Sofia University (California)
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|California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology; Institute of Transpersonal Psychology|
|Motto||Transformative Transpersonal Education Since 1975|
|President||Dr. Barry Ryan|
|Provost||Dr. John Lemmon|
Sofia University is a private for-profit university in Palo Alto, California. It was originally founded as the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology by Robert Frager and James Fadiman in 1975.
California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (1975–1986)
The institution was originally known as the California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, one of several transpersonally-oriented institutions formed in the 1970s. The founders, Robert Frager and James Fadiman, wanted to offer the perspectives of east/west psychology alongside personal, therapeutic and spiritual disciplines, all within a community context.
In 1980 Jungian analyst June Singer joined the core faculty at the Institute, where she took the position as director of the clinical training program. By the mid-eighties the school was located in Menlo Park and offered a Masters degree, as well as a Doctorate, both in Transpersonal psychology.
Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (1986–2012)
In 1986 the there was a minor change of name, proposed by Core Faculty member and Director of Doctoral Research, Jill Mellick. The Faculty voted to make this change, and the institution emerged as the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology.
By 1989 the Institute had grown to offer a range of residential masters and doctoral programs, as well as external masters and certificate programs. It also oversaw the activities of a Transpersonal Counseling Center, and hosted the Spiritual Emergence Network.
In 1990 the Faculty ratified Jill Mellick's proposal for the addition of a sixth area to the curriculum: creative expression. Doctoral and Masters level studies, in the use of the arts for psycho-spiritual development, were established under Dr. Mellick's Directorship. Later, as a founding member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, Dr. Mellick redesigned the program to align with all requirements for REAT (Registered Expressive Arts Therapist).
In 1992 the Institute was granted candidacy by WASC. Also, that same year, William G. Braud and Rosemary Anderson joined the core faculty at the institution. Braud later served as research director at the institute, as well as co-director of the institute's William James Center for Consciousness Studies.
In 2002 it was reported that 410 students were enrolled in the fall semester at the institute. This included students enrolled in the institute's online program. At this time the institute offered programs in psychology and counseling. The emphasis being on both traditional and non-traditional psychological and spiritual models of instruction. Other certificate programs were also gradually established, such as the certificate in Spiritual Direction. WASC accreditation was reaffirmed in 2007 and in 2011 Neal King was appointed as President of the institute.
Other academic profiles that were connected to the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology includes Kari Hennigan, who conducted studies in ecopsychology, Fred Luskin, who was professor of clinical psychology, and mythopoeic scholar and Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate.
Sofia University (2012–present)
In 2012 there was a new change of name, and also a change of academic profile. The Board of Trustees decided that the new official name of the institution was to be Sofia University. The re-branding came with a transition from institute to university, and the institution now offered both undergraduate and graduate programs. Academic programs became structured according to three main orientations: the Graduate School of Transpersonal Studies, the Graduate School of Clinical & Spiritual Psychology and the School of Undergraduate Studies. In the mainstream press the institution was, by this time, associated with the concept of spiritual psychology.Note a
In 2013 the school had 526 full-time-equivalent students. Liz Li was appointed president in 2014, and became the first female president of the institution. Her successor was Barry Ryan.
The school has broadened to include studies in computer science, including artificial intelligence, human computer interaction, big data and software design; applying transpersonal principles to real-world disciplines.
- a.^ New York Times' correction as of August 17, 2012, states that the original article (Otterman, 2012), in some editions, misidentified Sofia University/Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto (California) with the Institute for Transpersonal Studies in Santa Cruz (California).
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- Press release: "Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Becomes Sofia University. New Name Brings Broader Mission, Expanded Campus and New Programs". Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB), published online July 16, 2012.
- Kenrick, Chris. Questions follow surprise resignation of Sofia University head. Palo Alto Online, uploaded December 18, 2013
- Kadvany, Elena. With new president and programs, Sofia University enters new era. Palo Alto Online/Palo Alto Weekly. Uploaded: Sat, April 25, 2015
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- Institute of Transpersonal Psychology Becomes Sofia University. Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) July 16, 2012
- Otterman, Sharon. "Merging Spirituality and Clinical Psychology at Columbia". New York Times, August 9, 2012
- "Accreditation – Sofia University". Sofia.edu. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
- Sofia University Press Release. Dr. Peter Bemski Appointed as New President. Sofia University Enters New Stage of Development. www.sofia.edu 2. jan. 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
- "Sofia University » One University – 4 Schools of Learning". Sofia.edu. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
- New York Times staff. Corrections. New York Times, Published online August 17, 2012.