The theme that best captures the philosophy and content of my courses is something Albert Einstein once said: “The world we have made as a result of the level of the thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level at which we have created them…We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humankind is to survive.” This new manner of thinking is propelling a revolution in the mind sciences through the study of consciousness. Consciousness Studies is a multidisciplinary field of inquiry in which big questions and bigger mysteries cannot be avoided. In my courses we consider issues that are relevant to many areas of study, including psychology, biology, neuroscience, physics, and environmental science: What is the mind? How do dreams foster creativity, invention, and expanded awareness? Does consciousness survive physical death? Do animals and plants have consciousness? How does meditation affect brain functioning and psychological growth? Through lecture, discussion, and contemplative practices, I hope to encourage students to become more reflective, compassionate, and self-aware, to make intellectual and personal connections with the material we study, and to achieve a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.
Recent Courses Taught
Since coming to UW Bothell in 2009, I have created and taught a number of courses that immerse students in the field of Consciousness Studies. These include: The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (BST 321); Explorations in Consciousness Studies (BST 322); Psychology and Science of Dreams (BST 323); Consciousness, Ethics, and the Natural World (BST 493); and Consciousness and Well-Being (BST 493). Throughout my career I have supervised numerous undergraduate students’ senior theses and I have mentored undergraduate students who received Mary Gates Undergraduate Research awards, Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships, and Dean’s Medals at all undergraduate levels. I have also supervised graduate students at the master’s and doctoral levels in psychology, nursing, women studies, education, and music.
I am an active scholar and have authored books about the theory and practice of spiritual intelligence (Riding the Windhorse: Spiritual Intelligence and the Growth of the Self), and the psychological development of gifted women (The Sound of a Silver Horn: Reclaiming the Heroism in Contemporary Women’s Lives). I also have co-edited a book about women’s talent development (Remarkable Women: Perspectives in Female Talent Development) and published numerous research articles about psychological development and spirituality, early university entrance, and the psychological and social challenges confronting highly intelligent adolescents and adults. Most recently I have been investigating the conditions under which people’s beliefs about consciousness and reality change and evolve (Fostering Spiritual Intelligence: Undergraduates’ Growth in a Course About Consciousness, Advanced Development, 12, 2010, pp. 26-49). As a professor I’ve always encouraged undergraduate and graduate students to participate in my research projects, and many have served as co-authors on the resulting publications.
From 2000-2008 I was the Director of the Robinson Center for Young Scholars and Professor of Women Studies at the University of Washington-Seattle. I served as the Assistant Director and Psychologist for the Early Entrance Program at UWS from 1989-2000, and maintained a private psychological practice in Seattle from 1986-2000. I have lectured and consulted with universities, school districts, and organizations throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia about the psychological, social, emotional, and educational needs of intellectually talented children and adults.