President’s Message: Ideas can bring us together

The Saybrook Forum represents an initiative designed specifically to enhance communication among the constituents of our community. Our dispersed environment presents several challenges to sustaining community and the spirit of this newsletter – as is the case with the several programmatic newsletters already in publication — is to support a more cohesive and coherent Saybrook.

You will be receiving this communication on a regular basis – every other week to start. In it you will be able to read about developments at Saybrook in a variety of areas – student and alumni achievement, faculty publications, lectures, accomplishments, strategic planning development, events and public programs, etc. I also hope the newsletter will be a forum for exploration of issues and world events pertinent to graduate education in the disciplines we teach, thoughts on pressing issues in our various fields of study and research, editorials on institutional challenges and issues, creative writing, and so forth. We can make this newsletter whatever we want it to be, from a forum that publishes abstracts of (and links to) substantive essays to routine announcements of events and personnel developments — and everything in between. It will be exciting, to be sure, to witness its evolution.

With our decision to move forward as a multi-disciplinary graduate university, we have concurrently generated a dialogue about the “soul of Saybrook” and the School’s roots in Existential-Humanistic, Transpersonal, and Phenomenological psychology. At the upcoming RC in January, we will continue the dialogue by asking a very direct question about what it means to extrapolate the values at the core of our mission to inform new questions, new curricular opportunities, and a new forward-thinking education for our students. How will our teaching move in and around our core tradition and what ways outside of it? The design of our future should enhance the discourse, expand the conversation – and our teachings – and open further possibility for a vital and pertinent Saybrook education.

In an effort to continue the dialogue on this central issue, we have planned a panel discussion at the January RC that will include one of our founders Eleanor Criswell, faculty members Art Bohart and Kirk Schneider, alumna Kathia Castro Laszlo, and the Chair of our Board of Trustees, Alison Bonds Shapiro. The panel will be moderated by Saybrook’s VPAA, Ed Cooper. I invite all of you who will be at the RC to attend (Saturday evening, January 17th). For those of you unable to attend, we will tape the discussion and make it available on the Saybrook website.

These are exciting and dynamic times at Saybrook and there is much at stake. I invite all of you in this community to participate, in whatever way possible, to add your voice to the question of the future of humanistic graduate education, to keep us honest in our progress forward, and – to paraphrase Shakespeare – to help us discover more things, in heaven and earth, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

Lorne Buchman

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