William James College is Becoming William James College

Graduate Education in Psychology

February 27, 2015

In his 1970 presidential address to the American Psychological Association, Dr. George Albee urged psychologists to become closely tied to the community in order to learn from its people and to bring relief. Some see this exhortation as among the early inspirations for the Schools of Professional Psychology. For 40 years, William James College has educated students by immersing them in closely supervised field experiences, applying psychological research to the real-world of people and organizations, while learning deeply about themselves. 

Over the years, people have valued the close attention that staff, faculty and supervisors at William James College have paid to their development, and our graduates have made significant contributions to the community in business, health care, education and mental health. Signature programs in Military Veterans Psychology, Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience, and Latino Mental Health are the realization of Albee's desire to see psychology "Meeting the Need" and "Making a Difference." Over the years since Dr. Albee's address, William James College has established its place in the community, transitioning through four buildings, evolving from one degree program to 14 and becoming home to more than 850 staff and students. Each year, William James College graduates exceed the scores of peer institutions on the EPPP exam; are employed within months of graduation;carry a zero-percent default rate on loans; bring relief to children in schools; staff many community centers and provide leadership and service in forensic, healthcare and organizational settings. Our graduates make us proud, and our mission is attracting thoughtful and generous partners. 

Although William James College has been evolving, it has been a challenge to explain its name and place in the world of higher education. An 'independent graduate school of professional psychology' is a difficult concept to comprehend. With geography the only obvious differentiator, the implication is that all Schools of Professional Psychology are the same, but for location. While most "Colleges" offer graduate training and many independent professional institutions (e.g., Medicine, Optometry and Law) across the country are called "College," in the world of higher education, William James College is often confused with trade schools or for-profit institutions. For example, of the 60 members of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, William James College is the only "school." 

When the Board of Trustees and its advisors considered the needed change in status, they had the good fortune to discover that William James College was available. As the "Founder of American Psychology" he was a major proponent for its practical application. A mentor to John Dewey, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary Whiton Calkins and &#É;mile, among others, James influenced most of the major theorists in education, race relations and social science of the last two centuries. We have the opportunity to link our work to James's prolific writing on consciousness, emotion, religious experience and social change. His exceptional investment in educating leaders, his commitment to practical change and his preeminence as a thinker will dignify our institution, bringing credit to our faculty and students and further supporting the important work of our graduates. William James College is a new name, but we believe that it will quickly become a powerful signifier that our outstanding learning community of educators, advocates, mentors, and innovators will continue to lead change and bring help to individuals and communities in need. As with our previous moves forward, we believe that this advance will add strength and support to our critical mission. We will formally effect this change on May 7th at the Gala. I hope that you will make time to join us in celebrating our past and supporting the future of our remarkable organization. 

Nicholas A. Covino, PsyD
President