Carolyn Jacobs, M.S.W., Ph.D.

Dean Emerita and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor Emerita

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For 34 years, Dr. Jacobs has been a vital member of the SSW faculty. For 14 of those years, she served as the dean and Elizabeth Marting Treuhaft Professor. She is the director of the Contemplative Clinical Practice Advanced Certificate Program and a member of the Ph.D. program faculty.

Dr. Jacobs teaches primarily within the research and practice sequences. Her areas of professional interest include religion and spirituality in social work clinical practice and organizational behavior. She has written and presented extensively on the topic of spirituality in social work. In 2001 she was elected to the National Academies of Practice as a distinguished social work practitioner.

Jacobs received her B.A. from Sacramento State University, her M.S.W. 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.


Ph.D., The Heller School, Brandeis University

M.S.W., San Diego State University

B.A., Sacramento State University

Professional Interests

  • Religion and spirituality in social work practice
  • Social work research and statistics

Area of Current Research

  • Spirituality and social work clinical practice

Professional Leadership

2012-present: Board of Directors, Mind & Life Institute, Hadley, Massachusetts

2011-present: Board of Trustees, Naropa University. Boulder, Colorado

2010-present: Contemplative Mind in Society, Board of Directors

2009-present: Board of Trustees, Elms College. Chicopee, Massachusetts

2007–present: Advisery Committee, Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education

2005–present: Board of Directors, The Lathrop Community, Inc.

Selected Recent Publications

Jacobs, C. (2010). Exploring religion and spirituality in clinical practice. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 80(2-3). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Jacobs, C. (Ed.) (2010). Smith College Studies in Social Work, 80(2-3). New York: Taylor & Francis.

Jacobs, C. (2007). "Race, ethnicity, and class: A conversation with Hilda Ryumon Gutiérrez Baldoquín, Sharon Suh, and Arinna Weisman, moderated by Carolyn Jacobs" in (Eds.) Gregory, P. N. and Mrozik, S., Women practicing Buddhism: American experiences. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications.

Jacobs, C. (2007). Spiritual Development. In Lesser, J. G. & Pope, D. S. (Eds.),Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Chapter 8 188-203. VT: Allyn and Bacon.

Jacobs, C. (2006). Transformation and Kaleidoscope Memories. Smith College Studies in Social Work, 76 (4).

Jacobs, C. (2004). Spirituality and end-of-life care practice for social workers. In Berzoff, J. & Silverman, P.R. (Eds.). Living with dying: a textbook on end-of-life care for social work. NY: Columbia University Press.

Jacobs, C. (February, 2004). Spiritually-centered therapy. In Dorfman, R. & Morgan, M. (Eds.), Paradigms of clinical social work: Focus on diversity (Vol. 3). NY: Taylor and Francis.

Selected Recent Presentations

November 4, 2012: The Smith College School for Social Work: Historical Background, Challenges and Opportunities; Hampshire County Smith Club Annual Charlotte Turgeon Tea; Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts

May 4, 2012: Listening to Our Lives: Contemplative Space for Faculty; Spiritual Values in Higher Education Conference; Amherst College, Amherst, Massachusetts.

April 28, 2012: Contemplative Practices in Education Leadership; Master Lecture with Kathleen McCartney and Jerry Murphy; Mind and Life Institute, Denver, Colorado.

April 27, 2012: Renewal in Higher Education: Integrating the Contemplative Dimension; Panel Discussion with Diana Chapman Walsh and Daniel Barbezat; Mind and Life Institute, Denver, Colorado.

March 30, 2012: Healing the Healer: Spirituality and the Health Care Provider; 8th Annual Healing and Spirituality Conference, Clearwater, Florida.

March 30, 2012: Embracing Vulnerability Through Contemplative Practices for the Health Care Provider; 8th Annual Healing and Spirituality Conference, Clearwater, Florida.

January 18, 2012: Embracing Vulnerability: Guidelines for a Contemplative Clinical Practice; Symposium on Contemplative Clinical Practice: Establishing Competency in Evidence-Based Practice, University of Hong Kong, China.

July 25, 2011: Healing the Healer: Spirituality and the Health Care Provider; GWish Spirituality and Health Summer Institute 2011, Washington, D.C.

May 7, 2011: Embracing vulnerability: Guidelines for a contemplative clinical practice. Meditation and Psychotherapy: Helping Our Patients, Helping Ourselves. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

April 13, 2011: Spirituality and end-of-life care. Panel member, 18th Annual Living With Grief® Program, Hospice Foundation of America, Washington, DC.

May 3-6, 2010: Thin places and professional boundaries: Exploring the intersection of spirituality and social work. Continuing education course, The Iona Community, Glasgow, Scotland.