Saybrook explores ‘Identity in Context’ study abroad course and trek to South Africa

By Shamontiel Vaughn

TCS International (TCS) brings together five universities—The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law, Pacific Oaks College, Dallas Nursing Institute, and Saybrook University—for a cross-disciplinary, three-month course and 10-day, study abroad experience in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Saybrook faculty Dr. Theopia Jackson discusses ways to enrich this experience.



Saybrook University is offering the opportunity for faculty and students to travel to Cape Town and Johannesburg for 10 days as part of a three-month online course called “Identity in Context: Examination of South Africa.” The Fall 2018 interdisciplinary course will offer participants the opportunity to learn more about psychological, social, educational, legal, and health care perspectives from other working professionals and students with the help of TCS Education.

Dr. Theopia Jackson
Dr. Theopia Jackson

“The United States as a whole should embrace becoming comfortable traveling outside of its own shores in greater numbers,” says Dr. Theopia Jackson, who will be making her second trip to South Africa as Saybrook’s Department Chair for the Clinical Psychology program. “Most of the world moves this way. A course like this is the first step in learning that the more we travel abroad, the better we understand our own identities and who we are in relation to the rest of the world.”

As a member of The Association of Black Psychologists, Dr. Jackson’s first trip to South Africa was accompanied by members attending the first Pan-African Psychology Union (PAPU) in Durban. She interfaced with several traditional healers, also called Sangomas, as well as diverse African scholars across the diaspora. One inspiring part of her trip was traveling with Dr. Wade Nobles, the co-founder of ABPsi and a renowned scholar in Black Psychology. She also collaborated with members of the Forum of African Psychology (FAP), the South African counterpart of ABPsi.

Summarizing the trip as a “spiritually enlightening experience,” Dr. Jackson learned more about African culture and Maafa (the trans-Atlantic slave trade).

“With this cross-disciplinary trip, and my second trip to Africa, we will not only have the opportunity to expand our worldviews as psychologists but also coalesce as our own collective community. As a psychologist, I clearly understand and believe that everything we do has a psychological basis or component to it. Even as an attorney or medical provider, you should understand the psychology that informs litigation or health practices. Saybrook provides a wonderful example of cross-disciplinary learning, and the degree programs are grounded in  humanistic principles that are person-centered, client-centered, and provide holistic leadership and management skills.”

The online course, which is scheduled to run from October 5, 2018 to December 16, 2018, has a sign-up deadline of August 1, 2018. Topics in the course will include acculturation and impact on families; cultural competency; advocacy; legal aspects; and mental health.

Faculty leads representing each school include Dr. Marcia Bankirer, the dean of Pacific Oaks’ San Jose, California campus; Dr. Iris Hobson, an ADN instructor for Dallas Nursing Institute; Jason Dominguez, J.D., an adjunct faculty member for The Colleges of Law’s Master of Legal Studies program; Dr. Cynthia Langtiw, an associate professor in The Chicago School’s Clinical Psychology department; and Dr. Jackson.

Last year, a Saybrook alumna and TCSPP faculty and students also participated in a 10-day trip to South Africa during the Online Ed.D. in Educational Psychology and Technology course.

This will be the second cross-study course for TCS Education System colleges. The first trip that all five universities participated in was a trip to Berlin, Germany for the “Immigration in Context: Examination of Germany” course in 2016.



For more information on the “Identity in Context: Examination of South Africa” course and/or to sign up, click here.