Vernice Solimar—the playfully erudite, salsa dancing social activist and integral academic—is chair of the Integral Studies Department at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California. Overseeing the The 3 MA programs offered in the department (Consciousness Studies, Holistic Health Education and Integral Psychology), she has been among the first to incorporate the AQAL model into an accredited university's course curriculum.
Vernice grew up in Spanish Harlem in New York City. At only eighteen years old, she entered the religious community of the Sisters of Charity, and commenced a self-initiated exploration into the works of Saint John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Meister Eckhart and others, making the Christian mystics her spiritual companions and exemplars.
While working toward a philosophy minor in college, Vernice was especially drawn to Existentialism. At age twenty-two, she left the convent and began a life-long inquiry into the nature of self and reality. An avid reader, in 1982 she became a student of Integral Philosophy and the works of Ken Wilber and Sri Aurobindo. Little did she know that twenty years later, she would attend one of the first founding meetings for Integral Institute in Boulder, Colorado.
Vernice's passionate inquiry into human development and the nature of consciousness, and her pursuit of an in-depth application of the integral vision to personal and social transformation has taken her around the world to study cross-cultural spiritual practices and global diversity. With no shortage of adventures under her belt, she has traveled as far as the Ecaudorian rainforest and the mountains of Peru to live with several indigenous communities and healers in order to more fully investigate and refine her understanding of the relationship between body and spirit.
Vernice has a profound interest and commitment to integral approaches to social justice and cultural diversity, and is a volunteer inter-faith chaplain for hospice care at Kaiser Medical Center. She has practiced Tai Chi Chuan and meditative/contemplative disciplines for many years, and has lent her talents as an instructor to the California Institute of Integral Studies as well as the Graduate Theological Union in Berkely.
Presently, she teaches courses in World Religions, Integral Psychology, Paradigms of Consciousness, Eastern Meditative Practices, Integral Yoga and other courses at John F. Kennedy University. Fluent in her native Spanish, Vernice is a salsa enthusiast and makes this celebration of Latin culture an ongoing aspect of her Integral Transformative Practice.