Manal Guirguis-Younger, Ph.D., recently joined Adler University as Director of the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program in Vancouver. She comes from Saint Paul University, a small institution in Ontario with a strong focus on social justice, and has served in many roles, including professor, graduate studies director, dean of faculty, and researcher. We welcome Dr. Guirguis-Younger who shared her journey and goals for the Vancouver Psy.D. program with us.
What attracted you to Adler University?
There is a very strong alignment of values between the framework of Adler University and my research and values. Especially, in terms of the openness to questions of social justice and also in educating, working, and training in an environment that is sensitive to social justice. I am a strong believer that education has a lot of the solutions that we are looking for [in the world]. I think understanding, education, and awareness breed compassion and a sense of mission toward change.
I think that one of the reasons I was attracted to Adler University is because we are not just graduating people who are competent. They have the skills, but we’re also graduating people who know how to work with individuals and with systems. They bring what they know to those systems to build equitable services into places where no one has gone before to help people who really need it.
What has been your initial impression of the University?
I think the Adler community lives up to its reputation. It’s a very welcoming community. Very supportive. Everyone has done their part in trying to orient me, making me feel comfortable and helping me learn my job. I am very proud as I review the program, to see how strong it is. This is a program that has been built well.
What are you most looking forward to in your new role?
My training is in clinical psychology, so I’m looking forward to lead in this area and to make sure our students not only have the confidence, but know our values and their values—and how they are going to interpret those values in their professional life. A program like this is continuously evolving. It cannot be static. It needs leadership that is open minded and keeps moving forward.
What are your goals for the Psy.D. program?
My colleagues and I are constantly working to perfect the program—and I can tell that they have done that before I arrived and I can see the willingness to continue to do that. We all have the desire to ensure that students get the best and the strongest training possible here at Adler University.
Why is social justice important to you?
I think, it’s not hard to see that we are in turbulent times and that, in a way, humanity is at the crossroads. We have to make a choice for the future—for future generations and for ourselves. I don’t think any of us can be OK in a world that is plagued with injustice. I think that people who are aware, have a responsibility to make sure they live those values and transmit them to future changers.
So to be in a position to take those values and infuse them into educating people who will be supporting others with their mental health and coping, to me, that is a great privilege and it gives me hope.