The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program follows the practitioner-scholar training model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). The program conceptualizes and promotes the professional practice of psychology as informed by scholarly research and inquiry, and students are trained as consumers of research to use scientific methodology in clinical thinking and practice.
The Doctorate of Psychology program is designed to train students in a set of core competencies central to the practice of psychology. These Psy.D. competencies are the program’s Objectives, and are reflected in the program's curriculum, training experiences, learning environment, and policies. These include:
- Social Justice and Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Research and Evaluation
- Management and Supervision
- Education and Consultation
UI&U"s Psy.D. program utilizes a developmental training approach, in which expectations of competency increase as students proceed through the sequence of program requirements. As students complete the required courses, along with the required training experiences, they have opportunities to take electives. As students progress through the program, they are also encouraged to pursue specific areas of personal interest and to select training experiences and research opportunities that will allow them to broaden and deepen their training.
Professional development and socialization to the field of professional psychology
The program provides and supports multiple forms of professional and social interactions that foster and enhance the personal and professional development of each student. Throughout the program, students engage in collegial and mentoring relationships with faculty and other professional psychologists, as well as with supervisors and staff at practica and internship placements, observing and participating in formal and informal contexts, and establishing personal and professional relationships. This professional socialization process is specifically attended to during the first year, and continues throughout the student's training through intensive faculty-student contact in all aspects of the program.
In addition, there are numerous opportunities for professional socialization during the Initial Orientation, Annual Reviews, Clinical Reviews, dissertation proposal and development meetings, and the final dissertation orals.
Evaluation and Assessment of the Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) Program
Based on the Psy.D. program’s overall goals and objectives, as well as the professional standards of the field, faculty in the Psy.D. program continually evaluate and assesses each student’s knowledge, skills and attitudes in their clinical, academic, research, and ethical and legal functioning across the range of competencies. In addition, faculty assess students’ personal and professional well-being, interpersonal competence, and personal abilities to engage in professional practice. Faculty have ongoing and increasingly complex interactions with students, engaging with them on a regular basis during their program. Students’ relationship skills are closely evaluated, particularly in their first year in the program, as they engage in role-plays and related interpersonal activities in their courses. Formal assessments are a regular part of the program conducted by faculty in courses, Annual and Special Reviews, Clinical Reviews, and dissertation presentations and orals, and by field placement supervisors in practica and internship.
Upon entry to the Doctorate of Psychology program, each student is assigned an academic advisor who has an ongoing relationship with the student throughout her/his academic career. This involves maintaining an overarching view of the student’s academic, clinical, interpersonal, research and professional development. This role complements that of the Professional Development Seminar Leader. The advisor also works in conjunction with the student’s other faculty, assessing the quality of the student’s overall professional development in the program. It is understood that additional informal advising also occurs throughout the program within the context of academic courses and ongoing interactions with faculty.
The academic advisor also serves as the student’s administrative link between the program and the university and is responsible for providing signed authorization on all student approvals/petitions and registration forms. The advisor has formal contact with the student a minimum of two times per term. The advisor also conducts the Annual Reviews with each of her/his advisees.
The combination of course instructors, advisor and the Professional Development Seminar leader ensures that a student’s academic, research, clinical and interpersonal knowledge and skills, and strengths and weaknesses, are “known” to the Psy.D. program, and, if needed, the Psy.D. program can take steps to assist the student in attaining the necessary knowledge or skill development.