Dr. Katherine Dunham and
Dr. Michael Morales
Graduate Program Director:
Dr. Laci Charette, 518-564-3385
Beaumont Hall, Room 207A
Associate Professors: L. Charette, K. Dunham, P. Egan, D. Phillips
Assistant Professors: J. Paxton
Adjunct Faculty: K. Glushko, T. McCarthy, T. Perez
Lecturer: S. Trunck, J. Hogan
The mission of the three-year, 70 credit hour School Psychology Graduate Program at SUNY Plattsburgh is to prepare scientist practitioners who are competent to provide a full range of school psychological services. (Visit our website at www.plattsburgh.edu/academics/psychology/graduateprogram.) Students are prepared to work with diverse clients in the provision of these services to schools, communities, families, and individual children. It is the program’s objective to provide a rigorous academic preparation that includes a wide range of experiences, both scholarly and practical. These activities are designed to foster a strong background in theoretical and applied psychological practice and professionalism, and to enhance opportunities for future employment and/or further graduate education.
Since 1970, the School Psychology Graduate Program, housed within the Psychology Department, has offered a state-of-the-art curriculum in keeping with changes and trends in the field. Many of our graduates obtain and accept employment offers prior to, or shortly after, completion of their year-long internship. Students graduate with a Master of Arts degree in addition to a Certificate of Advanced Study, sometimes referred to as a “specialist’s degree.”
Graduates are eligible for New York State Certification in School Psychology and meet the curricular requirements for National Certification in School Psychology. Graduates of the program are also eligible for certification in other states. Because each state maintains its own certification requirements, students wishing to work outside of New York should consult the program director about those requirements. A graduate degree in School Psychology allows for positions within public schools, forensic settings, mental health clinics, crisis centers, and as a faculty member at two-year colleges.
The curriculum integrates skill development, theoretical and empirical knowledge, and practicum experiences. Many of the requirements are based on competency attainment. A unique feature of the curriculum is that courses, beginning from the first semester, combine academic learning with practical experience.
An important aspect of the training is the full-time internship served in schools during the third year of the program. The faculty and sponsoring professionals work together to provide extensive supervision of the students’ experiences.
Students often study on a one-to-one basis with faculty. Collaboration between a student and faculty member on a research project of mutual interest represents the type of relationship that is encouraged. While students gain skills and confidence in providing services, supervision is offered in an informal atmosphere. Diverse interests are encouraged, and all activities are conducted with support and respect.
Neuropsychology Clinic and Psychoeducational Services
The Psychology Department maintains the Neuropsychology Clinic and Psychoeducational Services as a training facility for psychology graduate students. Clients of all ages come from the surrounding communities and the college for assessment and intervention activities. Clinic facilities include rooms for individual assessment, a well stocked library of assessment tools, an office, and a lounge. Observation rooms are equipped with microphones and one-way mirrors for immediate review of the sessions.
In addition to the Neuropsychology Clinic and the Psychoeducational Services, the department has a number of research laboratories focusing on cognitive processes, child behavior, and social psychology. These laboratories currently support research in such areas as human learning and memory, aging, motivation, hyperactivity and impulsivity, neuropsychological assessment, and group processes. A full library of assessment tools as well as instrumentation and equipment to support a variety of research are available to graduate students. The department’s computers are available for statistical analysis, word processing, and online data collection. A direct link to the full range of the college’s computing facilities is also available.
Nexus: A Social Competence Group for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
In addition to school-based and Neuropsychology Clinic experiences, some students gain skills working in our Nexus program, located right on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus. Nexus takes place on Saturdays from 12:30-3:00 p.m. Children and adolescents work in small groups to learn important social skills and recreational activities. School Psychology students provide instructional support for individual students, work with teams to develop curricula and positive behavior support plans, participate in research activities, and eventually lead social skills groups for children.
Graduate students in psychology benefit from other resources on campus, such as the Speech and Hearing Center, the Traumatic Brain Injury Center, and the Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Center. Often, multidisciplinary approaches to assessment and treatment can be learned through the collaborative efforts of the students and faculties of psychology, literacy education, and communication disorders and sciences. Research opportunities also involve interdisciplinary collaboration.
The program includes internships which follow the public school calendar, not the collegiate calendar. All students are required to complete a master’s thesis. The M.A. thesis should be completed by the end of the third year in the program. Finally, each student must pass the Praxis Series School Psychologist Examination.
The objective of the admission procedures is to identify and attract students who, through previous course performance or other evidence (e.g., job experience, special undergraduate experience), can demonstrate both a stable interest in and an aptitude for work in school psychology. The department aims for the inclusion of individuals with diverse backgrounds and life experiences. Academic skill is an important, but not exclusive, criterion for acceptance.
The decision to admit a student to graduate studies in psychology rests finally with the Dean of Arts and Sciences. The Dean acts upon the recommendation of the Chair of the Department of Psychology, who, in turn, acts upon the recommendation of the Psychology Department Graduate Admissions Committee.
The Graduate Admissions Committee considers the following eight factors in making its recommendations:
- The total application which, in addition to the usual information, should include a brief essay on reasons for applying to this graduate school. The committee judges the written expression as well as the content of the essay. It should be well thought out and presented in good form.
- The official transcript, including grade point average and evidence of breadth of interests and aptitudes. The minimum acceptable undergraduate grade point average for all applicants to graduate programs at the college is 2.5, but the guideline used by the Psychology Department is a minimum of 3.0.
- Evidence of superior achievement in courses most closely allied with the applicant’s stated interests. The entering student is expected to have competence at the undergraduate level in experimental psychology and statistical analysis, clinical/abnormal psychology, cognitive psychology, and developmental psychology.
- Three letters of recommendation which attest to the academic and professional promise of the applicants. The most helpful letters are those from professors who have worked with the applicants on independent projects and supervisors who are familiar with the professional demands of a school psychologist. The student should advise each prospective reference of his or her plans and request that letters be addressed to the probability of success in school psychology.
- Graduate Record Examination aptitude scores. Although not required, students who are applying for admission into the School Psychology Program may provide Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores as part of their application. Students may voluntarily submit the GRE scores to provide additional evidence of academic proficiency.
- The final deadline for submission of application materials for the following fall is February 1. The Graduate Admissions Committee may ask candidates to come to campus for an interview and informational session. When accepted, applicants must confirm, in writing, their intention to enter the program. A deposit of $250 to secure a place in the program is also required. If these steps are not taken within three weeks of acceptance, it will be assumed that the applicant is not intending to enroll in this program and that a vacancy exists. Selected alternates will then be notified and those confirming their intention to enter the program will be interviewed.
- Ethical Standards - It is the position of the Department of Psychology that the entire period of a student’s matriculation in the graduate program is a continual professional development experience. Students are expected to behave during this time in a manner which is consistent with accepted standards of professional and ethical behavior of the department and of the American Psychological Association. Any deviation from these standards will be reviewed by the department.
- Eligibility to take Internship - An M.A. thesis proposal must be approved. School psychology M.A./C.A.S. Program students are also required to receive a passing score on the Praxis Series School Psychology Examination administered by the Educational Testing Service. If a passing score is not achieved, graduate students will not be credited for their internship hours. Graduate students must take the test prior to the beginning of their internship. If a graduate student does not receive a passing score prior to the beginning of the internship, the student must receive a passing score on the National School Psychology Test before the last day of the internship. If a passing score is not achieved, the graduate student will not be credited for the internship hours.
- Eligibility to Participate in Graduation Ceremonies - To participate in the graduation ceremony at the close of a particular semester, graduate students must either 1) anticipate completion of all degree requirements or 2) be within six credits of completion and have registered for the remaining credits in the following summer or winter session (or have an approved Permission for Off Campus Study form on file) and have secured a letter from their advisor acknowledging the likelihood of completion of both thesis and internship requirements by the end of August for the May commencement or end of January for the December commencement. Certification of completion will be indicated by a note from the chair of the department to the Registrar.