The Lynch School of Education will officially become the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at the "Partnering with School and Communities to Foster Human Development" symposium, hosted in the Murray Family Function Room of the Yawkey Center at 4 p.m.on Wednesday.
While the decision to change the school's name was announced this school year, the movement behind the change has existed for many years prior. According to Professor Penny Hauser-Cram, director of the Lynch School's Applied Psychology and Human Development program, there has been a push from the faculty to change the name for as long as she has been a professor here at BC, starting at least 30 years ago.
Although the Lynch School is primarily viewed as a school for students who want to become teachers, the scope of its academic programs encompasses far more—a message which the school seeks to get across with the addition of "human development" to the school's name.
According to Hauser-Cram, the faculty had noticed a trend that the school was receiving transfers seeking to major in applied psychology, but not as many direct applicants, and attributed it to the idea that people outside of the BC community did not know about the “broader intellectual base represented by psychology” in the Lynch School. As such, the faculty pushed for a new name that would better reflect the school’s multi-faceted identity to people applying to college.
Although the connection between education and applied psychology might not seem immediately apparent, the two fields complement each other very well. For those seeking to work with children, either as a teacher or counselor, knowledge of their development is central to working with them.
Furthermore, the study of applied psychology and human development can be applied more broadly than simply as a supplement to education. Hauser-Cram characterized the field as studying the “systems that affect human development, in addition to the psychology behind it.” Many students studying applied psychology have gone on to careers in social advocacy and community work.
Not only will the change hopefully help draw more applicants by broadcasting the variety of academic opportunities the school offers, but it will also better reflect the nature of a Lynch School graduate’s academic work on their degree, which would be especially important when applying for graduate school or a job. Further, the name change honors the work of those in the applied psychology and human development programs, whose contributions had been long overlooked.
In addition to the official name unveiling on Wednesday, there will be a smaller naming ceremony for the Lynch School community on Friday.