Saybrook and LIOS, step II

The synchronicity, and common purpose, of their affiliation will soon be a precedent for future institutions

As the first class of LIOS/Saybrook students – 41 in all – is getting to work learning how to change the world, the opportunities of each institution are now being presented to each other.

LIOS, which offers Master’s degrees, is reporting a strong interest among its students in Saybrook’s PhD programs, while Saybrook has now added LIOS’ degree in Systems Counseling to its roster of Psychology programs, and its degree in Organization to its Organizational Systems program.

There were any number of practical reasons for the two organizations to come together –LIOS needed a new accrediting affiliation, Saybrook had just begun planning a full university structure – but what really made the connection possible, and the implementation so smooth, are deeply held, deeply compatible, philosophical visions not shared by every graduate school. In fact, as LIOS president Shelly Drogin noted recently in Linkage, the LIOS newsletter, Saybrook was one of LIOS’ first choices for affiliation the last time it needed one, in the 1980s. The fact that this time, LIOS was looking for affiliation at the same time that Saybrook was expanding to a university was, as Drogin calls it, “synchronicity at play.”

Saybrook President Lorne Buchman agrees. “LIOS emerged at exactly the right moment,” he told Linkage. “Not only was there mission compatibility with Saybrook, but there was a clear and almost obvious opportunity to create with LIOS our first college in a broader university system. The collegiality between the institutions, the shared values, the potential of cross-fertilization—all made for a very happy connection.”

Like Drogin, Buchman is a relatively new president to a relatively august institution, who found within it something he could believe passionately. “LIOS and Saybrook are distinguished, I believe, for a model of education that includes work both in the library and on the street,” he told Linkage. “We are both institutions that build graduate education on values of human thriving and with a deep faith in human potential. We hold to principles of educating students who will create change in the world not so much through their dismay at what is lacking but through a commitment to all that is possible.”

Now that the affiliation agreement has been worked out – and is working smoothly – both organizations are seeing tangible benefits. But there is still more to do: as the first designated college in Saybrook’s university structure, LIOS will be a crucial precedent-setting model for future additions to follow, and both Buchman and Drogin are aware of the importance of getting it right.

“As I have said to the LIOS faculty and trustees—‘you are our first,’” Buchman said. “LIOS and Saybrook have the opportunity to invent much of what will come in time. We are on a journey of immense creativity as we pool our collective imagination and our commitment to great education to make this university vision real.”

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