Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) is now William James College
For four decades, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology has been on an upward trajectory: enhancing the quality of its academic programs, increasing its reach into the community, forming relationships with key partners, and growing to educate and train more of the kind of graduates that the community needs. For some time, MSPP has referred to itself as a 'college of psychology.' Now is the time for William James College to own that label.
With more than 700 students and 1,750 alumni, MSPP has approached the size of many small colleges. And, as we embark on a number of strategic initiatives that will set the course of the college for the near and long-term, we are evolving the institution's brand and name to both reflect our educational philosophy and underpinnings and our commitment to providing critical services to our community. Our students positively change the lives of thousands of people dealing with mental health issues on a daily basis.
Since our founding, an education at MSPP (now William James College) has meant classroom instruction that creatively integrates psychological theory and research with critical self-knowledge and clinical illustrations offered by supervisors, colleagues and a practitioner faculty.
On October 15, 2014, our Board of Trustees approved a name change and we received approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education on December 2, 2014 to change our name to William James College. This is a transition that fully reflects our mission to transform how mental health and psychology are perceived in the community, as well as the experiential and innovative nature of our educational experience.
William James (1842-1910), the founder of American psychology is considered to be one of the most influential and innovative thinkers of the 19th century, and he was the mentor to, among others, John Dewey, the architect of experiential learning. William James championed diversity and access to education across race and gender lines;he promoted openness to wide ranging social perspectives; and he promoted a more practical application of psychology. We're proud to attach our institution to James' important legacy.
Frequently Asked Questions
About Our New Name
We believe the transition from "school" to "college" will widen our reach, better reflect the quality of our graduate degree programs, and help us to continue to recruit talented, dedicated students and accomplished faculty. "College" is a term commonly used to define smaller institutions of higher learning and professional schools such as ours.
"University" does not seem to be an appropriate term for our institution. It would imply that we offer both undergraduate and graduate programs–and that we are bigger than we are. "College" seemed like a better fit both to the Trustees and the Board of Higher Education.
William James College has been discussing changing its name for about 6 years. William James, the founder of American psychology and a pioneer in the field, embodies our forward-thinking approach to psychological education. It was a stroke of luck that the name of this historical figure was available and that the James family is supportive of our work. Connecting William James' legacy to our present and future highlights that we are grounded in psychological theory, concerned with the practical application of psychology, interested in social justice and leading the field, just as James was.
This name increases opportunities for growth and expansion for William James College. William James was an educator, an innovator, an advocate, and an influencer in his time and beyond—an important set of roles that we, too, have inhabited for four decades now. He championed diversity and access to education across race and gender lines; he promoted openness to different approaches and perspectives; and he worked toward a more practical application of psychology. These are also familiar goals to our community. James felt that scientists and psychologists should work together to understand the functioning of the human mind. His legacy continues to influence current and future generations of psychologists: his book, The Principles of Psychology, was published in 1890 and remains relevant and meaningful today.
With an endeavor of this size, there are many moving parts. From changing the website to changing the signs on campus, we are in the planning process and will continue to update the community with more information.
Our name change is also part of a wider re-branding effort: We will be updating our messaging, our visual system, and our print and digital communications.
We will continue to have consultation and collaboration with professionals and experts in this field who will assist us with this complex transition.
About William James
William James was an educator, an innovator, an advocate, and an influencer in his time and beyond—an important set of roles that we, too, have inhabited for four decades now. He championed diversity and access to education across race and gender lines; he promoted openness to differences in social awareness; and he worked toward a more practical application of psychology. These are also familiar goals to our community. James' mentorship of John Dewey, W.E.B. Du Bois, Émile and Mary Durkheim Whiton, along with his prolific and influential writings, makes him an ideal figure to symbolize our mission of experiential education and social change.
The James family, upon becoming familiar with William James College's work, expressed their enthusiasm for the match.
William James was born in 1842, but he was so far ahead of his time that his work is still relevant today. A visionary who recognized science was not the only way of knowing, he believed effective mental health treatment needed to include multiple psychiatric disciplines.
James' revolutionary book,The Principles of Psychology, was published in 1890.
As part of the plan associated with William James College's name change and branding initiative, we will be communicating the news of its name change to regional and national stakeholders. Rather than narrowing the definition of William James College, we believe the transition from "school" to "college" will widen our reach and reflect the quality of our graduate degree programs. The launch of our new name will be presented in a manner to ensure that degrees are not devalued but, rather, enhanced, and that each will receive even more recognition and respect.
William James College is now well positioned to have a powerful voice regionally and nationally as an institution promoting psychological and mental health awareness, access and knowledge. A new name will help it to do this, allowing William James College to be more visible to a wider community; to be understood as a center of psychological knowledge and training; and to increase its perceived stature and value. Our faculty and staff will benefit from the enhanced recognition this will bring for our institution, as well as from an expanded population of students eager to enter our programs.