More than four decades ago, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology opened its doors to offer graduate education in psychology to students who wanted to make a real difference in their communities. Grounded in the precepts of both William James and John Dewey, the school’s pedagogy integrated client field work with classroom studies from day one. Experiential education, social responsibility, and personal growth were then, and are now, the values by which the school grew.
A testament to the school’s faculty, alumni, and impact, this growth was without benefit of focused recruitment, attention to fundraising, or management of its brand. We were brought in to advance all. And during our investigative work we learned of the deep dissatisfaction with the school’s name. We also learned that the president had been (secretly) looking for an opportunity to re-name the school.
These threads came together, and in May of 2015 we launched William James College, named after the father of modern, applied psychology. James was an educator, innovator, advocate, and influencer—all roles that William James College students, faculty, and alumni embrace and embody today.
Informed by a thorough and ongoing engagement with the school’s different stakeholders, we collaborated to create a new identity, and developed the strategy, messaging, and design system that we deployed across new recruitment materials, website—and the school’s first capital campaign.
Renaming a school can be perilous. With Sametz Blackstone’s help we were able to engage our entire community, educate people to new possibilities, and propel our school forward.
The ease with which the Sametz team affiliated with others I cannot overstate—taking leadership roles and partnership roles with equal ease and expertise. They not only delivered above expectations in the areas they were retained for, their contributions went way beyond, taking into account others’ jobs and needs so that all were part of a positive process. They showed an unusual gift in their ability to engage our complex values, needs, and organization.
Dr. Nicholas Covino, President, William James College