Carolyn Jacobs, MSW, PhD is Dean Emerita and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor Emerita of the Smith College School for Social Work and Spiritual Director.  

Dr. Jacobs was a member of the School’s faculty for 35 years, serving as the dean 14 of those years, as well as director of “Contemplative Clinical Practice: An Advanced Certificate Program in Spirituality and Social Work Practice for seven years. In 2001 she was elected to the National Academies of Practice as a distinguished social work practitioner. In 2017 she was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa, College of Our Lady of the Elms. In 2017 she received the GWish Award for Excellence in Interprofessional Spiritual Care.  In 2022 she received the Contemplative Voices Award from the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Since 1978 she has been a member of the Auxiliaries of the Cenacle, a group of secular consecrated laywomen within the family of the Religious of Our Lady of the Cenacle.

Since 2018 she has been a faculty member for George Washington’s Institute for Spirituality and Health programs on Interprofessional Spiritual Care Train -the Trainer Education Curriculum and retreats on the Art of Presence for health care professions. She has written and presented extensively on the topic of compassionate self-care for health care professionals. From June 2015 to November 2015 she served as Interim President of the Mind and Life Institute.

Among many volunteer responsibilities, she has served as an external reviewer for social work programs in Hong Kong (2009-2013, 2015), on the Advisory Council for Health, Fetzer Institute (2011-2013), the Contemplative Mind in Society Board (chair 2010-2011, member until 2015) and on the board of Naropa University from 2011-2020. She is currently on the boards of Elms College (2020-) and the Mind & Life Institute (2012-).

Jacobs received her BA from Sacramento State University, her MSW from San Diego State University, her doctorate from the Heller School of Brandeis University, and her training as a spiritual director from the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. She maintains a spiritual direction practice and is committed to creating spaces for health care providers to discover the rich resources of contemplative practices from many wisdom traditions in developing resilience for self and others.



September 10, 2023

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The challenges of our church and our world are invitations to continuous discernment of how to dialogue, to forgive, and to be obedient to the urgings of the Spirit

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