Community in the PCC PhD and MA Programs
The PCC programs make every effort to cultivate a diverse, widespread, and supportive learning community in which personal and academic growth are valued and embraced.
The programs offer a wide array of extracurricular events that contribute significantly to the richness of our learning environment. These have taken several forms, and include the following:
THE PCC ANNUAL RETREAT
Every Fall, students, faculty, and alumni spend a week deeply immersed in community at the annual retreat, traditionally held at Esalen Institute. Retreat activities are cocreated by students and faculty, and include presentations, experiential workshops, excursions in nature, and a closing-night dance celebration.
Held at least once a semester, community meetings provide an opportunity to reflect upon where we are, both personally and academically, as individuals and as a collective. While the format for community meetings continues to evolve, the meetings help to foster a greater sense of purpose, meaning, and energy for individual and collective action.
The PCC Forum is an interdisciplinary student group that encourages contributions from across all programs at CIIS, but with priority to PCC students. Doctoral students are invited to share their research with their peers on Friday evenings throughout the semester. A typical Forum runs for two hours, with approximately one hour for the presenter and one hour for discussion. On occasion, faculty and other guest speakers are invited to lecture. The Forum is usually video taped and made available online at www.pccforum.wordpress.com. Contact Matt Segall (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Becca Tarnas (email@example.com) for more information.
PCC has organized or sponsored a variety of conferences over the years, from "Meeting the Millennium" and "Evolution and Complexity" to "Planetwork," "The Cosmological Imagination," and "Wisdom and Action."
Student participation at these conferences—whether as presenters, organizers, or attendees-has been an invaluable element of the PCC learning environment. The most recent conference was the student organized "Cosmology of Love," with presenters that included students, CIIS faculty, and national figures.
SEMESTER OPENING PARTY
Each semester begins with a party for students, faculty, and alumni.
In recognition of the importance of creative expression, PCC Unplugged gives students, faculty, and alumni the opportunity to share song, performance, poetry, spoken word, and more.
In 2003, PCC students formed 6X, a group designed to address the current mass-extinction crisis. 6X evolved into Species Alliance, a nonprofit organization and documentary film project (see www.speciesalliance.org for more information).
An important element in the framing of students' experience of our program is the graduation ritual, where graduates are given a PCC "Philosopher's Stone" by their advisor/mentor, and where graduates are given space to share something to mark the successful completion of their journey.