The Lynch School of Education is changing its name to the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, effective this January.
Dean of Lynch Stanton Wortham said that the name change reflects the fact that there is a large counseling, developmental, and educational psychology (CDEP) department in the Lynch School. While around 10 to 15 percent of faculty work in this area at most education schools, 30 percent of the Lynch faculty work in the CDEP department. The area has become increasingly popular among undergraduates over the last few years—the applied psychology major is now the ninth largest at BC, according to last year’s BC Fact Book.
“Students have found [applied psychology] to be an attractive mix of basic academic understanding but also application to things they might think about doing in the future,” Wortham said. “And [with] the Lynch School of Education as the name, people couldn’t see it. They couldn’t see that that was a crucial part of the school in the same way—so a lot of the faculty in that area felt as if they were a little bit invisible.”
Wortham noted that there have often been students who didn’t know about the applied psychology work being done in Lynch upon their arrival at BC, but once they discovered it, became very interested. Some students, however, weren’t finding out about the program until too late in their college careers.
“The name change is partly to recognize we have this large, talented, important group of faculty who do applied psychology and human development, and that group of people—in the counseling area, in the developmental psychology area—need to be recognized,” Wortham said.
The name change does not necessarily mean there are going to be any major developments in the CDEP area of Lynch, according to Wortham, but the department will probably hire a couple more faculty members as more students become interested in it.
He also said it is important to note that “education” still comes first in the name, as this area is still critical to Lynch—none of the work the school does in preparing students to become teachers or educational professionals is going to be eliminated.
“It’s not meant at all to take away from all the other work we do in educational leadership, in higher education, in teacher education, in curriculum and instruction—those are all critical areas that we continue to be expert in and to welcome students into,” he said.
Another reason behind the name change is the school’s new emphasis on formative education and the understanding of how humans develop as whole people, according to Wortham. Traditionally, education has focused on helping students learn material and acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary for a job. Wortham noted that while these things are important, there is also an increasing recognition in the education world of the fact that kids are whole people—who have emotional states and spiritual needs, as well as undergo moral development and challenges.
Lynch uses a whole-person approach to education, which includes understanding how kids deal with moral challenges and puzzles, develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and struggle with emotional issues as they develop, according to Wortham.
“The ‘human development’ term reflects both the expertise in psychology that we have as a faculty, but it also reflects this notion of human development,” he said. “If you emphasize the adjective ‘human’ then there’s a sense of, we’re thinking about whole human beings, whole people, as our focus here. And in that way, it’s not just one department that does that. The whole school is embracing that as a mission.”
Featured Image by Kaitlin Meeks / Heights Editor