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Adler University


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Since 1952, a singular idea has consistently driven our curricula, training, and community work. That key guiding idea is Alfred Adler's groundbreaking concept of social interest or gemeinschaftsgefühl – the idea that our health resides in our community live and connections. Today's idea is more necessary than ever to drive the work and change most needed in challenged communities around the world.
In 1952, Rudolf Dreikurs and his colleagues established our institution as the Alfred Adler Institute in Chicago—to train practitioners to apply Adler's idea of social interest or gemeinschaftsgefühl. Adler was the first to focus on wellness in the community context. He advanced the revolutionary idea that responsible practitioners must advocate changing the social conditions that affect population health and wellbeing.
Today, Adler University continues this work to graduate students as socially responsible practitioners—educated to be effective personal and social change agents in the pursuit of justice. Across multiple disciplines and fields that impact population wellbeing, our alumni are changing the world. Our students come to us to learn how.
Our faculty are practitioners, scholars, activists, and mentors who bring a range of experiences and perspectives on social justice and expertise to the classroom—through our Chicago, Vancouver, and Online Campuses. They regularly rethink and improve our pedagogy as the University builds new academic programs to meet emerging social needs. Programs such as our first-of-its-kind Doctor of Couple and Family Therapy, preparing expert practitioners in a field of growing demand.
Our Master in Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy in Vancouver is British Columbia's only such program, preparing counselors to guide individuals and communities to greater wellbeing through art as social action.
Our faculty and students—along with our Institute and Centers—are pursuing and producing original work on social issues, including immigration and detention, social exclusion, the social determinants of mental health, LGBTQ mental health, and parenting. More than 600 agencies—and counting—are partnering with the Adler University as community practica and internship sites for our students, enabling our specialized preparation for work with underserved and marginalized populations.
Our challenge—just as Alfred Adler saw it at the turn of the last century, and just as our founders saw it more than 65 years ago—is to continue preparing practitioners who can address the world's alarming health inequities and social injustices.
Adler University continues the pioneering work of the first community psychologist Alfred Adler by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice. Alfred Adler began community psychology by articulating the constructs of gemeinschaftsgefühl (social interest or the connection between individual and community well being) and systemic/structural community intervention (such as preventative public health measures).
The leading academic institution advancing socially responsible practice, healthy communities, and more just society.
The Vision is for Adler University to be the "leading" or premier higher education organization addressing socially responsible practice and its concomitants – locally, regionally, and globally – a unique resource for broadening consistent practice, effecting social justice, understanding policy, initiating advocacy, promoting academic reflection, and producing social action and change.
The three external outcomes of the Vision are aligned with the three outcomes of the Mission. Socially responsible practice is central to Adler University's Mission and Vision. It is the extension of Alfred Adler's original ideas regarding the need for a more equal, cooperative, and just society, as well as his revolutionary ideas regarding the potential for activism among health professionals to address social challenges. The University's faculty defined and operationalized the competency of socially responsible practice, with expected knowledge, attitudes, and skills acquired through specific curricular experiences and evaluated through milestones, for graduate programs in clinical psychology, counseling, family therapy, organizational consultation, art therapy, police psychology, and several related disciplines and applications of psychology.
We will continue to build a culture of high performance. To ensure leadership in the changing global context, we will support high performance in learning, scholarship, technology, financial management, and organizational processes. We will train, inform, and empower staff, faculty, and leadership by motivating and rewarding high performance and providing opportunities for professional development and advancement. We will be an international magnet for the next generation of intellectual and professional leaders. With each graduate program demonstrating distinction and increased support for programs that have achieved recognition, we will be known as a world-class institution for advanced studies related to social responsibility, healthy communities, and social justice.
We are a practitioner school that is practical and applied. We apply scholarship and theory to practice. Our work can be observed in the surrounding communities in which we live, learn, and practice. We are out to change the world for the better. Our organizational practices are effective, efficient, and focused on outcomes. We set goals and achieve them.
Today, Adler University offers 20 graduate-level programs enrolling more than 1,200 students at campuses in Chicago, Vancouver, and online. In addition to education and training in psychological theory, science, and practice, students complete a range of required and elective experiences beyond traditional practitioner training. The University's mission-driven curricula have earned national and international recognition.
As the oldest independent psychology school in North America, Adler University continues the pioneering work of Alfred Adler by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities, and advancing social justice.

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