Media Advisory/Press Release
Dr. Erik Gregory is new Director of Organizational and Leadership Psychology at MSPP
Will Create Unique Doctoral Program to Foster Leaders for 21st Century!
August 2011–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–Dr. Erik Gregory, an expert in “positive psychology,” is bringing his understanding of human courage, optimism, and resiliency to a new role as Director of the Organizational and Leadership Psychology program at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). In the newly created position, which he began this summer, he oversees master’s degree programs in organizational psychology and executive coaching and will soon launch a new doctoral program in Leadership Psychology, which he believes is the first of its kind in the country.
Living organisms must learn to adapt in positive ways to loss and change to survive and thrive and so must leaders and their “living organizations,” according to Gregory. “Leaders who understand this Darwinian principle can help their organizations weather storms and continue to prosper and grow. And by organization I mean any group gathered together for a common purpose, including families, communities, corporations, states and countries.”
Gregory believes, that his program will offer students (and ultimately the organizations and leaders they work with) something that is vitally needed in a world under great economic and political stress and change. “There are many excellent organizational development programs in business and management schools, but none that I am aware of equip students with the depth of training in human behavior and positive psychology that this will,” says Gregory.
Positive psychology is a school of psychological theory and practice that is concerned with an individual’s ability to recognize his or her strengths, courage and resiliency and muster those qualities for socially constructive change.
“In the very complex world of the 21st century, organizations need to be innovative and resilient in order to survive. By simply balancing workload, skills and challenges, Volvo and Ford, as examples, have made great improvements with very little intervention,” according to Gregory.
Gregory came to MSPP this summer after completing a distinguished fellowship at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. As a Littauer Fellow Master in Public Administration, he had the opportunity to work with the Public Diplomacy Collaborative and Shorenstein Center of Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard to explore 21st century models of leadership.
Before his focus on leadership, Gregory, who has a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration and Human Development and Psychology from Harvard, worked as a clinician. His clients included cancer patients, refugees and even child stars within the entertainment industry. Over the years, he also became an expert in media psychology and is the executive director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Boston.
MSPP is a perfect place, according to Gregory, for him to apply what he has learned as a clinician and as a leadership change consultant to foster the next generation of professionals committed to creating leaders for the modern world. “MSPP is already a flexible and vibrant organization itself and is open to new ideas and challenges, and it has a superb reputation for psychology training,” he says.
He hopes that the new doctoral program will attract professionals from all over the world. “This program will allow international students to attend intensive study sessions in Boston and then return to their countries and organizations to consult with, guide, motivate and shape the quality of leadership, continuing their studies online. He envisions these students coming from and returning to a broad range of organizations, including non-profit, for-profit, educational, philanthropic, NGOs, educational, and public administration.
Gregory intends to involve influential leaders from Boston and across the country in the development and implementation of the program. He hopes they will “accept our invitation to be guest lecturers and mentors,” he says. “I also hope they will offer their own organizations as field sites for our doctoral candidates.”
According to Gregory, the new doctoral program is currently accepting applications for the first entering class in September 2012.
Says President Nicholas Covino, “We are very lucky to have a professional as experienced as Erik heading up this new program and the whole area of organizational psychology. So many of us take on leadership roles without understanding what being a good leader really entails. Erik’s program will help develop true leaders and also consultants who can work with leaders to tap their natural abilities. We are very excited about his enlightened and innovative plans for this program.”
About MSPP—Founded in 1974, MSPP has created and offered a unique approach to doctoral training for psychologists focusing on the immediate integration of clinical experience with academic studies. The school’s mission is to bring benefits of psychological training to other areas of American society, including schools, the workplace and the courts.