UGP Faculty Karen Werner’s “Goddard moment”

I was in a master’s program in education when I felt a wave of wanting to be in spiritual practice. A gifted professor wove together Toni Morrison, Freud, the myth of Psyche and Cupid, and the professor’s own interviews with 9-13 year old girls. Voice, resonance, relationship, democracy. “The honesty of things is where they resist.” This is it. Raised Jewish, I didn’t speak Hebrew, didn’t know if I believed in God. Can I be a Rabbi? I heard that some Jews see God as the relationship between people. Arms linked. That is where I see God.

The Ven. Bikkhu Bodhi, a Theravada monk living in New York, says that truth telling is something Buddhism can offer social engagement.

What are the relationships, processes, and institutions that encourage truth-telling?

And I thought, well, since I don’t believe in God and don’t speak Hebrew, I’ll become a professor. Same thing as a Rabbi, right? I didn’t find it there easily, at least in the rest of my graduate school experience. It was only while on faculty at Goddard that I undid my head and connected to my whole being, since that is what our pedagogy is about.

Since 2005, I’ve been a member of the Community Economies Collective, a large group of international scholars documenting non-capitalist economic spaces. A tenet of their research is that humans “perform” the world through our narratives, including economic narratives, thus offering opportunities to re-make the world through new narratives. My focus has been money and banking systems, in particular. I love worker co-ops. I am a fan of auto-ethnography, testimonio, storytelling in its many forms–from cantastoria, radio art, song cycles, puppet shows, and comics to storytelling circles, podcasts, and documentaries.

I am very interested when people say, “This is what democracy looks like.” I think many of us don’t yet know what it looks like and I am drawn to models like sociocracy and consent forms of decision-making. I am devoted to democracy as a spiritual practice and to learning how to do it well.

Find out more about Goddard’s unique offerings of concentrations in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to

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