AGS News | March 2019

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President's Corner

Over the last couple of months, I have been in the Applied Adlerian Psychology class Individual Psychology’s use of Encouragement taught by Rocky Garrison.  My instructor and classmates are making the class a great experience and relevant to not only our personal lives but to the life and Mission of our college: Preparing mental health and human service professionals with a strong Adlerian foundation to foster encouragement, collaboration, and a sense of belonging to the individuals, families, and culturally diverse communities they serve.

This experience has been so relevant to understanding the importance of encouragement, having positive beliefs, and knowing how to apply it to create healthy and happy lives within the context of social interest and belonging. This experience has also been reinforced by two events in the recent weeks.

The first is how AGS is helping and welcoming former Argosy students and supporting them to have courage to face what life has put in front of them with the closing of their school.  Adler (2004) defines courage as the “Real courage is always useful courage, and it is always courageous to meet the common problems of life” (p.31). As an Adlerian College, we respect the courage to be imperfect as people face the unknown, but we are a community that is welcoming and encouraging, supporting our new members to engage in social interest.  Welcome to the Argosy now Adler Graduate School Students.

The second event was the site visit by our regional accrediting body The Higher Learning Commission to evaluate our new campus.  They interviewed faculty staff and board members to not only ask about our new building but to evaluate whether we are fulfilling our mission, to evaluate our culture and give feedback on our quality assurance and assessment processes.  We are pleased to announce that they” confirmed “approval of the new campus based on evidence that the institution has the capacity to sustain quality at the campus and thus meets HLC expectations as defined in its Criteria.”  We are also thrilled to hear about some of their feedback, which affirmed our focus on our mission and being focused on belonging and encouragement.  They stated that: “Students interviewed had many positive comments regarding the responsiveness and helpfulness of staff members. Overall, the campus culture appeared to be very student-centered, and there is a significant amount of faculty and staff involvement in all of the school’s major initiatives.”   This was encouraging to hear, reinforcing what we are doing at AGS. We have implemented many initiative including full time faculty, student advising and program planning, program and curriculum assessment based on rubrics and learning outcomes, the move to portfolio-based final project, program specific student groups, and outside advisory groups, student success and writing services with online options, and an enhanced and engaged Alumni community, just to name a few.  We will be creating an assessment and accreditation page on the website where this report will be available for all to see.

Finally, we will continue to live our mission of creating a sense of belonging, fostering encouragement to the culturally diverse communities we serve.  I look forward to hearing from everyone about how we are doing and how you are being encouraged at AGS.

Adler, Alfred (2004). Courage. In Mark H. Stone & Karen A. Drescher (Eds.), Adler speaks: The lectures of Alfred Adler (pp. 30-36). New York: iUniverse.


Adler To Assist Argosy Students

Over the past few months, Argosy University students have found themselves concerned with recent news regarding their institution. While further details are yet to be revealed, Adler Graduate School is prepared to assist Argosy transfer students in completing their master’s degrees in counseling and psychotherapy.

“The situation is a perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate the core Adlerian value of Social interest. Social Interest in our Adlerian community is about helping anyone to succeed in their identified goals & purpose. Students from Argosy or any other institution would be welcomed into our culture of belonging, contributing, & safety to meet their personal and professional dreams.” -Doug Pelcak, Professional Development and School Service Center Coordinator

Jeffrey Allen, School President, and Rashida Fisher, Program Chair- Clinical Specialties (COD, CMHC, MFT) agree that these steps are necessary to help students in need, support the counseling community, and demonstrate our value of social interest. To offer assistance to Argosy transfer students, Adler Graduate School is working with the Minnesota Department of Education’s Transfer Pathways program.

Will Adler Accept Transfer Credits from Argosy Students?

Yes. Adler Graduate School welcomes transfer students from Argosy University who are currently in satisfactory academic status. Transfer credits will be awarded on a case-by-case basis of up to 50% of the credit requirements for the AGS master’s degree programs. Students with more than 50% of their coursework completed will be reviewed on a case by case basis for additional transfer credit. Additionally, Adler Graduate School will waive the enrollment fee from $150 to $50.

Interested in transferring to Adler Graduate School? Contact: 

Marcie Skoglund, Assistant Director of Admissions |


Accreditation and Assessment

By Solange Ribeiro

On February 4-5 Adler Graduate School (AGS) hosted the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) site visit team, who came to evaluate our new campus and to report to the HLC whether the new building and the services being offered were up to par with the old campus. After meeting with students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees, the site visit team reported their findings to the HLC, who forwarded their report to AGS early in March.

According to the report, “The Minnetonka facility is newer than the previous facility and is clearly meeting the needs of faculty, staff, and students”.

In the meantime, we continue to work assiduously on the self-study to be submitted to the HLC in August, in preparation to the re-accreditation visit expected to take place in November. As part of this effort we are examining all aspects of the college’s functioning, and there is one piece of data we would like to share with you today. As you know, AGS’ mission is “Preparing mental health professionals with a strong Adlerian foundation to foster encouragement, collaboration, and a sense of belonging to the individuals, families, and culturally diverse communities they serve”. An important part of this mission consists of recruiting and supporting a diverse student body. Data from Fall 2018 show that 17% of AGS’ student population identify as non-white (1.7% American Indian, 3.0% Asian, 3.0 % Hispanic/Latino, and 9.4% African American/Black), 83% are female, and student ages vary from 21 to 76. While the ethnic diversity matches that of MN and the predominance of females matches that of the counseling profession, we continue to make an intentional effort to increase the diversity of our student body, not only in terms of ethnicity and sex, but in all other ways, including religion, gender identity, and levels of ability. Any new ideas for targeted recruitment are appreciated.

Adler Graduate School is in its final year of participating in the Academy of Assessment for Student Learning Network through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Every 6 months we report our assessment progress to the HLC and receive feedback from our mentors. We have accomplished much since 2015. Here are some of our major accomplishments that resulted from being part of the Assessment Academy. First, we updated our Vision and Mission, confirmed our Core Values, and created clear and measurable Goals for our institution. These have become our guiding foundation in everything we are doing at Adler. Second, we mapped our entire curriculum to student learning outcomes, providing a developmental learning process for all students. Third, we began to measure if students are learning what we say they are learning. As many of you know, there are several assignments that are turned in via LiveText. This platform allows us to collect data and analyze if our instruction and assignments are appropriately measuring what we think students are learning. Forth, we completed putting together our Institutional Effectiveness Plan, which helps us assess our progress toward our Institutional goals. During this ongoing evaluation process, we determine what data we are collecting, why we are collecting it, and how we are going to use the information to make decisions for the institution. As most of you know, we have made a lot of progress in our assessment and it continues every day. We are in a good position to present our accomplishments to the HLC this upcoming Fall 2019. Thank you for all your hard work and continued support of our assessment initiatives. To view our Assessment Portfolio please visit

Developing the Art of Dying

It was 21 years ago that my wife Tamara and I began a descent into what became her death from metastatic breast cancer.  We were hopeful and militant in our approach: we would beat this thing.  She was an avid journal writer, and I a poet. We poured our hopes and fears onto the page and planned to publish a book together about how she overcame cancer.  That was not to be.  She died four and a half years later, in October 2002.

I kept writing about grief and death, among other things over the years.  I developed a means of dealing with grief to help my clients, and I achieved some peace.  But the unfinished project kept insisting on a birth. It kept insisting on a stronger container than the one I put it in.  Honestly, I was frightened of undertaking the task necessary to complete my grief.

In 2015, I rolled up my sleeves and dug in.  The book, “The Art of Dying”, was picked up in June 2018 and published just a few months ago.  I wrote it and published it ultimately to give voice to an inevitable part of life that few have the strength or ability to communicate.  I had a story that only I could tell. I told it as honestly and frankly as possible.  To do less would dishonor Tamara, myself, and anyone who might approach the frightening topic.

I want therapists, clients, the bereaved, funeral directors, grief counselors, and anyone who has ever lost someone to benefit from my work. So I am pleased and honored to bring my book to AGS to share with you all on May 11th.  I will read from the book and sell/sign copies.  But mostly I want to begin an important dialogue.  Let’s talk, shall we…

Event Page | Book Page

50th Founder's Day Celebration

Things can always be different, yesterday, today and tomorrow. As an Adlerian community our roots run deep, sustained by our relationships, memories, and the years we’ve shared. Join us for food and drink as we honor our roots, enjoy the present, and look forward to what tomorrow can bring!

Event Page | 9.28.2019 | 10225 Yellow Circle Drive, Minnetonka, MN | 1:00 PM - 5:00PM 

Get To Know Us: Don Raasch

By Fayemarie Anderson Carter

As part of our efforts to engage with our student body and alumni, we are launching installments over the next few months exploring our roots, examining the journey of AGS and giving voice to our hopes for the future. An alumni association can be a very integral part of developing and maintaining our presence in the community. Why not then, get to know the guy who has chosen to lead us down this path? Let’s meet Don Raasch, the President of the Adler Graduate School Alumni Association (AGSAA).

Don is a recent graduate of Adler Graduate School with areas of interest in Marriage and Family Therapy and the Co-Occurring Program. He currently leads a team at Vinland Outpatient Services in NE Minneapolis, serving clients struggling with substance use, mental health issues, & disorders resulting from traumatic brain injuries.

This is actually Don’s second career, stemming from a lifelong desire to help others. When asked about the factors which influenced his decision to jump right into a leadership position after just graduating, Don talked about wanting to find a way to fill the void left by completing this rewarding endeavor when he graduated.  He found himself missing the community that is Adler so  when Ev Haas sent that email looking for volunteers for an alumni group, he thought that it was only logical to fill that void by volunteering. Don looks forward to giving back to his Adler community while fulfilling a sense of purpose not experienced anywhere else.

Don not only decided to volunteer to be a part of the AGSAA but to fill the position of president. When asked what he felt was the most important directive as president, he said that he would like to provide a compass for the other board members as the association strives to maintain consistent communication between the administrative body and students/alumni. Don is keen to meet the needs of the alumni in the community as they navigate the ever changing profession that is mental health services. Don believes that strong and clear communication among administration, students, staff, alumni, other mental health providers/institutions and governing bodies is imperative as we provide support and resources to our healers.

Finally, Don was asked about what he would like to say to perspective members of AGSAA: why should you join? Don again pointed to the fact that Adler Graduate School provides many services to the community. He sees alumni as a most powerful example of a key Adlerian principle, giving to those in need. He feels that AGSAA then, can be a unified way of providing for our community thus having a greater impact on those we serve. He also sees AGSAA as a means by which we can address the changing needs of our current students. In other words, we got people on the ground, why not use their experience and knowledge to enhance the education of those coming up? All in all, Don sees the AGSAA as a way to continue to spread Adlerian therapeutic principles in a cohesive manner, incorporating change as demanded by the needs of our community and creating a wide and impactful presence in the larger world around us and within us.

It is our hope that we continue to develop communication with you through these installments and that you will find value in sharing your talents, experience and knowledge with us as AGSAA members. Please do contact us should you wish to raise a concern, ask questions and share insight. We want to know how we may serve you and your community. Stay tuned for the next few installments all about the history of AGS, Minnesota!


Writing Center Corner

The Adler Writing Center  sponsors  a student writing contest each month.  Students - watch your Adler email for a prompt, write a paragraph, and send to  Check your Adler email.  See below the prompts and the writers that have won each month.

Winning March Entry

“What is one of your favorite kinds of music that soothes you and reaches your soul and why?”

Music is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others.  When we take in music, we are receiving an offering from the journey of another person.  When we give music, we are offering our vulnerabilities to strengthen others.  Music envelops a connection on a spiritual level that is unbreakable; one song can bring us back to a specific moment in time that can make us laugh, and cry, and be thankful.  I have been blessed with the gift of music all my life.  My grandmother was a music teacher who later travelled to Thailand and brought back a beautiful instrument.  She organized a revolutionary choir with this instrument called the Unkalung.  She learned to compose the music for the instrument along with the choral chords.  The Unkalung Choir travelled internationally and my grandmother was able to touch the lives of so many with this unique sound.  She included me in many of her Christmas concerts in Madison, Wisconsin and I began my love of performing.  I would later go on to earn a full-tuition scholarship at the University of Wisconsin for music writing and performance.  I also developed a love for recording music and had the chance to create songs with many incredible artists, including Grammy Award winning artist Sean Paul and LIfe-Time Grammy Achievement Award winner Darryl McDaniels of Run-DMC.  Music took me to places I never thought I would be able to go.  I travelled to Jamaica, and Los Angeles, and sang at the Apollo with a choir.  I was blessed to have the chance to sing and perform at the National Boys and Girls Club Keystone Conference in Dallas, Texas as well as share music and love with students at University of North Carolina-Charlotte on inclusion and equity.  I was also given the opportunity to share the stage with incredible youth performers at Summerfest, and I opened for several artists at the Taste of Madison.  For me, music is a love language.  It is a lasting connection.  I can think of no better way to bridge our differences and come together than through music.  I do not have one specific type of music that soothes my soul because many styles of music reach me and through the music, I am able to connect with others.  Whether it is out dancing with friends, or singing in church, or listening to music before bed, I appreciate music in all forms and the way it creates connection.  I embrace many forms of music, and they all soothe my soul.  Music has always been a healer and an incredible gift in my life.

Winning February Entry

“What brings you joy in the middle of winter?”

There are many things in life that bring us down.  It happens whether we see it coming or if it is the surprise you never wanted.  It happens all throughout the year and winter is no exception.  It forces one to create their own job. It is at times the only way to get through the long, frigid, winter days.  One way I create joy is spending quality time with my significant other, recharging by spending time with close friends, or working out frustrations and pent up energy at the fitness center.  It may even be the small things throughout the day.  It may be a dog going for a walk with their best friend , all the while looking up with complete and utter adoration for the bond they share and simply enjoying the outdoors, in spite of the cold.  Joy may be seeing someone hold the door open for another out of sheer kindness.  Creating joy in the busy hustle and bustle of every day life is difficult and it is hard work.  It doesn’t come easy some days.  However, simply catching a glimpse of these positive moments can breathe the warmth of joy into us to get us through the cold winter days.

M 12:30-6:30 | T 12:00-4:00 | W 1:00–6:30 | Th 4:30-6:30 | F 2:00-8:00 | Sat. 11:00-3:00

Online: Sat. 1:00-6:00 | Sun. 1:00-6:00 

Twins tickets are always a hit. Watch your Adler e-mail for notices of writing contest entry topics for April 2019 and through the summer!