“For many reasons I wanted to share this with you all; first among those reasons is our soul connection . I am who I am today having absorbed nectar for my souls journey from each of you. Thank you for sharing these years with me” ~ Patricia Taylor
Alumni Spotlight: Patricia Taylor, PhD (Depth, 2007)
by Dr. John Bartelt, Professor of Education at the University of La Verne.
Who is Patricia Taylor?
“Patricia Taylor is, at heart, a teacher. Dr. Taylor worked at the Los Angeles County Office of Education for twenty-one years: first as an aide, then a teacher, then as program specialist, and finally, as the youngest principal ever, on a campus for children with emotional challenges. That experience shaped and honed her overwhelming passion for teaching.”
Tell us about your work:
“Dr. Taylor is, by training and discipline, a depth psychologist who explores the deep roots of intense and interesting psychological energy. Her knowledge of depth psychology informs her work in the classroom, as does her sense of wonder, and what may be her best quality: her quest to find the genius in each person.”
How/Why did you get into this line of work?
“When Dr. Taylor transitioned to working in Higher Education, she chose the University of La Verne because she liked the size of the Special Education program, its autonomy, and its emphasis on teaching. She has served as Chair of Special Education at the University La Verne for 30 years. She also witnessed, and helped facilitate, the national inclusion movement. Some of you may remember that in decades passed, the special education children almost never interacted directly with the general student population. What a shame that was, because inclusion teaches empathy, and thus maybe even helps the general population of students the most – something for us to always keep in mind, because it remains a fact even in higher education that inclusion teaches empathy.”
What is the most recent development in your work?
“The Center for Neurodiversity, Learning, and Wellness is Dr. Taylor’s most recent place of wonder, because she LOVES guiding new teachers toward learning. Dr. Taylor feels it is critical to help teachers find their unique gifts by believing in themselves and their effectiveness.
Has there been a defining inspiration or idea that made you decide to take the direction that you did?
“Dr. Taylor’s mentor and patron saint is Alfred Whitehead, who once said something to the effect that the whole point of a university (educationally speaking) is to bring the young under the influence of a band of imaginative scholars, to evoke into life the wisdom and beauty which, apart from the scholar’s magic, would otherwise remain lost in the past. Whitehead would have loved how Dr. Taylor took his philosophy to heart in her work.”
How has your Pacifica degree served you professionally in your occupation or your vocation?
“Whether teaching about the origin stories of words, positive behavior support, or delivering culturally responsive instruction, Dr. Taylor’s guiding principle is to honor the essence and genius of each individual. Her studies in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute allowed her to co-author a book, Seeing in the Dark: Wisdom Works by Black Women in Depth Psychology (2017); the book is a testimony to the importance of honoring the uniqueness of perspective that can contribute to a meaningful whole. Dr. Taylor seeks to honor the unique perspectives of neuro-diverse learners, their teachers, families, and the communities in which they live.”
How has your degree helped you to tend the soul of the world?
“Here at the University of La Verne, Dr. Taylor has brought her service to the campus ministry, professional development, ADA advisory groups, college leadership teams, graduate appeals, senate, assembly chair, black student’s scholarship advisory board, faculty rep to the board – it goes on forever. Plus, in our extended community, Dr. Taylor has served on church boards, private school boards, the Joan Macy school board, the Pasadena Humane Society, spoken at conferences, graduations, baccalaureates, and more.”
“I have long thought that there is a discernible, if not literal, heartbeat that emanates from the center of the huge rock in front of Founder’s Hall at the University of La Verne. The next time you’re there, in a quiet moment, please take a breath and see if you can hear it in your mind’s ear. You may recognize it as the heartbeat of an institution that is worthy of the life of its students. And if you listen closely enough, you’ll realize that it’s also in perfect synchronization with the heartbeat of this most amazing woman, Dr. Patricia Taylor.”