New transformative social change degree program – Saybrook University

Posted on: June 13, 2016


TSC Students 300x156 - New transformative social change degree program - Saybrook University

Transformative Social Change faculty and students celebrate graduate Donna Nassor’s dissertation with distinction.


Saybrook University has announced a new degree program in Transformative Social Change (TSC), set to begin instruction in August 2016.

The program is envisioned as an extension of Saybrook’s mission of “providing rigorous graduate education that inspires transformational change in individuals, organizations, and communities, toward a just, humane, and sustainable world,” and builds from a Transformative Social Change Specialization area in Saybrook’s legacy Humanistic and Clinical Psychology program.

 A Unique Vision

“The purpose of this program is to contribute to the kinds of transformative social change occurring all around the world,” says Joel Federman, Ph.D., the new program’s director. “Our graduates will be prepared to provide theoretical insight and policy expertise to social movements and nongovernmental organizations focused on peace, democracy, human rights, the environment, and social justice, to create strategies for greater impact, and to help them to evaluate their effectiveness.”

The program is also planning two specializations, in Social Impact Media and Peace and Justice Studies, which will begin instruction in January 2017. In addition, the program will offer Certificates in Peace and Conflict Studies, Community Health and Development, Socially Engaged Spirituality, and Building a Sustainable World. These certificates are also available to non-Saybrook students.

“Saybrook’s unique voice in the world continues to grow with the launch of our new M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Transformative Social Change,” says Saybrook University President Nathan Long. “By bringing to bear a clearer understanding of the social, political, economic, and cultural antecedents precipitating change locally and around the globe, TSC students will be prepared to advance positive social change through their work in nonprofits, government, and policy organizations.”

A Multidisciplinary Scholar-Activist Faculty

The TSC program has assembled a stellar multidisciplinary faculty, with doctoral degrees in Communications, Psychology, Political Science, and Transformative Learning and Change. They come from a variety of outstanding doctoral institutions, including the University of Michigan, the University of Southern California, UCLA, UC-Berkeley, the University of Illinois-Urbana, Fielding Institute, and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

International Collaborations

The program has developed a collaboration agreement with Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta, Indonesia, to promote ongoing mutual cooperation in educational and research activities, focused on research on cross-cultural understanding. The initiative is led by TSC faculty member Benina Gould, who is conducting ongoing studies of how young people in Muslim countries obtain information about the world, and Yayah Khisbiyah of Muhammadiyah University, who has developed an Islamic Peace Education middle school curriculum.

Another important collaboration occurs for the program’s course, The Human Right to Adequate Food, which is taught annually in conjunction with the University of Sydney Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, on their online learning platform.

“Scholarship and activism are interconnected throughout the Transformative Social Change program learning process,” says Federman. “Our learning community extends into the larger world of social change, so that students make personal connections with those making change in their chosen areas of study, and conceptual links between the theory and philosophy of change and its practical application.”