Dr. Alessandra Sax-Lane, Director of the Psychology Programs

The research interests of Hellenic American University’s newly appointed Director of Psychology Programs, Dr. Alessandra Sax-Lane, are broad, as one might expect from a person with her keen intellectual curiosity and commitment to holistic education. She has investigated topics ranging from multi-cultural counseling and educational leadership to the effects of peer support on students’ adjustment. Another research interest—music therapy—is also a personal one. An accomplished flautist, Dr. Sax-Lane had originally thought of becoming a musician and studied both Psychology and Music in college. She was still torn between the two when a professor told her she needed to “get out there in the field and start helping people.” This is what she’s been doing ever since. Before her appointment as Director, she was Wellness Director and Counseling Psychologist at the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS) and an adjunct faculty member at Hellenic American University since 2013. She is also the founder and director of the Athens-based Learning and Wellness Center, which provides mental health services and learning support to children, adolescents and adults. Before ACS, she held positions as a psychologist, clinical social worker and mental health consultant in settings such as international secondary schools and mental health centers.

The research interests of Hellenic American University’s newly appointed Director of Psychology Programs, Dr. Alessandra Sax-Lane, are broad, as one might expect from a person with her keen intellectual curiosity and commitment to holistic education. She has investigated topics ranging from multi-cultural counseling and educational leadership to the effects of peer support on students’ adjustment. Another research interest—music therapy—is also a personal one. An accomplished flautist, Dr. Sax-Lane had originally thought of becoming a musician and studied both Psychology and Music in college. She was still torn between the two when a professor told her she needed to “get out there in the field and start helping people.” This is what she’s been doing ever since. Before her appointment as Director, she was Wellness Director and Counseling Psychologist at the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS) and an adjunct faculty member at Hellenic American University since 2013. She is also the founder and director of the Athens-based Learning and Wellness Center, which provides mental health services and learning support to children, adolescents and adults. Before ACS, she held positions as a psychologist, clinical social worker and mental health consultant in settings such as international secondary schools and mental health centers.

Work from New York University. (She later earned a Doctor of Education degree in Counseling Psychology and Supervision in Counselor Education from Argosy University in Chicago). “I had fallen in love with Greece early on,” she notes. “It felt like family in a way.” One thinks of family—a large, extended family in particular—listening to her speak about her goals for the years ahead. Coordinating a large and diverse team of instructors that include clinical practitioners who serve as adjunct faculty can be a challenge. One of her priorities as Director is to enhance the sense of community among instructors. To this end she’s been holding regular departmental meetings with all the faculty, adjuncts included, fostering team communication, and encouraging collaborative research. Several such projects are already underway. Another objective is to forge new partnerships with psychology departments at other American universities that could lead to new study abroad programs or jointly taught courses. Longer-term priorities include the development of new graduate programs in the fields of clinical social work, forensic psychology and school psychology. For Sax-Lane, educational leadership, like teaching, is a practice of empowerment that ultimately is driven by love. “Our work has to come from the heart if it is to be successful”, she says, “I believe one has to work with love and love one’s work.” Which is why when students come to her wanting to take 5 or 6 courses in a semester, she advises them to take fewer so that they can get more out of each course—and enjoy their time here with us