Announcing Pacifica’s New Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs: Dr. Colin Marlaire

Dear Pacifica Community,

I hope you are staying cool during the hot and sticky summer heatwave many have been experiencing. Attending, presenting, and connecting with many Pacifica faculty, students, and alums during the recent JSSS (Jungian Society for Scholarly Studies) conference was a pleasure. I look forward to sharing a recap of our experience and the exciting next steps with you soon.

Today, I am writing to share some exciting news! First, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our Provost search committee members for their diligent work in identifying four exceptional, final candidates and the many people who met with them or attended their presentations during the on-campus visit. We were fortunate to have received extensive feedback on the candidates that aided this process and decision. After careful consideration and with thoughtful input from the campus forum surveys, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Colin Marlaire has been invited to join our executive leadership team as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, a position he has accepted. Dr. Marlaire’s official start date will be July 29. and we are excited to welcome him on campus during the employee barbecue on July 31. More about his start and transition to our community will be shared soon.

Dr. Marlaire is enthusiastic about joining Pacifica Graduate Institute and brings a wealth of experience from his most recent position as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design. With a distinguished career spanning 19 years in higher education, Dr. Marlaire has a proven track record of developing and implementing innovative strategies to enhance student experiences, educational delivery, faculty well-being and development, curriculum design, and educational technology.

Dr. Marlaire earned his Ph.D. in English Literature from Marquette University and completed his M.A. and B.A. in English. His career journey began at National University, where he spent a decade as a professor leading the English program before transitioning into roles focused on curriculum improvement and online program development. He subsequently held senior leadership positions as Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Technology and Learning Officer at Northcentral University, where he was instrumental in developing 39 new programs and significantly growing the institution’s student body from 8,000 to 13,000 students. His work at Northcentral University was pivotal in establishing the institution as a leading Marriage and Family Therapy education provider.

At Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, Dr. Marlaire has driven initiatives that led to the highest year-over-year retention improvements in the institution’s history. His leadership approach is deeply collaborative, fostering a culture of transparency, shared governance, and continuous improvement. Dr. Marlaire is committed to sustaining and enhancing a positive organizational and institutional culture, enriching the experiences of faculty, staff, and students, and helping students achieve greater success.

Among his highest accomplishments, Dr. Marlaire led a successful multi-year initiative at National University to expand online education, significantly resulting in a tenfold increase in online enrollment. He also spearheaded strategic initiatives at Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design that resulted in a 6% improvement in year-over-year retention. He also implemented a full-time promotion process that had been unattainable for decades.

Dr. Marlaire’s philosophy aligns closely with Pacifica’s motto of “tending soul in and of the world.” Although his academic background is in English Literature, he has an appreciation for depth psychology, having taken courses in Jungian and Freudian psychology and the works of Joseph Campbell. He views understanding the unconscious and conscious aspects of the self as essential to nurturing the whole person. “To understand the whole person, both the unconscious and conscious must exist,” says Dr. Marlaire. “Helping people get better and doing so with more love and care resonates with me.”

The Provost position is the Chief Academic Officer of the Institute. It is responsible for delivering the academic mission and aligning academic and administrative resources that ensure the Institute provides students with the highest quality educational experience. In fulfilling these responsibilities, the Provost oversees the Institute’s academic programs and, working closely with chairs and faculty, supervises changes in curriculum, policies, and academic standards for existing and new degree programs. The Provost also oversees faculty recruitment, development, retention, evaluation, wellness, recognition, and reward, thus safeguarding the Institute’s scholarly community. The Provost is instrumental in faculty resource allocation, aligning budgets with academic priorities, and assisting the President/CEO and other institutional leaders in implementing the strategic plan. This position sits on the Institute’s Executive Leadership Team and reports directly to the President/CEO.

Dr. Marlaire believes in the power of education to transform lives and communities. “I am driven by a commitment to others—it is why I have chosen academic leadership as my profession. It is important that my work matters and impacts those I serve,” he shares. “I believe that providing students with a college degree, one that helps them better their lives and the lives of others truly matters.”

We are excited about the experience and relational approach Dr. Marlaire brings to this position, specifically to this point in Pacifica’s history as we near our 50th anniversary. In our work to shore up matters of academic and faculty infrastructure and prepare for the exciting evolution of the Institute outlined in our strategic plan, we believe Dr. Marlaire is the right person to help guide our academic focus and innovation with collaborative care. Dr. Marlaire demonstrates a scholarly mindset, psychological consciousness, and an ability to bring a professional and supportive attitude and systems to soulfully uplift the high level of scholarship our faculty and students deliver.

As we welcome Dr. Marlaire, I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Dr. Loraine Devos-Comby for stepping up to serve as the Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs while still managing her responsibilities as VP of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation Liaison Officer for over 16 months. Her outstanding leadership and dedication to tending to our students, faculty, staff, and the community is commendable. Please take the time to acknowledge her invaluable contributions and stay tuned for more information on a special gathering to celebrate her service.

In the coming weeks, more will be shared about Dr. Marlaire’s start at Pacifica and how we can each support his transition to our community. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Marlaire.

In gratitude,

Dr. Leonie H. Mattison. Ed.D, MBA

President & CEO of Pacifica Graduate Institute

At the helm of Pacifica Graduate Institute, Dr. Leonie H. Mattison (Dr. Lee) serves as President and CEO, guiding an institution defined by transformative education, research innovation, and culturally responsive care for the soul in the world—a mission she has upheld throughout her distinguished career. With leadership experience spanning higher education, non-profit, government, and the private sector, Dr. Lee has innovated organizational and talent development structures, overhauled learning institutions to enhance student access and employee engagement, and spearheaded national public health research and initiatives to improve health outcomes.

Inspired by depth psychological and spiritual approach to trauma recovery, she ingeniously fashioned the T.H.R.E.A.D. healing toolkit following a near-death stroke. The toolkit with its six step T.H.R.E.A.D framework—Think outcomes, Harvest lessons, Release pain, Enlist allies, Adopt a new mindset, Dream of a new self—serves as a transformative guide for self-discovery, healing, and personal growth. Infused with the essence of soulful well-being, it empowers individuals not only to recover but to thrive in life’s journey.

Dr. Mattison is an author, mother, and the first Black woman to lead an institution dedicated to depth psychological and psychodynamic domains. Her bold vision for Pacifica is to make depth psychology universally accessible. She consistently demonstrates her commitment to access, equity, and support for survivors to heal from trauma, invoking joy, faith, and resilience to fulfill her calling. An advocate for student success, women in leadership, and diversity in higher education, Dr. Lee embodies a commitment to caring for the world’s soul one individual at a time.