Carlos Albizu University
|President||José I. Pons Madera, Ph.D.|
|Provost||Julio Santana Mariño, Ph.D. (Provost, San Juan Campus), Etiony Aldarondo, Ph.D. (Provost, Miami Campus)|
|Location||San Juan (Puerto Rico), Mayagüez (Puerto Rico), Miami (Florida)|
Albizu University is a private, non-profit university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of psychology, education, speech and language, criminal justice, ESOL, and human services. With the main campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a branch campus in Miami, Florida, and an additional instructional location in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, the university provides professional training that is relevant and responsive to the mental health needs of multicultural communities and supports culturally sensitive research that contributes to and helps grow the professions of psychology, health, education, and human services.
The university’s history began in 1966, when a renowned Puerto Rican psychologist and educator, Dr. Carlos Albizu-Miranda, founded the Instituto Psicológico de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Institute of Psychology) in response to the need for culturally sensitive professional training in the area of clinical psychology. At the time, there were no graduate programs in clinical psychology in Puerto Rico. Mental health professionals were trained abroad and returned to their home country with the challenge of adapting what they had learned to fit the sociocultural realities of a Hispanic community. Dr. Albizu-Miranda himself received his training at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and incurred the same difficulties of incorporating what he had learned into the culture of the island upon returning home to Puerto Rico. He hoped to address the need for multicultural professional training in psychology with the establishment of the institute.
Recognizing a parallel need for multicultural training in clinical psychology in Southern Florida, which has a large Hispanic population, Dr. Albizu-Miranda opened the Miami Institute of Psychology in Miami, Florida, in 1980. In January 2000, the two main campuses were merged under the shared name Carlos Albizu University in honor of their founder, becoming the first institution in North America to be named after a Hispanic. Today, they are commonly known as Albizu University and continue the tradition of offering programs, both in theory and practice, that stay true to addressing and honoring the multicultural heritages found in both Puerto Rico and South Florida.
Albizu University has two campuses; the main campus in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and a branch campus in Miami, Florida. There is a third, instructional, location in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
San Juan Campus
Located in the heart of Puerto Rico’s capital city, the San Juan campus set a precedent as the first independent professional school of psychology in North America. Originally called the Puerto Rico Institute of Psychology, Dr. Albizu-Miranda modeled the university after institutes of psychology in Europe where practice and internship coexisted. Now, over 50 years since its founding, the San Juan campus has over 1,000 students and has expanded to include two on-campus training clinics: the Clínica de Salud Mental de la Comunidad (Community Mental Health Clinic) and the Clínica de Patología del Habla y Lenguaje (Speech and Language Pathology Clinic).
The Community Mental Health Clinic
The Community Mental Health Clinic (CMHC) is a training clinic on the campus of Albizu University in San Juan, Puerto Rico. An active clinic that provides culturally sensitive mental health services to low income and minority clients in San Juan and surrounding communities, CMHC also serves as a practicum and internship site for Albizu University graduate students.
Speech and Language Pathology Clinic
Based at Albizu University’s San Juan campus, the Speech and Language Pathology Clinic provides culturally sensitive care in the areas of autism, dysphagia, motor-speech disorders, neurological impairments, hearing impairments, cognitive disabilities, and developmental disorders. Graduate students from the university’s M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology program work closely with licensed and certified pathologists to provide care to a diverse population while gaining clinical experience.
Located in the Miami, Florida, metropolitan area, the Miami campus offers over 30 undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs in the fields of psychology, education, business, speech and language, English as a second language, criminal justice, and human services. Known as the “Gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean,” Miami has one of the largest multi-ethnic populations in the United States, thus providing the perfect environment to support Albizu University in its mission to offer culturally sensitive training to a diverse population in an area with a wide range of practical training sites.
The Goodman Psychological Services Center
Founded in 1980, The Goodman Psychological Services Center (GPSC), was established with the purpose of providing quality, culturally sensitive, mental health services to low-income, minority, clients in Southern Florida. Sponsored by Albizu University, the Goodman Center is also a practicum site housing four training programs; the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program, the M.S. in Psychology program with a major in Marriage and Family Therapy, the M.S. in Speech and Language Pathology program, and the GPSC Doctoral Internship Consortium Program.
Since its inception, the Goodman Center has provided care to nearly 10,000 people of all ages in communities that are typically underserved due to factors such as financial hardship, limited or no insurance coverage, and lack of proficiency in the English language. In addition to the mental health services provided at the center, the Goodman Center is contracted by Miami-Dade County Public Schools to conduct psychoeducational evaluations for both private referrals and a host of community agencies, including the Florida Department of Families and Children and other health centers.
In addition to partnering with the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the Goodman Center has also established a close relationship with Camillus House, a long-standing community center in Miami-Dade County that provides humanitarian services to the poor and homeless. Through its Doctoral Internship Consortium Program, Albizu provides eight full-time internship spots per year—six at the Goodman Center and two at Camillus House—to clinical psychology doctoral students. In the past, these internships were available only to Albizu University students. This year, for the first time, the internships will be available on a national level to all graduate students who come from an APA-accredited clinical psychology doctoral program.
Mayagüez University Center 
In January 2015, Albizu opened an extension in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. Under the jurisdiction of the San Juan Campus, the location was created to provide academic offerings and clinical services to the western region of Puerto Rico. Known as the Mayagüez University Center, the facility is much smaller than the other two campuses, with degrees offered exclusively in the fields of psychology and speech and language pathology. With an on-site clinic, the Center is also able to offer students clinical practice while providing health services to the community.
The Mayagüez University Center is located in the heart of the city of Mayagüez. Known as an intellectual mecca, the city houses a number of museums, historic buildings, an array of colleges and universities, and a large student population. In recognition of the cultural and linguistic diversity found not only in Mayagüez but in Puerto Rico as a whole, the Center adopted both Spanish and English as official languages. Though students primarily speak Spanish, they are expected to have adequate reading, writing, and conversational skills in English as well. On occasion, if enough students express interest, teachers will instruct entire classes in English.
Ranked as one of the nation’s top Hispanic-serving institutions specializing in human behavior science, Albizu attracts a student body committed to preparing themselves to work in community-oriented fields. With curriculums carefully designed to promote cultural sensitivity in today’s diverse society, students are able to choose from over 30 degree and certificate programs, with the largest number of offerings being in the field of psychology.
Over half of the programs offered at Albizu are for degrees in psychology, and students are able to select from certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs with a wide range of specializations that include marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, school counseling, industrial/organizational psychology, child psychology, and clinical psychology.
When Albizu was founded in the late 1960s, Dr. Albizu-Miranda’s blueprint was to create a school offering a master’s degree in clinical psychology that would foster the development of therapeutic processes sensitive to cultural and class differences. At first, there were only 20 students and a handful of teachers committed to the pioneer institution. Over time, the clinical psychology program gained momentum and became the inaugural program at all three locations. To this day, it continues to be the most extensive program that Albizu offers.
Today, all of the psychology programs emphasize cultural and ethnic sensitivity, in recognition of Albizu’s origins as an institution built on the belief that a multicultural society is best served by professionals who are culturally competent and inclusive. In the classroom, where a majority of the professors are practicing mental health professionals, students are taught the intricacies of a multicultural society from the real-world experience and examples provided by their professors. Outside of the classroom, students gain hands-on exposure at over 100 practicum sites that between them offer experience with a wide range of psychological disorders and clinical environments.
Albizu University has numerous clubs and organizations to encourage student involvement in larger communities. Opportunities range from organizations exclusive to Albizu, such as the Student Council, to associations that operate on a national or international level and welcome Albizu students to participate as campus representatives.
Of the clubs and organizations offered to Albizu students, there is a fairly even balance between those hosted by the university and those that represent outside associations. Of the outside associations, some of the most notable with chapters at Albizu include The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), The Society for Military Psychology, and The International Honor Society in Psychology: Psi Chi. All offer students the opportunity to have a voice on a national to international level and to advocate on behalf of the science and practice of psychology through events including panel discussions, fundraisers, and walks to raise awareness for different causes such as suicide amongst veterans.
Of the clubs and organizations exclusive to Albizu, one of the most prominent is the Student Council. The student-governed council works to encourage, build, and maintain strong connections between students, academic faculty, and the administrative staff in order to foster a positive learning environment. It gives students a platform to express ideas and be actively involved in their academic community.
- "Featured Psychologist: Carlos Albizu Miranda, PhD". Retrieved 2017-01-10.
- University, Albizu. "Albizu University > Our Clinics > Community Mental Health Clinic". www.albizu.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-19.
- importer (2013-03-20). "Miami: Innovation Gateway to Latin America". U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
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