Humanities & Philosophy Faculty


Amir Sabzevary B.A, M.A., M.A., Ph.D., Chair


If you wish to be trained in the way of Loving the Rose, you must first be trained in the way of respecting and honoring its thorns. And if you aren’t able to endure the pangs of the thorns you are neither worhty of Love nor the Rose— Persian saying


<p— Ibn Atta


Carolyn Collom, B.A., M.A.


I am absolutely passionate about the art of learning – both as a student and as a teacher.  I am especially interested in exploring the perplexing questions that have plagued humankind since the dawn of time:  Who am I?  What is the meaning of my life?  What is the meaning of life itself?

I worked for many years as a paralegal and then along came the proverbial mid-life crisis.  I quit my job and enrolled in my first college classes.  This was the beginning of my incurable addiction to learning!  And now. . . I have work that I absolutely love.


Cassie Lipowitz B.A, M.A., Ph.D. (ABD)


I am is a doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union in the Area of Cultural and Historical Studies of Religions. My primary research interests lie in the field of Islamic mysticism, with a specific focus on the Masnavi, a text composed by the 13th century Sufi poet Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi. Currently, I am teaching Religious Studies courses at Notre Dame de Namur University and the Graduate Theological Union, as well as Humanities courses at College of Alameda and Laney College.


Barbara Widhalm BA, MCRP, PhD


Originally from Vienna, Austria, my life journey has taken many turns and I have come to appreciate each bolder or unexpected turn as a lesson and hidden blessing. I love guiding learners in embracing their life journeys and discovering their life purpose and intrinsic value as a whole person and gift to the world. Academically, I have a Ph.D. in Transformative Learning and Change and a Masters in Community and Regional Planning, and undergraduate degrees in environmental studies, theology, and languages (German, English, Russian). I am the proud mom of a 17 year old daughter who continues to be my greatest teacher. Nature offers deep inspiration and sustenance for me and guides my approach to learning and teaching.