Reflecting the rapid growth in the knowledge base in professional psychology, as well as the accreditation guidelines of American Psychological Association (APA), the program at AU blends a substantial foundation in the basic science of psychology with its longstanding tradition of extensive field experience and practical skills development.
In the Schools
Beginning in the first semester of the program, students participate in extensive fieldwork in Alfred-area school systems. Students are placed in a local public school one day per week during the first semester and one and a half days per week during the second semester, where they gain graduated experience working with both regular education children as well as those with special needs. Such practical experience assists the students in developing an understanding of the complexities of the school environment and allows them to begin to acquire valuable skills in communication, consultation, assessment, and intervention. These practica lay a foundation of knowledge and experience that better prepares the student for the challenges s/he will encounter as a professional school psychologist. School psychology faculty members closely coordinate with on-site supervisors to facilitate this fieldwork. On-site supervisors formally evaluate the student each semester on the competencies specified by program faculty.
In the Child and Family Services Center
During the second year, students have experience in the Child and Family Services Center, a recently renovated spacious on-campus facility with a state-of-the-art communication/observation system. Not only does this practicum expose students to the environment of a community clinic, but gives them direct experience in intake assessment, psycho-educational assessment, consultation, and intervention with children and their families.
Licensed psychologists from the school psychology faculty directly supervise this work through closed-circuit television, two-way mirror observation, audio and video taping, and individual and group case conferencing.
In the Community
Advanced doctoral students continue to develop their applied skills through individually designed practicum placements during their third year of coursework. These practicum placements may take place in counseling and mental health agencies, in schools or agencies serving specific client populations, or in public school settings. Doctoral students participate in professional roles under the close supervision of field and university supervisors.
During the Internship
All students must complete at least one year of full time internship. This experience is the culmination of the student's classroom and previous fieldwork and allows the student to perform the duties of a professional psychologist under the supervision of an on-site doctoral level licensed psychologist. Faculty members coordinate with internship sites to insure quality control and consistency with the goals and objectives of the program. Interns are compensated with a stipend from the internship site during this year of fieldwork.