Statement by the President

Welcome to our website and the world of PSP. For the past 25 years, I have experienced the joy (and sometimes the challenge) of serving as president of The Professional School of Psychology. This is a very long tenure for any educational administrator. So what has kept me engaged with this remarkable graduate school for all of these years? I believe three major factors contribute to my continuing engagement: the students we serve at the school, the faculty members we have invited to collaborate with us, and the opportunity this graduate school has provided us to explore new approaches to the education of mature, accomplished adults.

The overall culture and environment of PSP is unique. We are an inexpensive school that is committed to excellence in education. This dual commitment to both quality and affordability requires innovative practices at both an administrative and educational level. Innovative practices are also necessitated by the levels of accomplishment that are to be found in our students prior to their admission to our school. These are not men and women who come with an empty vessel to be filled by the experiences and expertise of our faculty. Rather they come with vessels that are already over-flowing. Our job is to enable our students to fully appreciate the wisdom they already possess and to link this wisdom to additional sources of knowledge and expertise. As we note in Four Models of Adult Education (prepared by one of our graduates and myself), our school moves beyond other models of adult education (the models of andragogy and transformation) to a new model of appreciation. While we also engage these other two models of adult education, we believe our new model is particularly appropriate given the student body we serve.

At an even deeper level, our graduate school is responsive to an evolving perspective on knowledge —a perspective often described as constuctivism or as commitment-in-the-midst-of-relativism. An American poet Wallace Stevens has offered a particularly poignant summation of this challenging perspective: “The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly.”

Psychology is one of the “fictions” of which Stevens speaks. It is a fiction which can be of great value to society if used in a wise and skillful manner and if used with full knowledge that it is only one of many fictions that help inform the complex human condition. The Professional School of Psychology was founded on the belief that mature women and men, who already have extensive, successful life experiences are those most likely to apply the concepts they have learned in a wise and skillful manner, while recognizing the equal validity of numerous other perspectives and claims to knowledge.

Given these factors, I hope you can better understand—and appreciate—the reasons why I continue to find my involvement in The Professional School of Psychology to be a sustaining source of both joy and challenge. PSP provides me with the continuing opportunity to serve the educational needs of mature and accomplished adults throughout the world.

William Bergquist Ph.D.