Media Advisory/Press Release
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology to move to Newton: New State-of-the-Art Learning Environment is Culmination of a Decade of Revitalization and Growth
April 10, 2012–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–Leaders of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) have signed a lease with an option to purchase a six-story, 83,000-square-foot building at 1 Wells Avenue in Newton. Their plan is to transform the building into a 21st century learning environment and consolidate all the school's programs under one roof. The school currently occupies two buildings in West Roxbury, at 221 Rivermoor Street and 208 VFW Parkway, and the MSPP Freedman Center on Child and Family Development is at 225 Nevada Street in Newton.
The move to this new home in August 2012 will mark the culmination of a decade of growth that has more than quadrupled the student body, which is shifting from regional to more national and international in demographics. It has also increased the number of degree programs from one to eleven, the operating budget from $2.2 million to $20 million and the administrative staff and faculty from 42 to 137.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” says MSPP President Nicholas Covino, who considers the move to a new building as a transformational move that offers a dignified environment to match the dignity of the educational and social service work that happens at MSPP every day. “There is nothing more dramatic as giving a new home to a vibrant learning community,” he says.
To create a new home that will keep pace with the ongoing evolution of MSPP, the school has enlisted the expertise and guidance of Gensler, a global architecture, design and planning firm that specializes in educational and workplace environments. In recent years, Gensler has conducted worldwide research on trends in these settings, winning numerous awards for creating enlightened places to work and learn.
“Everyone at MSPP has been involved in the planning process,” says Todd Dundon, Project Architect at Gensler. His design team held focus groups with administrators, students, staff, board members and friends of the school, to develop a wish list.
“We asked big sky questions like; ‘What do you want the school to look like in five, ten, 20 years?’ We asked them to think not just quantitatively, but also qualitatively,” he says. From that process six elements emerged as essential, including a sense of community; a mix of functional, flexible and technology-rich spaces; a sustainable environment with access to natural light: an open and airy work environments: a connection to nature and the community: and a professional learning environment.
“The result is open and inviting and communal,” according to MSPP Vice President and CFO Patrick Capobianco, commenting on the designs. Capobianco has been searching for half a decade for the right place for the growing graduate school to relocate.
According to Dundon, “Learning happens in many places on campus, beyond the classroom. That is why we’ve created a mix of open and private spaces that feel like living rooms, cafes, and study areas, all equipped with white boards and other technology interspersed with classrooms. We believe this will encourage both structured and informal learning. A student can walk out of a classroom and bump into a professor, and, if they choose to sit and talk, they’ll also have technology available wherever they end up meeting,” he says.
About the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP): A singular mission drives MSPP to identify the mental health needs of the community and design educational programs, at all professional levels, to help create a workforce that can truly address those needs. Over the past ten years, MSPP has launched its Latino Mental Health program that immerses students in Latino language and culture, both in the US and in Latin America. It has also launched The Freedman Center for Childhood and Family development, purchased Wamlines, a social service agency in Newton, and created master’s and doctoral programs in School Psychology to meet a huge need for children’s services. The school’s Train Vets to Treat Vets program is unique in bringing students with military experience to train for mental health careers that will benefit other veterans and their families.
Today, in addition to a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, the school offers master’s degrees in Forensic Psychology, School Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Community Mental Health, Organizational Psychology, Executive Coaching, and Higher Education Student Personnel Administration. It also offers a doctorate in School Psychology and a doctorate in Leadership Psychology.
Early History of MSPP—MSPP was founded in 1974 during a movement to intensify the clinical training of psychologists, who, until that time, were being trained in PhD programs that focused on research and teaching rather than clinical patient-centered skills. The hallmark of MSPP is the integration of practical clinical experience in all aspects of training, beginning in the first weeks of a degree program.
About Gensler –Gensler is a global design, planning, and strategic consulting firm networked across 41 locations on five continents. Consistently ranked by U.S. and international industry surveys as the leading architecture and interior design firm, Gensler leverages its deep resources and diverse expertise to develop design solutions for industries across the globe. For its longstanding commitment to the advancement of sustainable design, Gensler received the Leadership Award from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2005. For more information, visit our website, www.gensler.com.