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About the Graduate School

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The Educational Benefits of Diversity

At its best, liberal education empowers students intellectually to understand the complex geopolitical, socioeconomic, ethical, and technological challenges confronting humanity at this juncture in history. Numerous studies grounded in the principles and methods of social psychology indicate that this intellectual transformation happens most effectively in a learning environment where personal interactions, both in the classroom and generally around campus, promote open discussion of new ideas and exposure to social environments previously unknown to students. These studies demonstrate that cognitive development is measurably and permanently enhanced in students who in the course of their daily lives have frequent and intense interactions with others whose backgrounds and whose world views are profoundly different from their own. This growing body of scholarly work also shows that all students in a diverse social environment engage more effectively in discussions about complex issues, becoming more adept at understanding multiple perspectives and more capable of critical thinking in ways that will enhance the quality of their lives and their success within their careers long after graduation.

Lewis & Clark is an institution of liberal learning that aims to educate its students for successful and fulfilling lives in their chosen fields of endeavor. To honor this promise, Lewis & Clark gives its students the opportunity to engage actively and critically in dialog informed by those richly diverse cultural traditions that constitute our American heritage. Therefore, the institution explicitly acknowledges and affirms its conviction that diversity with respect to race, ethnicity, national origin, socioeconomic background, religious orientation or spirituality, physical or sensory disability, gender, and sexual orientation on the Lewis & Clark campuses provides an educational benefit for all students that can be realized only by enhancing and preserving the presence of students and education professionals from diverse backgrounds within our learning community. In creating and sustaining such a community, we engage, to the extent possible, in practices that will ensure a high degree of diversity on our campuses, simultaneously meeting the highest standards of academic excellence of which we are capable.

History of the Graduate School

While Lewis & Clark has educated teachers and counselors since its earliest days, issuing master’s degrees in education beginning in 1948, the Graduate School of Education and Counseling in its present form dates from 1984. That year, graduate programs were consolidated into a single administrative unit and faculty collaborated on a unified vision for educating students and joining together as a community of scholars and learners. Through this vision, the Graduate School of Education and Counseling has supported the mission of Lewis & Clark by educating thoughtful leaders, innovative decision makers, and agents of positive change in the fields of education and counseling—leaders who actively engage with the communities they serve.

The graduate school was originally housed in the Albany Quadrangle on the undergraduate campus. In 2000, the Graduate Campus (formerly South Campus) was created to bring faculty and students together in both a community and physical location dedicated to the professional fields represented in the school. The Graduate Campus consists of administrative, classroom, and event space in four buildings: Rogers Hall, the York Graduate Center, the historic Corbett House (currently closed in anticipation of renovation), and the South Chapel.

The 18-acre site of the graduate campus was acquired in 2000 from the Sisters of St. Francis, who used it from 1943 until its sale to Lewis & Clark. The Sisters purchased the property from the family of Hamilton and Harriet Corbett, one of Portland’s founding families, who built the Corbett estate in 1929. It was known as Our Lady of Angels Convent. Though Lewis & Clark is religiously unaffiliated, this history of ownership explains the stained glass and other religious details that observant visitors will notice across campus. The graduate school is proud to carry on the tradition of deep reflection and commitment to learning and the welfare of others that the Sisters originally brought to the site.

In 2012, the graduate school opened a community counseling clinic on Barbur Boulevard, near downtown Portland. A state-of-the-art training facility for graduate students, the Community Counseling Center also serves the greater Portland community by providing low-cost counseling to individuals, couples, and families. In its first year of operations, the clinic served nearly 500 clients.

Community Engagement

The Graduate School of Education and Counseling works in collaboration with community partners to address critical community needs in education and mental health through the Center for Community Engagement. Through these partnerships, we strive to enhance the effectiveness of education and mental health professionals as agents of change; support the self-organizing capacities of groups, organizations and communities working toward social justice; and help meet the educational and mental health needs of marginalized communities with a commitment to address issues of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, power, privilege, language, and ability. The center builds and supports alliance and networks, creates connections with social service organization and schools, and seeks out, explores, and reflects the diversity that exists within communities. Connecting theory and practice, we prepare a cadre of new education and mental health change agents by integrating outreach into graduate coursework and involving graduate students in outreach activities.

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