Community in the PCC PhD and MA Programs
The Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness PhD and MA Programs at CIIS cultivate a diverse and supportive learning community, where personal and academic growth are valued and embraced.
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, including the following:
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.
The PCC Forum is a lecture and event series that features CIIS professors as well as visiting scholars, filmmakers, performers, and others. The Forum also encourages contributions from PhD students. A typical Forum runs for two hours, with approximately one hour for the presenter and one hour for discussion. Our core principles include:
Guidelines for Forum Proposals:
Each semester begins with a party for students, faculty, and alumni.
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. Since 2008, the student organized "Cosmology of Love" conference has featured presenters that included students, CIIS faculty, and national figures.
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 a group designed to address the current mass-extinction crisis. The group evolved into Species Alliance, a nonprofit organization and documentary film project. For more information visit www.speciesalliance.org.
The Gaiafield Project arose through the collaboration between two PCC students--David Nicol and Leslie Meehan--and faculty member Sean Kelly around the idea and practice of what they came to call "subtle activism." For more information visit Gaiafield.net.
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.