When most people think about international education, a School of Education may not be the first thing that comes to mind. At the University of Redlands, though, the School of Education launched an innovative, 40-unit Master’s in Counseling and Psychotherapy Program (MCPt) in 2020 in conjunction with the Hubei Oriental Insight Mental Health Institute (OI). Students take 27 units of coursework in China and then complete their program in a final, summer term on the U of R campus.
The pandemic prevented the arrival of our first cohort last summer, but I am excited to report that we will welcome approximately 15 students this April to complete the last phase of their program. We look forward to the mutual academic and cultural learning opportunities that will take place with the arrival of our MCPt students and select OI faculty and staff. At all levels of the Chinese educational system, for example, there are class monitors –students in a class selected by their peers to support the teacher, be the class representative and so on. In the MCPt program, SOE faculty and staff are learning to work with class monitors to optimize students’ experiences. We look forward to discussing and learning about the similarities and differences of educational approaches from our colleagues.
School of Education professor emeritus, Rod Goodyear, an internationally recognized scholar, conceived of the program, in partnership with Dr. Guangrong Jiang, the founder of OI. They already were collaborators in a supervision training program OI runs for the Chinese Psychological Society’s Clinical and Counseling Psychology Registration System. Dr. Jiang had developed China’s first PhD program in clinical or counseling psychology, is a prolific scholar, and has worked with the Chinese Ministry of Education on initiatives to improve psychologist training. The MCPt program’s success also is made possible through the efforts of many dedicated staff and faculty at the University of Redlands and OI.
This MCPt program was developed to address a pressing need for quality counselor training in China, and in so doing, to provide a prototype that other counselor training programs might emulate. The program’s curriculum and the rigor of its clinical training are unique in China and are being implemented by a world class faculty. It is drawing excellent students, most of whom already hold graduate degrees (including doctorates) in other fields.
Professor Guangrong Jiang (third from left) with students
The program readily fits the SOE mission (Strengthen social and educational justice through student, staff, and faculty engagement). For example, the purpose of this program, is about “Leading systemic change” (a key SOE principle) to make a social impact in an area of social need (mental health).
Although the semester has just begun, we are already looking forward to the arrival of our MCPt students. The opportunity for SOE faculty, staff, and students to interact with and learn from our first cohort that will complete their U of R campus-based courses holds many possibilities. We hope to extend this opportunity to the greater university campus and our Redlands community!