Naropa University Announces New Faculty Hires

September 7, 2016 (Boulder, CO): Naropa University today announced that it has hired four new faculty members. The new faculty—each of whom are Core Faculty candidates—demonstrates Naropa’s continuing commitment to recruit and retain distinguished faculty who will play significant roles in enhancing the student experience. Biographies for the new faculty are listed below.

“Naropa has been named a College of Distinction for several years in a row now through its commitment to the student experience, and our faculty are a critical element of that experience,” said Dr. Janet Cramer, Provost of Naropa University. “Naropa's mission calls for us to educate the whole person, and we do this by cultivating academic excellence and contemplative insight. I am pleased to welcome these new faculty members to Naropa University."

New 2016 Core Faculty Candidates

Travis Cox, PhD

Dr. Cox’s interests and research are about the intersections of social movements and social justice, education, metaphysics, environmental philosophy, agriculture, and deep sustainability.  For the past seven years, he has taught environmental humanities in the BA and MA programs in Sustainable Living at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, and was co-director of the BA for two years.  He earned his PhD at Iowa State University in Sustainable Agriculture, a Master’s in Philosophy and Religion, with an emphasis in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Central College in Pella, Iowa.  He is teaching in the Ecopsychology Low-residency MA program.

Michal (Miki) Fire, Psy.D

Dr. Fire received her Doctor of Psychology degree from the California Institute of Integral Studies and BA from McGill University. Fire brings over 10 years of experience as a professional wilderness guide, instructor for therapeutic wilderness programs, and educator in the Himalayas and United States. Dr. Fire maintains a private practice as a Clinical Psychologist as well as consults to outdoor/experiential organizations on mental health issues. She is teaching in the Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy programs.

Stephen Polk, MA

Professor Polk is a 14-year social and ecological activist based in the Denver Metro area. He received his MA from the University of Colorado Denver in Political Science. His master’s thesis analyzed the political and practical dimensions of permaculture within Denver's collective community, the community in which he has called home for the last 12 years. He has worked primarily on a community level addressing issues ranging from anti-oppression and affordable housing, to the construction of regenerative systems in communal settings. He is teaching in the Environmental Studies program.

Jordan Quaglia, PhD

Dr. Quaglia received an MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at Naropa University, and holds a doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. During his doctoral training, he was awarded the Mind and Life Institute’s Francisco J. Varela Award for his dissertation on mindful emotion regulation in social contexts. Dr. Quaglia uses diverse methods ranging from neuroscience to smartphone-based surveys to study meditative cognition, emotion regulation, and social functioning. At Naropa, he directs the Cognitive and Affective Science Lab and teaches in the undergraduate Contemplative Psychology program.

In addition to the above-listed Core Faculty candidates, Naropa has also hired Dr. Jeffrey Pethybridge and Leah Friedman. Their bios are below:

Leah Friedman, MA ATR

Leah Friedman is a board-certified art therapist, educator, facilitator and specialist in therapeutic relationships and group dynamics. Her background blends professional counseling, creative problem solving and education. Trained in mindfulness, visual literacy, and psychology, she supports students to cultivate exceptional therapeutic skills.

Leah deeply values seeing adult individuals and couples transform and heal in her private practice. She believes maintaining both teaching and active therapeutic work furthers the opportunity to explore how theory translates into practice. She is an instructor in the BA Art Therapy and MA Transpersonal Art Therapy programs.

Jeffrey Pethybridge, PhD

Dr. Pethybridge grew up in Virginia, and studied literature and creative writing at Old Dominion University (BA), Boston University (MA), and the University of Missouri (PhD). He is the author of Striven, The Bright Treatise (Noemi Press 2013), which was listed as one of the 10 best debut collections by Poets & Writers Magazine. His work appears widely in journals such as Best American Experimental Writing, Chicago Review, Volt, The Iowa Review, LIT, New American Writing and others. He is the Managing Director of Naropa’s esteemed Summer Writing Program, and teaches in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

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