Last Friday March 8, 2019, Argosy University closed. My colleague, Ray Barrett, and I were scheduled to hold a 6 hour telemental health training at the Argosy Atlanta campus that day. Thanks to a former colleague and Argosy professor, I received notice on Wednesday evening (1.5 days before the event), which gave us one day to find another setting (and we did). While Ray and I were inconvenienced, it is nothing compared to the challenge faced by many of my former colleagues and friends who were professors or instructors in the final months before the school closed. Our inconvenience (Ray’s and mine) doesn’t compare to that of the displaced students…some mid-way through their internship or dissertation process.
My Argosy Affiliation
I was an adjunct faculty member at Argosy Atlanta for 10 years. I stopped teaching there in 2015 and some of the last students I taught graduated at the end of 2018. While I knew the school was having problems over the last few years, I never imagined it would close its doors less than 3 months into the new year.
Argosy Atlanta has a large community of alumni in the fields of education, counseling and psychology. I count myself among those alumni. I graduated from the Georgia School of Professional Psychology in 1998. It was part of the American Schools of Professional Psychology, which at some point became Argosy University. I began my master’s degree right after finishing my bachelors in psychology at Clemson University in South Carolina. Like many large undergraduate institutions, it has a lot of alumni engagement around sports. I am a proud Clemson alum, however beyond a few very close friends I met there and celebrating the occasional big game win in my living room, I have very little or no ties to the institution.
My Professional Community and Tribe
However, my ties to Argosy were and are greater and long lasting. My studies there led to every aspect of my career now. My closest adulthood friends were made during my time there. I was hired to teach there and developed professional relationships and friendships with many faculty over the years. I mentored students there and even supervised some former students to licensure as professional counselors. Even after I stopped teaching at Argosy, I came back to facilitate professional development training for faculty and affiliates. I gave lunch and learn talks for students to help them in their post graduate journey toward licensure. Then in recent years, I hosted continuing education events there for telemental health training. In short, Argosy was part of my professional home. The fact that there is no one there to go and visit and there will never be any students in what were once vibrant classrooms is a lot to digest.
The Students…The Faculty…The Graduates
Like many people, I’m concerned about the students who were in the program when it closed. I am also concerned about my colleagues who were on faculty. They are dedicated professionals, they enrich the professional organizations to which they belong and they taught and mentored many students. I am sure some will continue to teach and others will perhaps for now focus on private practice or other clinical endeavors. Some faculty were closer to the beginning of their careers as counselor educators while others were closer to the middle or end.
I am concerned about the graduates, both the recent grads and the long term grads. Who will they/we contact when we need an official transcript for a licensing board or employer etc…? How will the closing of our alma mater impact our professional identities? Does the closing of one’s school impact the professional reputations of its graduates? What happens for those who still have unfinished business with the school; for example, those waiting to receive their official diplomas?
I don’t have any advice to give. I only have questions and a sense of loss. My questions aren’t about what happened. There are plenty of articles and news reports about what happened. My concern is about what’s next. What is next for the 100’s of thousands of folks impacted by the loss of an academic and professional home?
Copyright © 2019 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.