Rumors were circulating last month that The Chicago School of Psychology Xavier would be closing. The Times asked officials from the school about these rumors and on June 6, 2023, Vivien Hao, Public Relations Manager, provided a statement.
“The Chicago School’s New Orleans clinical psychology program will not be accepting new students starting Fall of 2023. University officials said several factors went into this decision, including future enrollment projections,” noted Ms. Hao.
“The University emphasizes all current students will continue to be supported towards completion of their programs, regardless of whether they decide to stay or transfer to another The Chicago School campus,” she wrote.
“The Chicago School’s leadership team is evaluating the long-term future of the New Orleans program in consultation with the American Psychological Association,” Hao said.
The American Psychological Association (APA) currently lists The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, New Orleans (Clinical PsyD) as “Accredited, on contingency,” with the next site visit scheduled for 2023.
The first class of doctoral students started at The Chicago School of Professional at Xavier in 2015.
The effort was innovative in a number of ways, including getting a head start on aligning with new standards for “Health Service Psychologists” to be approved by the American Psychological Association.
The Xavier based program is also innovative because it focused on applied clinical psychology specifically for the diverse and multicultural context in south Louisiana, and on “growing PsyD Psychologists here,” explained Dr. Christoph Leonhard in a previous interview, the then department Chair. “We developed the program to meet the needs of local social service providers of psychological services and of the community,” he said, “and frankly, to provide culturally competent services by people who understand this community, which is a very unique place in many ways.”
The program organizers said, at the time, that they limited their recruitment to students inside Louisiana. The hope was to grow PsyD psychologists here, and who will remain here, in order to serve the sometimes unique needs of the Louisiana culture. “Studies indicate that newly graduated psychologists who have to leave the state to get an advanced degree do not return,” said Leonhard previously. “So the emphasis of this program is to educate and train our own.”
To help them reach this goal, Leonhard and his colleagues created an Advisory Committee of local professionals, including two area psychologists, the late Dr. Janet Matthews and Dr. Michele Larzelere.
Dr. Kelli Johnson took over as Department Chair in 2018 and more recently, Dr. Margaret Smith serves as Department Chair. Current faculty members Dr. Richard Niolon, Dr. J. Michael Bradley and Dr. Adriana Pena.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is a private university with its main campus in Chicago, Illinois. Established in 1979, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology was primarily focused on the professional application of psychology. It currently has about 6,000 students across all campuses and online, according to its .
Louisiana State University (LSU) hosts the only other clinical psychology doctoral program accredited by APA in Louisiana. LSU also offers an accredited school psychology doctoral
program. Louisiana Tech University offers an accredited counseling doctoral program and Tulane is accredited for their school psychology program.