for faculty hiring decisions. This being a successful experience, we will make it a best practice moving forward. Also, for the first time, learners were invited to the spring quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees to speak about their educational experience at Pacifica.

Academic Excellence 

On the academic side, Program Chairs and I reinstated the Circle of Chairs, a unique opportunity for all Chairs and the Provost to come together and share updates, discuss new matters, and reflect on our collaborations. We invited members from the Enrollment team, Dissertation Office, and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation to share about new initiatives in their respective departments. In collaboration with John Ziegler we created the new Office of the Provost website, where we feature our program Chairs, and showcase the scholarly accomplishments of faculty and learners, and share resources.

Faculty Updates

We hired six Core Faculty members and one Associate Core Faculty member for the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year, three of which are new to Pacifica for CLIE, Clinical, and Mythological Studies, and four who have been serving Pacifica as Associate Core or in an adjunct position. We feel honored to welcome these scholars in their new roles. With faculty in the driver’s seat, we are developing new online program offerings and submitted proposals to our accreditation agency, the WASC Senior College and University Commission. We are pleased to announce that starting the next academic year, we will increase the faculty research stipend. We are also planning to update the faculty travel policy to cover the residential travel expenses of core faculty who live out of the area.

Promoting Continuous Improvement 

Moreover, we are actively working to improve the work conditions of our faculty. In collaboration with faculty, HR, leadership, and Stevens Strategy, we completed a Faculty Compensation & Workload Study. We invited Stevens Strategy to facilitate a Shared Governance Retreat for faculty and leadership and we are launching a Shared Governance Task Force in which faculty and leadership representatives will review and develop new shared governance structures for the Institute. The plan is also to review the organization of the Office of the Provost, and update the Faculty Handbook in partnership with Stevens Strategy. In collaboration with faculty, IT, and the Registrar’s Office, we kicked off an initiative to automate grading, rubrics, and attendance recording processes to facilitate the administrative tasks completed by faculty and staff.

Faculty Development Platform

We are pleased to share new resources available to the entire Pacifica community: We obtained an institutional membership with the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, and we now are offering all faculty (including adjuncts), staff, learners, and alums free access (using their Pacifica email addresses) to training resources in academic writing, diversity and inclusion, best practices in classroom management, and many other topics critical to professional development.

As I continue on this journey with all of you, I am excited about the work ahead and the rich collaborations that have been paving the way for these impactful initiatives. We will continue to update the Pacifica Communities in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we wish everyone a wonderful and peaceful summer.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Loraine Devos-Comby, Ph.D.
Interim Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs
Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness & Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)

You are Invited: Coverdell Program Mixer on 5/31

Please join us for a mixer with Dr. Matthew Bennett who will be returning to his role as faculty liaison for the Peace Corps Coverdell program, in addition to his Co-Chairship of the Counseling Psychology Department and role as a core faculty member.

This virtual mixer is for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and will be held on Wednesday 5/31 from 6:00PM – 7:00PM PST. You can join using this link:

Dr. Matthew Bennett will be returning to his role as faculty liaison for the Peace Corps Coverdell program for the next academic year. Dr. Bennett is a 14-year core faculty member at Pacifica and Co-Chair of the Department of Counseling Psychology. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), having served in the Poland III training group from 1991 to 1994. As faculty liaison, Dr. Bennett will be joining Pacifica students who are RPCVs at upcoming mixers and other organized events at the institute level. Dr. Bennett also looks forward to hearing from Pacifica students who have a service history with the Peace Corps, in order to share experiences and provide support. Students who are RPCVs from any of Pacifica’s academic programs are welcome to contact Dr. Bennett for conversation and story-swapping at

The next mixer will be held on 9/20 at 6:00 PM PST. Please stay tuned for details in the coming months.

Drs. Matthew Bennett and Loraine Devos-Comby, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Eye on Pacifica – Featuring Pacifica’s Interim Provost, Dr. Loraine Devos-Comby (February 27, 2023)

Commitment and Vision of Pacifica’s Interim Provost, Dr. Devos-Comby (February 26, 2023)