The College of Social Sciences (CSS) offers M.A. and Ph.D. hybrid, online and campus-based programs that provide students with hands-on experience and mentoring from faculty who are active and experienced in their respective disciplines. Recognized as one of the world's leading institutions for humanistic scholarship and education, the College of Social Sciences is focused on helping students develop the insight, presence, and expertise that are necessary to serve both local and global communities.
Based upon Saybrook’s mission, the College of Social Sciences relentlessly pursues a socially just, sustainable world by educating humanistic leaders who transform their fields and communities. Students and faculty, across degree programs and specializations, engage in critical dialogue, self-reflection, discovery, research, and practice in pursuit of co-creating communities based in relationship.
The College of Social Sciences (CSS) is comprised of five departments and eight specializations. Although distinct and independent, the intellectual boundaries of the departments allow various opportunities for cross-disciplinary inquiry.
Department of Counseling
Department of Humanistic Clinical Psychology
Department of Humanistic Psychology
Department of Leadership and Management
Department of Transformative Social Change
- Existential Humanistic Psychology Specialization,
- Jungian Psychology Specialization
- Advanced Assessment Specialization
- Complex Trauma and the Healing Process Specialization
- Peace and Justice Specialization
- Social Media Specialization
- Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership Specialization
- Conscious, Spirituality, and Integrative Health Specialization
Faculty in the College of Social Sciences include world-renowned scholar-practitioners, clinical practitioners, many of whom lead professional organizations in their respective disciplines, clinical private practices, direct community health centers, conduct research, publish scholarly articles, books, and journals, deliver keynote speeches and present at regional and national conventions, and attend workshops around the country and the world.
The College of Social Sciences has three categories of instructors: (a) core faculty, who are salaried and provide extensive participation in specialization coordination, student instruction, student advising, and research, and in departmental and university governance, (b) adjunct faculty, who are contracted to teach by the course and who may also serve in student’s research, special projects, and dissertations and (c) teaching fellows, who are contracted to teach specific courses. Teaching Fellows are either advanced doctoral students or recent doctoral graduates, who provide course instruction under supervision by core faculty.
Biographies and photographs of all categories of faculty are included in the Faculty Directory, along with description of their research expertise and interests.
The Faculty Directory is available at: Faculty Directory Index - Saybrook University
Department of Counseling
The Department of Counseling has two degree program options, an M.A. Counseling, specialization Clinical Mental Health Counseling, as well as a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision, both of the programs are CACREP accredited. The following section will discuss both programs.
M.A. Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling- A career-focused, clinical mental health counseling program with practicum/internship training, this program prepares students for licensing as a mental health professional and empowers students to shape and craft their professional development and practice orientation. This is a hybrid program that blends residential learning attendance (each semester of the program), with online course instruction.
Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision - This program is intended to prepare students to work as counselor educators, supervisors, and advanced practitioners in academic and clinical settings. Graduates are prepared to contribute to the knowledge base in field of counseling, through leadership and research skills. The Ph.D. program will hold to the broader mission of preparing advocates and leaders in Humanistic social transformation that is at the core of the mission of Saybrook University.
The Department of Counseling has two degree program options- the CACREP accredited MA Counseling, specialization Clinical Mental Health Counseling, as well as a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. The following section will discuss both programs.
MA Counseling: Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling- A career-focused, clinical mental health counseling program with practicum/internship training, this program prepares students for licensing as a mental health professional and empowers students to shape and craft their professional development and practice orientation. This is a hybrid program that blends residential conference attendance (each semester of the program), with online course instruction.
PhD Counselor Education and Supervision - This program is intended to prepare students to work as counselor educators, supervisors, and advanced practitioners in academic and clinical settings. Graduates are prepared to contribute to the knowledge base in field of counseling, through leadership and research skills. The PhD program will hold to the broader mission of preparing advocates and leaders in Humanistic social transformation that is at the core of the mission of Saybrook University.
Values, Mission, and Learning Outcomes
Department Mission Statement
Counseling faculty are committed to preparing competent mental health professionals who inspire transformational change in individuals, families, and communities toward a just, humane and sustainable world.
The Counseling Department has adopted a set of professional and personal qualities to be demonstrated by all students and faculty. These qualities are directly linked to the mission and core values of Saybrook University. HUMANITI is a representation of our core values. All members of the counseling community are expected to embody these qualities inside and outside courses to the greatest extent possible. The qualities include:
- Holistic: We approach what we do from a holistic and systemic perspective based on a belief in the inherent interconnectedness of all things.
- Unconditional Positive Regard: We create relationships and communities built on compassion, respect, authentic voice, deep listening, reflective awareness, support and challenge leading to responsible presence and action.
- Multiple Perspectives: We seek to honor difference because we recognize that there are many ways of knowing and there are inherent strengths in diverse perspectives.
- Academic Rigor: We are committed to rigor in our academic and clinical experiences, with the desire to best serve others.
- New Possibilities: We are creative, imaginative and courageous leaders who challenge assumptions and imagine and embody new possibilities.
- Integrity: We live and conduct our work and relationships with integrity.
- Transformation: We are scholar-practitioners who seek and apply knowledge to solve problems and foster personal, relational and social transformation.
- Inclusive: We value life and embrace our responsibility to support the potential of those we serve to thrive in a just, inclusive, healthy and sustainable world.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
The program learning outcomes were directly born out of the department core values. Upon completion of either of the two counseling programs, students can expect to have gained expertise of the following:
- Upon completing the program, students will demonstrate an ability to assess, integrate and respond to individual and relational dynamics within a systemic framework.
- Upon completing the program, students will be able to discern the elements of an effective therapeutic alliance and demonstrate the ability to co-construct and maintain a counseling relationship
- Upon completing the program, students will be able to examine and demonstrate an understanding of diverse experiences and the role of privilege, marginalization, and how aspects of power impact individual, familial, group and community experiences.
- Upon completing the program, students will have demonstrated the ability to critique and synthesize theory as they integrate this knowledge into their counseling practice.
- Upon completing the program, students will illustrate their role in advocating for individual and social change by utilizing effective communication skills across dialogues with peers, clients, supervisors and faculty.
- Upon completing the program, students will be able to apply relevant professional ethical codes to guide their work and ethical decision making.
- Upon completing the program, students will use professional literature, research and best practices to support individual, familial, group and community change.
- Upon completing the program, students will be able to describe the relationship between their “self” as a therapist, their professional identity as a counselor, and their responsibility to serve clients and the community
Department Programs and Specializations
M.A. Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization
Ph.D. Counselor Education and Supervision
Department of Humanistic Clinical Psychology (HCP)
The Departments of Humanistic Clinical Psychology and Humanistic Psychology in the College of Social Sciences together comprise the heart of the legacy of the Old Saybrook Conference held in Connecticut in 1964. Luminaries such as Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Gordon Allport, and Rollo May came together at that time to articulate the need for a psychology of the whole human being to address what was lacking in other emerging approaches psychotherapy and psychological research. They, and other innovative thinkers as James Bugental, Henry Murray, Viktor Frankl, Charlotte Bühler, and Virginia Satir, realized an approach to psychotherapy and human science that did not reduce human beings to fragments of their life experience. Under May’s original guidance and inspiration, what is now Saybrook University evolved as a distance learning institution over the past five decades, expanding on and giving birth to vibrant and creative offshoots of the original vision. Today, these two departments embody and impart through their curriculum a truly expansive view of the prosocial human being seeking meaning and wholeness in the context of multicultural, global social justice, ecological sustainability, and deeper spiritual awareness and connection. Cultural humility and respect for indigenous sources of our cherished notions about healing and living the good life are affirmed.
Clinical psychology, one of the largest specialties within the psychology field, addresses a wide range of mental, behavioral, and/or spiritual health issues using a variety of evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions and approaches. Students enrolled in Saybrook’s Clinical Psychology degree program focus on the knowledge and practical skills needed to enter professional clinical practice. Humanistic therapy incorporates the entirety of the human experience into interventions, essentially addressing the whole individual within their unique context. Culture, personal experiences, and supportive networks are just some of the considerations we train students to explore. Our curriculum helps students develop the ability to conduct ethical and effective psychotherapy, consultation, research, education, and training based on evidence-based and evidence-informed psychological scholarship.
Values, Mission, and Learning Outcomes
Department Mission Statement
Clinical Psychology cultivates innovative, multidisciplinary, socially and community engaged scholar-practitioners through rigorous education and training that values the whole person within their context, including the creative, spiritual, psychological, and sociocultural dimensions of human beings.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Evaluate and apply relevant psychological theories, scientific knowledge, and psychological assessments to their strength-based holistic conceptualization of persons within context (i.e., individual, collective, community, systems, etc.).
- Develop a therapeutic relationship that facilitates transformative change through evidence-based, practice-based, and community-defined practices, empathy, congruence, humility, and authenticity.
- Critically consume, analyze, contribute to, and disseminate psychological research in an applied, academic, and/or community-informed manner.
- Demonstrate professionalism through an evolving self-reflection of their strengths, biases, and areas for growth in humanistic practice and scholarship.
- Effectively integrate and apply the American Psychological Association (APA) ethical standards, relevant laws, regulations, and policies governing the research, teaching, and practice of clinical psychology.
- Develop advocacy and accountability for diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and anti-racism in the field of clinical psychology in a knowledgeable and self-reflective manner.
Department Programs and Specializations
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
- Advanced Assessment Specialization (open to CP students only)
- Complex Trauma and the Healing Process Specialization
- Existential Humanistic Psychology Specialization
- Jungian Studies Specialization
Department Specific Policies
Graduate Colloquium and Faculty Mentors
The Graduate Colloquium (GC) is designed as a ‘virtual classroom’ to support the student throughout their studies, with specific attention to fostering a community of learners, sharing opportunities for professional presentations and conference attendance in the field, and socializing the student to the diverse roles a clinical psychologist. As a degree requirement, students are expected to participate in a GC shell (PSY 7500A, B, C, and D) throughout matriculation.
The faculty members that monitor the GC shells are the Faculty Mentors (FM), who work closely with the Department Chair, Associate Chair, Academic Advisor and other university representatives in support of student matriculation. Students will consult with their FM in designing/monitoring the program planning guide and course registration. Faculty mentorship is an integral part of a successful doctoral program, helping to improve student self-esteem, competence, and psychosocial health, as well as improving retention, program completion, and career efficacy (Carpenter et al., 2015). The GC shell affords students opportunities to work directly with their Faculty Mentors, and with student Peer Leads, as well as the Director of Clinical Training (DCT).
In addition to transfer credits, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology degree students who completed certain graduate courses within the past five years at a regionally accredited institution with a grade of B or better are eligible to petition for course equivalency. If the prior courses are determined to be equivalent to courses required at Saybrook University, students will not have to take these courses again and will be eligible to take other courses as a replacement for those credits. The equivalency policy does not increase transfer credit; it only permits students to take different courses instead of repeating courses already completed elsewhere.
The following courses are eligible for equivalency assessment:
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Cognition and Affect in Human Behavior
- Biological Bases of Behavior
- Developmental Psychology
- Social Psychology
Students must demonstrate course equivalency with course syllabi from previous graduate institution. No other courses will be considered for equivalency review. No more than 5 courses for a total of 15 semester credits will be granted for course equivalency. The request for course equivalency must be completed during the student’s first semester at Saybrook. No review and no equivalency credits will be given under this policy after the first semester has ended.
*Students should consult with the DCT and review state licensure requirements to determine whether multiple transcripts are accepted. Non-Saybrook courses will not be listed on the transcript.
Clinical psychology (CP) students are expected to maintain an average of nine credits per semester. Consultation with the Faculty Mentor (FM) and approval from the Program Chair is required to enroll in less than nine or more than twelve credits per semester.
When clinical psychology (CP) students withdraw from a course or receive a grade of “NC” or a letter grade of “C” or below, they are expected to reenroll in that course in the following semester in which the course is offered (summer term optional). Subsequent withdrawals and/or failures may warrant remediation and/or dismissal for a lack of academic progression.
The dismissal of a student is a serious matter and, in general, denotes unresolved issues related to inadequate academic progression and/or professional impairment. Students may be dismissed for:
- Receipt of three grades of “No Credit” or letter grades of “C” or below in a single semester or same course or cumulatively,
- Failure to meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirement of 3.00 for three consecutive semesters,
- Pattern of unethical or unprofessional behavior (see Saybrook Student Code of Conduct, CP Student Handbook, APA Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, or state guidelines),
- Persistent (2+ terms) unsatisfactory performance in the clinical practicum and/or internship courses, and/or
- Significant impairment (cognitive, behavioral, emotional) that adversely impacts training and/or the welfare of clients (e.g., dismissed from training sites).
The Comprehensive Exam (PSY 4000) is an academic credit bearing course and includes a written and multiple-choice exam that affords the student the opportunity to demonstrate skills and knowledge related to clinical conceptualization, theory, research, and ethics, as well as competency in practice and cultural sensitivity. Students are eligible for enrollment upon satisfactory completion of all core degree required courses, including clinical practicum hours (PSY 8145A & B). In the course, students will be coached in building upon their collective learning experiences across curriculum, Residential Learning Experiences (RLE), professional events, and clinical practicum and internship experiences in preparation for the exam. Students will take the exam in the middle of the term and are required to pass the Comprehensive Exam to advance to candidacy. See the course description for more details.
Clinical Psychology Student Development Assessment Process (SDAP)
Policy on Student Progression within the Clinical Psychology Program
This policy addresses satisfactory student progression in the Clinical Psychology (CP) program. The CP faculty are committed to approaching student assessment and evaluation from a strengths-based perspective with the goal of promoting growth, fostering professional development, and facilitating successful progression within the program. This policy is deemed necessary to both support the professional development of students and to address any concerns that compromise the achievement of professional standards required for the practice of clinical psychology. In the humanistic tradition of Saybrook University, this policy incorporates collaboration and due process among students, faculty, and leadership administration.
This policy is guided by the specific principles and standards outlined in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2017). The American Psychological Association (APA), empirical literature, and many states regulatory bodies use the term impairment to describe graduate student behaviors that compromise a student’s ability to meet training competencies (APA, Committee on Accreditation, 2005; APA, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, 2017; Barnett & Hillard, 2001; Lamb et al., 1987; Schwartz-Mette, 2009; Wolf et al., 2014). Such impairment may cause harm, or have the potential to cause harm, to current and future clients. The concept of problems of professional competence has been suggested to replace the term impairment, as it conceptualizes the problem as separate from the personhood of the student (Forrest et al., 2008). The CP faculty have collectively decided that the term problems of competence is better aligned with Saybrook University’s humanistic tradition. Problems of competence specifically encompass concerns within the following domains: academic performance, ethical conduct, clinical readiness/performance, and/or professionalism (described in greater detail in Section III). Thus, the term problems of competence will be utilized throughout the remainder of this policy. It is the goal of the faculty and administration to proactively discuss any concerns regarding problems of competence in order to partner with students to facilitate their growth and development. The CP faculty serve as gatekeepers of the professional practice of psychology, and the CP department accepts the ethical responsibility of monitoring and managing problems of competence when the need arises (Schwartz-Mette, 2009).
Clinical Psychology Degree Expectation of Students
The expectations for CP students as clinicians-in-training fall under three broad competencies categories:
- Demonstrated knowledge of and adherence to professional standards,
- Demonstrated application of professional skills, and
- Effective functioning through self-management and balance of personal experiences and professional demands.
- Professional Standards.
In addition to adherence to Saybrook University policies and procedures, clinical students are expected to:
Demonstrate professionalism in adherence to the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Specialty Guidelines, and other relevant professional of psychologists.
Abide by any laws and regulation governing the practice of psychology, including any local, state, or federal regulations about the practice of psychology. More specifically, students are expected to integrate/adopt proper professional standards or best practices into their personal and professional development as clinicians-in-training.
It is the responsibility of the clinical psychology degree faculty, in collaboration with Saybrook faculty and staff, to expose clinical psychology students to the knowledge, guidelines and standards that are necessary to effectively socialize them into the field of psychology. Thereby supporting and monitoring the professional development of the student body.
Personal Functioning. It is the responsibility of any psychology professional, including to balance their personal functioning and effectiveness. This is most pertinent for CP students during degree matriculation and clinical training. Conceivably, physical, emotional, and/or educational problems may adversely impact the students’ clinical skills/knowledge acquisition, professional performance, and academic progression. These challenges may include yet not limited to the following:
Problematic academic performance and matriculation,
Poor psychological adjustment and/or inappropriate emotional regulation,
Significant inappropriate self-care and stress management,
Lack of capacity for self-directed professional development,
Ineffective use of and response to supervision, and/or
Violation of APA Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, Saybrook Student Code of Conduct, and/or other local, state, federal regulatory bodies.
II. Student Development Assessment Process (SDAP)
The SDAP is a method of facilitating and promoting professional development among student trainees. Specifically, the SDAP is a standardized approach to providing feedback to students about their development as clinicians-in-training. Students will be asked to actively engage in self-reflection regarding their strengths, areas for growth, and professional goals during the SDAP. As part of the process, students will complete a self-assessment form. Faculty will partner with students by also assessing their development in the following areas: academic performance, ethical conduct, clinical readiness/performance, and professionalism. The student’s formal academic record, narrative evaluations, clinical evaluations (if applicable), previous coursework, written correspondence, and other formal documents will be reviewed in order to assess the student’s progression in the program. It is the program’s goal that students participate in the SDAP review at the following time points:
- Beginning of their third semester
- Completion of PSY8145A Clinical Practicum
- Concurrent with PSY4000 Comprehensive Exam
In order to engage in professional growth, it is crucial that students receive and integrate constructive feedback from faculty, clinical supervisors, and administration. As part of their development, students should demonstrate the following:
- Openness to receive feedback
- Awareness of the impact of their behavior on others
- Ability to integrate feedback
- Acceptance of personal responsibility and agency
- Ability to express their point of view respectfully
- Ability to exercise professional and ethical judgment in decision-making
Although the expectation is that a student will complete the review at the identified points in the program, a student may be required to participate in a SDAP review upon request from the program depending on academic performance, ethical conduct, clinical readiness/performance, and/or professional concerns.
Student Review Committee (SRC)
The SRC is comprised of the Associate Chair, the Director of Clinical Training (DCT), and at least three core faculty members. Membership in the SRC is part of the shared governance responsibility of the CP faculty. If a member of the SRC cannot attend a scheduled meeting, another core faculty member from the CP department may temporarily fulfill the role. If the SRC schedules a meeting with a student, the SRC strives to have all committee members present, but may move forward with a meeting with only two members.
- Students will engage in SDAP through the Tevera platform.
- Students will complete the self-assessment form in Tevera. If a student does not complete the self-assessment form by the submission date, their progress will be evaluated without the form by the SRC. It is to the student’s benefit to complete the form so that they have a voice in the process. If a student does not complete the form, the SRC may note concerns with lack of engagement.
- Once students submit their forms, the SRC will review the following: Student self-assessment forms; the formal academic record/transcript; narrative evaluations; clinical evaluations (if applicable); previous coursework; written correspondence; and other formal documents.
- The SRC will convene to provide a formal evaluation. The SRC will then notify each student and let them know if they demonstrate 1) satisfactory progress, 2) satisfactory progress with minor areas noted for growth; or 2) problems of competence (see Section III).
- Students who demonstrate satisfactory progress will be notified that they have successfully completed the review and that they are in good standing.
- If the SRC determines that a student has demonstrated problems of competence, the SRC will meet with the student for further discussion. The intention of this meeting is to promote growth and development for any identified concerns. The SRC will notify the student of the need for further review and will provide formal feedback to the student upon completion of the review (as outlined in Section V).
III. Definitions of Problems of Competence
A student may have problems of competence in one or more of the following domains: academic performance, ethical conduct, clinical readiness/performance, and/or professionalism. Any personal issues that impact performance in the above-mentioned domains is within the purview of the program. The SRC’s judgment regarding suitability for program progression includes, yet is not limited to, the above-mentioned domains. In addition to this program policy, students are expected to be adherent to all university-wide policies (e.g., Student Code of Conduct; Student Academic Progress). Please note that this policy is independent from other university-wide policies, yet such policies can be engaged concurrently. Please see the catalog for a full review of Saybrook University policies.
A student may exhibit problems of competence within the domain of academic performance if one or more of the following have occurred. This list is not exhaustive and the SRC retains the right to determine if there are significant concerns regarding academic performance.
- Failed course(s)
- Failed coursework across multiple courses or within a single course
- Failed milestone(s) (e.g., dissertation orals and/or final defense; comprehensive exam)
- Significant deviations in progressing within the CP program plan (e.g., enrolling for courses outside of CP program plan that significantly delays program completion)
- Low student engagement (e.g., not participating regularly in discussion boards)
- Timeliness concerns regarding submitted coursework and/or repeated submissions not in alignment with the CP department’s late policy
- Incomplete attendance at a Residential Learning Experience (e.g., arriving late and/or departing early from the RLE without permission; arriving late and/or departing early from lectures during the conference)
- Plagiarism and/or significant difficulties with authentic writing as outlined in Saybrook University’s Policy on Academic Honesty (Plagiarism) and Authorship (e.g., copying someone’s work; sabotaging someone’s work; not paraphrasing sufficiently in one’s own words; taking credit for others’ ideas; copying and pasting from other sources; improper or lack of use of APA in-text citations and references; etc.)
- Self-plagiarism (e.g., submitting coursework from a previous course without instructor pre-approval)
- Enrollment in the CP program for more than 8+ years may also trigger a review as it’s important that the degree reflects recent knowledge and advances in the field.
- Failure to meet academic standards/expectations as outlined in a remediation plan.
A student may exhibit problems of competence within the domain of ethical conduct if one or more of the following have occurred. This list is not exhaustive and the SRC retains the right to determine if there are significant concerns regarding:
- Violation of any of the enforceable standards outlined in the APA ethics code during performance of academic, clinical, and/or professional tasks
- Inappropriate ethical decision-making methods or outcomes (e.g., not seeking consultation for an ethical dilemma; not recognizing an ethical dilemma when it occurs)
- Behavior that is in violation of applicable state or federal law(s)
A student may exhibit problems of competence within the domain of clinical readiness/performance if one or more of the following have occurred. This list is not exhaustive and the SRC retains the right to determine if there are significant concerns regarding clinical performance.
- Dismissal from a practicum or internship training site
- Deficient’ ratings from a clinical supervisor (e.g., receiving lower than a “3” on the Student Performance Evaluation form)
- Providing clinical services without proper licensure, supervision, and/or informed consent
- Formal concerns reported by the Director of Clinical Training (DCT)
- Difficulties establishing rapport with clients
- Concerns with readiness to provide clinical services
- Practicing significantly outside of one’s area of competence
- Providing treatments that are known to cause harm (e.g., conversion therapy)
- Engaging in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with a client or former client
- Violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)
- Violations of client confidentiality (e.g., failure to de-identify client identifying information for presentations; inappropriate social media use regarding client material; gossiping about clients)
- Causing harm to a client (e.g., emotional harm, physical harm, or negligence that resulted in harm)
- Failing to comply as a mandated reporter (e.g., state laws regarding child abuse, abuse of a vulnerable adult, etc.)
- Sub-standard clinical documentation (e.g., incomplete, inadequate, fraudulent, or delayed)
- Inappropriate or excessive personal self-disclosures
- Difficulties in either behavioral or emotional self-regulation that the faculty deem could adversely impact clinical care
- Misrepresentation of credential(s)
- Failure to notify clients of role as a student in training
- Failure to meet clinical standards/expectations as outlined in a remediation plan Professionalism
A student may exhibit problems of competence within the domain of professionalism if one or more of the following have occurred. This list is not exhaustive and the SRC retains the right to determine if there are significant concerns regarding professionalism.
- Inability or unwillingness to incorporate feedback
- Difficulties regarding interpersonal communication, such as:
- Use of insults
- Repeated conflict with peers, faculty, staff and/or leadership administration
- Poor or hostile communication
- Difficulties working as part of a team
- Threats of retaliation
- Threats of violence
- Demonstrations of hate speech, prejudice, and/or bigotry
- Disrespectful written correspondence and/or phone etiquette
- Demonstration of harmful personal biases
- Inability or unwillingness to engage in self-reflection and/or acknowledge personal responsibility
- Inappropriate professional dress or attire
- Inappropriate and/or unprofessional behavior at a Residential Learning Experience (RLE). This may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- a. Hostile communication
- b. Bizarre or inappropriate behavior
- c. Attending lectures under the influence of substances and/or in a compromised state (e.g., alcohol, illicit drugs, prescribed drugs, etc.)
- d. Disrespect toward hotel staff, catering staff, and/or Saybrook University community members (e.g., students, faculty, employees, administration, University guests, invited speakers, significant others also in attendance, etc.)
- Violations of Saybrook University’s Student Code of Conduct and/or Title IX
- Failure to meet professionalism standards/expectations as outlined in a remediation plan
IV. Identification of Students with Problems of Competence
It is important to identify students with potential problems of competence as early as possible in order to protect the public (e.g., clients and future clients), as well as to facilitate student success. The Department Chair should be first notified of potential problems of competence, and the Department Chair may then request a SDAP review if indicated. The identification can happen via multiple channels and at any time:
- The SRC may identify potential problems of competence during the SDAP review
- A student may self-disclose or self-identify potential problems of competence
- A student may observe potential problems of competence in a peer
- A faculty member may observe and report potential problems of competence in a student
- A clinical supervisor may observe and report potential problems of competence in a student
- A staff person may observe and report potential problems of competence in a student
- Failed coursework, failed milestones, and/or unsatisfactory progression may trigger a formal review
V. Procedures for Addressing Problems of Competence
A student’s program progression can be reviewed by the SRC at any time. There are two routes in which the SRC may evaluate a student’s progression in the program: 1) as part of the standardized SDAP review; and 2) when specifically referred by a faculty member
The SRC will meet at least once per semester and at the SRC Chair’s discretion. The SRC will review SDAP materials after students have completed their self-assessment forms, and a representative of the committee will meet with any students recommended for a remediation plan. Faculty Referral forms will be reviewed concurrently with Student Self-Assessment Forms. The SRC committee will meet during the semester to assess student remediation plans.
The SRC first recommends that minor issues regarding problems of competence be resolved in an informal manner when appropriate. This may involve peer-to-peer discussions, feedback from a faculty member, feedback from the Department Chair, Associate Chair, etc. The CP faculty assume their role in providing initial feedback and mentorship when a concern first arises. In such instances in which a student, faculty member, and/or staff member is unsure if informal resolution is indicated, that individual may seek consultation from the Department Chair or Associate Chair. Major concerns and repeated patterns of behavior should be brought to the SRC for formal review. If an individual does not feel comfortable seeking informal resolution and/or it would be inappropriate to do so, they should consult with the Department Chair or Associate Chair for guidance. Faculty should only refer students to the SRC after they have already provided feedback regarding a concern and the student has had an opportunity to demonstrate growth. If the concern remains and suggests a potential pattern, it would then be appropriate to refer the student to the SRC so that the SRC can support the student in their development. It is the responsibility of the faculty on record to inform the student of the referral ahead of time.
Formal Review Procedures
Step 1: The SRC is notified that there is a concern regarding a student with potential problems of professional competence. It is assumed that there may be ongoing communication between the Department Chair, faculty, the Director of Clinical Training/Associate Director of Clinical Training, staff, clinical supervisors, and the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs regarding any issues that may impact student performance. Saybrook University leadership administration, faculty, and employees understand that there may be clinical issues and concerns that the CP department is uniquely positioned to evaluate.
Step 2: Members of the SRC will begin an information-gathering phase in which they may consult the formal academic record, narrative evaluations, clinical evaluations (if applicable), previous coursework, written correspondence, and other formal documents. The timeframe to accomplish this task will vary on each unique scenario, yet it is the SRC’s goal to complete the information-gathering phase within 30 days. This timeframe, however, depends on the unique circumstances of each referral (e.g., information-gathering may take longer if there are significant delays receiving a report from a clinical supervisor, etc.). The SRC, or a representative of the SRC, will meet with the student so that the student can voice their perspective and inform the process.
Step 3: The SRC will convene to discuss the concern and categorize it as pertaining to one of the following levels:
Level 1: Minor Issues Involving Lack of Progression and/or Lack of Competency
This level includes less serious issues that can potentially be resolved in the course of one semester.
Examples may include, but are not limited to: A one-time offense regarding authentic writing; clinical evaluation with only one or two areas evaluated as below “clearly adequate”; a single instance of interpersonal conflict that reflects poor communication skills; consultation with faculty.
The SRC will provide formal feedback in a letter highlighting a targeted area of growth.
Level 2: Moderate Issues Involving Lack of Progression and/or Repeated Limited Competency and/or Lack of Competency
This level includes more serious issues that require careful planning and collaboration on the part of the faculty and student to address the problem.
Examples may include, but are not limited to: Repeated instances of difficulties with authentic writing; repeated hostile communication and/or interpersonal conflict with a single individual; difficulty establishing therapeutic rapport.
The SRC will recommend a remediation plan if indicated.
Level 3: Serious Problems of Lack of Progress or Lack of Competency
This level includes much more serious issues that are threats to program completion and/or the professional practice of clinical psychology.
Level III concerns may result in dismissal from the CP program.
Examples may include; but are not limited to: Severe academic dishonesty; serious ethical violations; harm to clients; multiple failed courses; unresponsiveness to a previously constructed remediation plan; repeated hostile communication and/or interpersonal conflict among multiple Saybrook University community members; dismissal from a clinical training site.
The SRC informs the Clinical Psychology Department Chair immediately and will recommend a remediation plan if indicated; in severe cases, the SRC may recommend dismissal from the program if indicated.
Step 4: For Level I, the SRC will provide a letter highlighting targeted areas for growth. If the student later struggles to integrate the SRC’s feedback in future semesters, the concerns may be elevated to Level II or Level III at any future review. For Levels II and III, the SRC will notify the student in-writing (by email) of the noted concerns, schedule a required meeting to provide formal feedback, and then request a written response from the student (to be received within 48 hours after the time of the meeting). The SRC will request that the student meet with them within 10 business days following the meeting request. This will be a required meeting, and it is in the student’s best interest to attend (e.g., to have a voice in the process; receive valuable feedback related to development and progression in the program). If a student does not reply to the email and/or does not attend the meeting, the SRC will move forward in the process with the information that they have already obtained. A student’s lack of participation will not halt the SDAP review process. During the feedback meeting, the student may not bring anyone else to the meeting. They may not bring an attorney to represent them. During the feedback meeting, the SRC will provide the purpose of the meeting and present the formal feedback. This may include any concerns related to problems of competence (academic performance, ethical conduct, clinical readiness/performance, and/or professionalism), as well as expectations regarding competencies, performance, and benchmarks.
Step 5: After meeting with the student, the SRC will then send a formal letter to the Department Chair regarding the committee’s disposition. The disposition may include one of the following:
- Formal feedback: The feedback provided to the student is deemed sufficient by the SRC. The student is seen in good standing, and the formal feedback has been documented. Any future concerns may put the student at greater risk for a remediation plan and/or dismissal from the program.
- Remediation plan: The SRC has determined that a remediation plan should be implemented with clear objectives and a timeframe. The SRC will work collaboratively with the student to co-create a remediation plan. (See Section VI below).
- Dismissal: The SRC has determined that dismissal from the program is the most appropriate response. (See Section VI below).
Step 6: A representative of the SRC will notify the student of the committee’s disposition. If the student is considered to be in good standing, the process will conclude, and the student will be notified by email. If the SRC’s disposition is a remediation plan or dismissal, the SRC will invite the student to a scheduled meeting to discuss the disposition. (See Section VI for further details).
The privilege of working with clients can be withdrawn at any time and is at the discretion of the SRC given the unique circumstances of each situation. Regarding timeframes, it is the SRC’s goal to review, assess, and provide recommendations in an efficient manner. Given the unique context of each situation, some reviews may necessitate a longer timeframe. In general, the SRC’s goal is to complete a review within the scope of 30 days. This timeframe may be extended given scheduled breaks in the academic calendar, summer session, personal circumstances (e.g., family emergency), and/or the obtainment of new or relevant information that would require further review.
VI. Remediation Plans and Dismissal
If the SRC determines a remediation plan is necessary, a meeting will be scheduled with the student to collaboratively create a remediation plan that will help to facilitate the student’s development. The goal of the meeting will be to create a plan that will help the student meet the required areas for growth. The SRC will ultimately decide on the final required components of a remediation exam. If a student disagrees with any of the components of a remediation exam, they may appeal to the Department Chair. In such cases, the Department Chair will have final say over the required components of the remediation plan. The student will be encouraged to engage in the remediation process and work collaboratively with the SRC.
A remediation plan may include but is not limited to additional coursework; adjustment of academic workload; enrollment in a writing course; essays; written apologies; suggested participation in individual therapy; group growth work experiences; self-structured behavior change; and new learning experiences. Any monetary costs to fulfill the remediation plan’s objectives (e.g., enrollment in a workshop or course) will be at the student’s expense. The student will have the opportunity to make comments on the remediation plan voicing their perspective. All relevant parties will be asked to sign the document to acknowledge the shared agreement. If a student does not sign the remediation plan and wishes to appeal against the decision, the student must follow the appeal procedures. If an appeal is unsuccessful and it is deemed that the remediation plan is indicated and the student decides not to sign the remediation plan, the SRC will re-convene. In such instances, the SRC may decide that a dismissal decision is indicated if a student is unwilling to participate in a plan to further their growth when there are problems of professional competence.
The SRC will determine if a remediation plan has been successfully completed based on the unique timeframe included in the plan and required tasks for each student. If the SRC determines that the remediation plan has been satisfactorily completed, the student and Department Chair will be notified that the student is considered in good standing. If a remediation plan has not been successfully completed, the SRC will work with the student to identify obstacles. If there is forward progression and high student engagement, the SRC may recommend further remediation (e.g., additional timeframe; additional requirements). If there is not forward progression, the SRC may recommend dismissal from the program to the Department Chair. The SRC may have up to 90 business days past the remediation plan’s end date to evaluate if all objectives were satisfactorily completed. The end date of the remediation plan may need to be adjusted if the student withdraws from a course, if a student requests an incomplete, or if any adjusted deadlines take place during the summer session when faculty are on leave. In such instances, the remediation plans will be reviewed at the beginning of the following semester. In general, the SRC does not meet over the summer session.
The dismissal of a student is a serious matter and, in general, denotes unresolved issues related to inadequate academic progression and/or problems of competence. Students may be dismissed for any of the reasons outlined in Section III. The reasons listed below are examples of what may reflect grounds for dismissal from the program:
- Receipt of three grades of “No Credit” or letter grades of “C” or below in a single semester or same course or cumulatively
- Failure to meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirement of 3.00 for three consecutive semesters
- Pattern of unethical or unprofessional behavior (see Saybrook Student Code of Conduct, CP Student Handbook, APA Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, and relevant state and federal guidelines)
- Persistent (2+ terms) unsatisfactory performance in the clinical practicum and/or internship courses
In some instances, serious and urgent concerns may be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. Grounds for immediate dismissal may include, but are not limited to: Inappropriate, discriminatory, and/or prejudiced speech; violence or threats of violence; egregious violations of the APA ethics code; violations of federal and/or state laws; dismissal from a clinical training site; repeated difficulties with plagiarism and/or authentic writing; discriminatory or offensive language or behavior; misrepresentation of academic or professional credential(s) before, during, or after the program application process. Repeated offenses at Level II or III (as described in Step 3) could result in immediate dismissal. If immediate dismissal is indicated, the Department Chair will notify the student in writing that they have been dismissed from the program, effective immediately. The student may appeal an immediate dismissal decision, as outlined in Section VII.
The SRC has the right to make a final determination about the reasons for dismissal. If the SRC determines that dismissal from the CP program is advised, the SRC will send a formal letter to the Department Chair within 10 business days of completing their review. When evaluating the decision to dismiss a student from the program, the faculty may seek professional consultation both within the university and in some instances outside the university to determine the most appropriate course(s) of action (in accordance with FERPA and other relevant laws). The College Dean and the Vice President for Academic Affairs may also be notified of the decision.
If a student is dismissed from the program or voluntarily chooses to withdraw from the program, SRC dispositions will be considered in the student’s application decision. Readmittance to the program is not guaranteed.
Notification of Disposition Decisions
All notifications will be sent via email utilizing Saybrook University email addresses. The Department Chair will be notified in writing regarding disposition decisions within 10 business days of completion of the SDAP review for students with Level II and Level III concerns. The Department Chair will also notify the College Dean and VPAA of any remediation or dismissal decisions. If the SRC’s disposition determines that the student is in good standing, the student will be notified in writing. If the SRC’s disposition is either remediation or dismissal, the student will be invited to attend a required meeting in which they will be officially notified of the SRC’s disposition decision. The disposition meeting should occur within 10 business days of having completed the SDAP review. If a student does not reply to the meeting invitation or does not attend the meeting, the SRC will then convene to discuss next steps, which may include elevating the concern to a Level III concern and/or determining a more appropriate disposition (e.g., moving from a remediation decision to a dismissal decision). Following the meeting, the student will also be provided with written notification of the decision by email. If the student does not attend the required meeting, they will be provided with the decision in writing by email. An official copy of the decision will also be copied to the Registrar’s Office and Student Affairs’ Office in order to be placed in the student’s record.
VII. Appeals Procedure
Students who disagree with a remediation plan and/or dismissal decision may submit a formal written appeal. Reasons for appeal are limited to include: a procedural violation of policy; an argument currently available that was unavailable at the time of the SDAP review; new evidence.
There are three levels of appeal:
Level 1 (Department Chair): A student should submit their formal written appeal to the Department Chair within 10 business days of their disposition notification. In the written appeal, the student should clearly provide a rationale for their reason to appeal. The Department Chair has 10 business days to consider the appeal and provide a formal response to the student.
Level 2 (College Dean): If the student would like to appeal the determination made by the Department Chair, they may file an appeal with the College Dean for secondary review within 10 business days of receiving the Department Chair’s decision. The College Dean has 10 business days to consider the appeal and provide a formal response to the student.
Level 3 (Vice President for Academic Affairs): If the student would like to appeal the determination made by the College Dean, they may file an appeal with the Vice President for Academic Affairs for review within 10 business days of receiving the College Dean’s decision. The Vice President for Academic Affairs has 10 business days to consider the appeal and provide a formal response to the student. The decision of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is final.
Note: If there is a successful appeal at any of the levels, then the SRC will re-convene to determine appropriate action (e.g., a dismissal decision that has been successfully appealed may then justify a remediation plan to address concerns; a remediation decision that was successfully appealed may require adjustments to the remediation plan).
This policy applies to all current and future CP students. This policy was created with the dual focus of 1) promoting the professional development of CP students, and 2) protecting the public (i.e., current and future clients of clinicians-in-training). This policy was largely based on the recommendations of Wolf, Green, Nochajski, and Host (2014). The CP department believes that this policy will ultimately support CP students and the integrity of the CP program.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct (2002, Amended June 1, 2010 and January 1, 2017). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/ethics/code/index.aspx
American Psychological Association, Committee on Accreditation. (2005, July). Guidelines and principles. Washington, DC: Author.
Barnett, J. E., & Hillard, D. (2001). Psychologist distress and impairment: The availability, nature, and use of colleague assistance programs for psychologists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 32, 205-210.
Forrest, L., Elman, N., & Miller, D. S. S. (2008). Psychology trainees with competence problems: From individual to ecological conceptualizations. Training & Education in Professional Psychology Journal: Practice & Research, 2(4), 183-192. doi:10.1037/1931-39126.96.36.199
Lamb, D.H., Presser, N.R., Pfost, K.S., Baum, M.C., Jackson, V.R., & Jarvis, P.A. (1987). Confronting professional impairment during the internship: Identification, due process, and remediation. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 18, 597-603.
Schwartz-Mette, R.A. (2009). Challenges in addressing graduate student impairment in academic professional psychology programs. Ethics & Behavior, 19, 91-102.
Wolf, M.R., Green, S.A., Nochajski, T.H., & Kost, K.A. (2014). Graduate student impairment: The impact on counselor training programs. Journal for International Counselor Education, 6, 61-74.
Department of Humanistic Psychology (HP)
The Humanistic Clinical Psychology Department and the Humanistic Psychology Department in the College of Social Sciences together comprise the heart of the legacy of the Old Saybrook Conference held in Connecticut in 1964. Luminaries such as Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Gordon Allport, and Rollo May came together at that time to articulate the need for a psychology of the whole human being to address what was lacking in other emerging approaches psychotherapy and psychological research. They, and other innovative thinkers as James Bugental, Henry Murray, Viktor Frankl, Charlotte Bühler, and Virginia Satir, realized an approach to psychotherapy and human science that did not reduce human beings to fragments of their life experience. Under May’s original guidance and inspiration, what is now Saybrook University evolved as a distance learning institution over the past five decades, expanding on and giving birth to vibrant and creative offshoots of the original vision. Today, these two departments embody and impart through their curriculum a truly expansive view of the prosocial human being seeking meaning and wholeness in the context of multicultural, global social justice, ecological sustainability, and deeper spiritual awareness and connection. Cultural humility and respect for indigenous sources of our cherished notions about healing and living the good life are affirmed.
The uniqueness of Saybrook’s Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs lies in our heritage of humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and phenomenological inquiry. Saybrook faculty, alumni, and students continue to question, critique, and offer alternatives to many of the axioms of mainstream academic psychology and professional practice, including those of the now predominant bio-medical model. Through creativity, spiritual commitment, sound research, scholarly writing, and integrative professional practice, members of the Saybrook community keep alive the spirit of innovative and creative approaches to the increasingly complex issues of our times. The Psychology and Clinical Psychology degree programs both offer students a foundation of scholarship and practice based in the tradition of existential, humanistic, and transpersonal psychology. Learning encompasses a course of study that takes the student beyond traditional field-specific boundaries to focus on such subjects as consciousness, spirituality, and integrative health; creativity studies; and existential and humanistic psychology.
Our research and practice encourage the best in human qualities and activities while also adhering to rigorous scholastic standards. By producing humanistic scholars, researchers, and practitioners, the Humanistic Psychology degree programs offer interdisciplinary graduate education that crosses and merges many disciplines within the diverse field of Humanistic Psychology. Through such an approach, exploration of what it means to be human in the 21st century is expanded beyond traditional definitions of the fields of psychology.
Saybrook faculty, alumni, and students continue to question, critique, and offer alternatives to many of the axioms of mainstream academic psychology and professional practice, including those of the now predominant bio-medical model. Through creativity, spiritual commitment, sound research, scholarly writing, and integrative professional practice, members of the Saybrook community keep alive the spirit of innovative and creative approaches to the increasingly complex issues of our times. Discovery that is informed by a variety of disciplines and modes of inquiry can enliven each student’s primary field of study and enrich the learning process. It is with this in mind that these legacy degree programs have expanded the definition of the field to include not only human processes that occur at an intrapsychic level, but also those that occur within groups, communities, societies, and at the global level.
Our work offers a vital, viable, and emancipatory alternative to individuals, families, groups, and societies as they effectively respond to human needs in an increasingly complex world. The emphasis of the course of study is on disciplined inquiry that includes various ways of knowing, scholarly research and writing, and the conceptualization of issues in psychology within the framework of their philosophical, scientific, social, and political contexts, as well as practical “real world” implications. The Humanistic Psychology degree programs are leading humanistic educational program committed to the study of human experience from multiple frameworks informed by this historical and evolving humanistic, existential, and transpersonal perspectives. While the Psychology degree programs do not prepare students for clinical practice or eligibility for clinical licensure, the Clinical Psychology degree program does. However, many Psychology degree program students are already licensed clinicians and find the coursework offered through Psychology curricula complements and enhances their prior or concurrent study of clinical issues.
Values, Mission, and Learning Outcomes
Department Mission Statement
The mission of the Humanistic Psychology Department at Saybrook University is to educate and empower humanistic leaders who embody the principles of compassion, integrity, and social responsibility. Grounded in a humanistic approach, we strive to advance the understanding of human experience and contribute to positive social transformation. Through rigorous scholarship, critical inquiry, and inclusive practices, we aim to cultivate compassionate practitioners, researchers, and scholars who are equipped to address complex societal challenges and promote well-being at individual, community, and global levels.
- Humanistic Approach: We embrace a humanistic perspective that acknowledges the inherent worth and dignity of each individual, fostering a holistic understanding of human experience.
- Social Justice: We are committed to promoting social justice by addressing systemic inequities, advocating for marginalized populations, and working towards inclusivity and equality.
- Ethical Practice: We uphold the highest standards of ethics in our research, teaching, and professional practice, ensuring the well-being and autonomy of individuals involved.
- Cultural Humility: We cultivate a climate of cultural humility, valuing diverse perspectives, honoring indigenous knowledge, and respecting the richness of multicultural experiences.
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration: We foster interdisciplinary collaboration, recognizing the value of integrating knowledge from multiple fields to enhance our understanding of human behavior and well-being.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
- Critical Thinking: Graduates will demonstrate advanced critical thinking skills, utilizing a humanistic lens to analyze complex psychological phenomena and apply theoretical frameworks to real-world contexts.
- Cultural Competence: Graduates will possess cultural competence, displaying an understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures, experiences, and worldviews, and integrating this awareness into their professional practice.
- Ethical Awareness: Graduates will exhibit a strong ethical awareness, adhering to ethical guidelines in their research, teaching, and practice, and demonstrating a commitment to the well-being and autonomy of individuals and communities.
- Research Proficiency: Graduates will develop proficiency in conducting rigorous research informed by humanistic, existential, transpersonal, and phenomenological perspectives, employing qualitative and quantitative methodologies to advance the field of humanistic psychology.
- Social Justice Advocacy: Graduates will engage in social justice advocacy, actively promoting equity, inclusivity, and social change by addressing systemic disparities, advocating for marginalized populations, and contributing to the creation of a just and sustainable society.
- Applied Skills: Graduates will possess practical skills and interventions grounded in humanistic psychology, enabling them to facilitate personal growth, foster resilience, and promote well-being in various settings, including research, educational, community, and organizational contexts.
Department Programs and Specializations
M.A. Psychology, Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health (CSIH) Specialization
M.A. Psychology, Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership Specialization
M.A. Psychology, Existential and Humanistic Psychology Specialization
Ph.D. Psychology, Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health (CSIH) Specialization
Ph.D. Psychology, Existential and Humanistic Psychology Specialization
Ph.D. Psychology, Psychophysiology Specialization
Ph.D. Psychology, Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership Specialization
Creativity Studies Certificate
Department of Leadership and Management
Note: The DBA and MBA Programs are not currently enrolling students.
The Department of Business Administration prepares leaders for thoughtful and generative engagement in for-profit, not-for-profit and co-ops. The department offers students an MBA and a DBA coupled with applied learning at key junctures.
The MBA may be completed in 12 or 18 months and requires successful completion of 30 credits delivered in as 8 week courses. A Residential Conference (RC) is not required.
The DBA may be completed in 3.5 years and requires successful completion of 54 credits delivered over 15 weeks per semester. The Residential Conference (RC) is required until the student begins the dissertation process.
Contemporary organizations are comprised of diverse people who creatively self-organize into global social networks that have dynamic cultures and are mediated by innovative technology to achieve a common purpose. Organizational leaders face many challenges. Among them are how to courageously lead with integrity and have an inclusive global vision. Then there is how to manage in an engaging manner that draws upon diverse talent and creative ideas, so all organizational members meaningfully contribute to the organization’s success and society’s well-being.
Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership aids professionals to take up this challenge and be leaders who foster the emergence of vital new organizational systems, global economic perspectives, distributed workplace environments, and business philosophies which give rise to an equitable and sustainable future where all can flourish.
Saybrook University’s Department of Leadership is a vibrant interdisciplinary innovation hub-a systems-based think tank and consortium for practical application in all sectors-that strives to develop organizational leadership and management that collaboratively envision and build sustainable solutions that couple organizational success with social innovation in a wide range of organizations and institutions, including for-profit, non-profit, and governmental agencies.
The Department of Leadership strives to unleash professionals’ potential to:
- Be tomorrow’s courageous innovative leaders today,
- Envision and design the future of their organization and its operating systems,
- Collaboratively manage and engage the workforce with a global perspective,
- Systemically solve complex problems and build sustainable solutions, and
- Accomplish organizational goals while serving the greater global society and its future.
Concretely, to accomplish its mission the Department of Leadership offers a dynamic portfolio of leading-edge master and doctoral programs for professionals who want to be visionary contributing leaders in the field of business, healthcare, education, and the not-for-profit sector, or who want to be consultants to organizations and civic communities. Degrees are rooted in current scholarship and professional practice to educate professionals as innovative leaders and managers of interdependent organizational systems who can:
- Analyze complex organizational situations through a systems lens,
- Anticipate nonlinear cause-effect relationships and plan accordingly,
- Respond to challenges proactively and collaboratively with stakeholders,
- Plan and execute wise strategies and processes that avoid unintended consequences,
- Implement systems, networks, and partnerships that sustain organizations and priorities,
- Think critically and operate ethically under pressure.
The Department of Leadership’s graduate programs are learner-driven. Each program emphasizes opportunities for students to prioritize and pursue their professional goals and interests. Each program combines distance learning with the stimulation of unique learning afforded by periodic residential conferences. In this way, learning is approached as a fundamentally connected activity: student interests are connected with faculty and fellow students, and connected with real-world issues in the workplace or elsewhere.
The Department of Leadership’s degree offerings are designed to meet the needs of 21st Century organizations. Whether the organization is in the public, private or nonprofit sector, the program offers research-based learning that has practical applications. The programs are built on foundations in three primary skill areas: management, leadership, and innovative collaborative design. These ensure students develop the mastery and expertise needed to accomplish their professional goals. They are holistic in nature, placing academic and professional development in an interdependent, interactive context. This context fosters the consideration of professional, organizational, and global social environments.
The Department offers a PhD in Managing Organizational Systems.
To accomplish its mission, the Department designed the Ph.D. program with a combination of features known to support professionals’ success in graduate school. The learning experiences are characterized by the following.
Crossing Disciplinary Perspectives: Programs draw upon faculty who have diverse academic expertise and a variety of professional backgrounds in order to engage students in interdisciplinary inquiry and a critical examination of perspectives and practices.
Interactive Design: Each course is taught in a multi-modality, interactive fashion that builds a dynamic collaborative learning environment. Students and instructors continuously engage with one another’s diverse experience and perspectives, forming a “virtual learning place.’ Course learning interacts with the workplace and career as it is continuously applied by students in timely ways.
Global Coursework: Both the graduate and doctoral programs enable students to develop their global perspective and cross-cultural skills by participating in courses which have an international immersion component.
Cohorts: Students form cohort-based learning communities for holistic work together as teams, as peer professionals who support and challenge one another to reach their academic and professional goals, and to increase each one’s development as multiple perspectives are sought, valued, and engaged.
Virtual Course Learning Forum: Each course has a virtual online site that contains the core materials (e.g., course description, syllabus, required reading, videos, weekly instructions) and is the hub of weekly instructor-student, student-student interactive dialogues and teamwork, and knowledge-sharing social networks.
Webinars and Coaching Sessions: Real-time interactions in periodic course webinars and one-on-one coaching sessions with students complement the online course work for the best of both worlds. Through these interactions, real-world applications of learning can get real-time exploration.
Residential Conferences: Cohorts and instructors from the degree programs convene as an entire learning community at conferences twice per year until the student begins the dissertation engagement.
Department of Transformative Social Change
We live in a time of transformative social change. All over the world, people are working for a more sustainable environment, seeking social justice and democratic reform, and creating new economic models that work for the many and not just the few. Many of these changes are powered by new communication technologies that are making a powerful impact, from spreading innovation to toppling repressive regimes.
But we also confront crises of environmental devastation, economic displacement, social injustice, war, terrorism, and personal stress that threaten the well-being of life on earth, and arguably our survival. Many of these crises are interrelated and can best be addressed by those with a deep understanding of the connections among such issues as social inequity, drawdown of our planet’s resources, toxification of our bodies and environments, and centralization of media in the hands of powerful interests.
This program subsumes a range of fields under a relatively new disciplinary area, Transformative Social Change. There is a growing acceptance and development of this field of research, academic study, and social action, from sources including the United Nations, major foundations, and other universities. The new degree program in Transformative Social Change will prepare students to respond to current social, cultural, and political challenges of our time in a unique way, as reflective scholar-practitioners, able to create transformative changes in society, guided by humanistic values.
Values, Mission, and Learning Outcomes
Department Mission Statement
Transformative Social Change Department fosters an authentic and liberatory education model, empowering students, and faculty as co-creators of their educational processes and the larger world, building from a social justice orientation and multicultural community orientation, understanding community from a local to global perspective, and meeting the distinct and emergent challenges of our times.
The Transformative Social Change Department is rooted in several values:
- Liberatory Models of Learning, Organizing and Social Activism
- Non-Ideological Approaches to Change
- Beloved Community and the World House
- Critical Hope, anchored in the belief that the world can be otherwise
- Embracing Multicultural, Intersectional Identities and Lived Experiences
- Recognition of structural dimensions to social problems and social change.
- Holistic approaches to change taking into account multiple systems levels, from individual to planet.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Design environments that reflect and support participatory, democratic, collaborative leadership skills.
- Formulate interventions that are congruent with ethics and values.
- Synthesize and design social system transformation strategies.
- Formulate and evaluate dialogues that are inclusive of global, multicultural, multi-generational social and environmental viewpoints.
- Appraise models of compassion and connectedness with the larger community.
Department Programs and Specializations
M.A. Transformative Social Change
M.A. Transformative Social Change, Peace and Justice Studies Specialization
M.A. Transformative Social Change, Social Impact Media Specialization
Ph.D. Transformative Social Change