The School Psychology Program at Indiana University is grounded in the scientist-practitioner model in which the graduate is prepared to solve problems associated with the personal, social, and educational development of children and youth from diverse cultural, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Emphasis is placed on the integration of research and practice, with the goal to instill in the student the belief that the professional psychologist should use current knowledge to address the myriad of factors that may affect children's development. Scientist-practitioners also contribute to the knowledge base of psychology. School psychologists address the needs of individual students and advocate for change using population-based approaches to serve children and families.
Goal 1: Develop Knowledge and Competence in Cultural Diversity
The Indiana University School Psychology program’s faculty and students have a strong commitment to social justice as an integral part of our training. Longstanding patterns of oppression and discrimination have left our nation with inequities that continue to plague our schools and society. We believe that school psychologists have a responsibility to develop an identity that incorporates a commitment to social justice. This dedication to equity cannot be an add-on or a single course in diversity. Rather, the commitment to cultural responsiveness and advocacy must be an integral part of the training and role of the school psychologist, as central as our commitment to evidence-based practice and effective collaboration. Thus, we train our students the concept of a continuum of care to provide the most effective evidence-based services for all individuals, but also to act as an advocate and systems change agent, actively monitoring the quality of the educational experience and outcomes for students from groups who have been under-represented or marginalized.
Goal 2: Develop Knowledge about Organizations and Professional Roles
Schools, families and communities are complex institutions. Understanding the intricacies and dynamics of these institutions is essential to successfully improving children’s academic and social-emotional health. To negotiate these systems knowledge of ethical and legal standards is essential. Ethics, statues, regulations, and institutional cultures are not distinct, but are inextricably interwoven and should guide the behavior and conduct of all professional psychologists. To become a competent school psychologist, students must develop a thorough understanding of ethical principles, legal requirements, professional behavior, and best practices and how they are intertwined. These principles are addressed continually through direct orientation, applied practice, and reflection in all core classes, practicum, and internship.
Goal 3: Develop Observation and Assessment Skills
Observation and assessment form the base upon which interventions are built. It is critical that the psychologist be able to understand and respond to a referral question. We believe quality assessment is comprehensive and involves the use of multiple tools. Selection of appropriate tools requires knowledge of their evidence base for use.
Goal 4: Develop Intervention and Consultation Skills
The school psychology program has a long-standing commitment to the scientist-practitioner model of preparation. Toward that end, we provide experiences that prepare school psychologists who rely on evidence-based practices when designing and implementing interventions. It is essential that psychologists develop professional and collaborative relationships with teachers, parents, administrators, and community members. These relationships form the basis for trust and increase the fidelity with which interventions are implemented.
Goal 5: Develop Research, Evaluation, and Dissemination Skills
A scientist-practitioner also contributes to the knowledge base. Toward this end an early inquiry project is required prior to the dissertation. The dissertation serves as the culminating project where research skills are demonstrated.