The Ph.D. program in School Psychology at Texas A&M University prepares its graduates for careers as Scientist Practitioners, following the traditional "Boulder Conference" model of education and training. We subscribe to a School Psychology training emphasis that promotes an integrated and coordinated health service delivery model. We expect our graduates to pursue careers in academic or applied practice settings, to be health services providers for children, youth and families, both in and out of schools, and to contribute to the knowledge base of School Psychology by conducting and publishing empirically based research studies.
We seek to prepare psychologists capable of facilitating growth in the development, learning, and behavior of children and youth. We view children's learning and adjustment as reflecting the reciprocal nature of behavior that includes the school environment, home, community, and cultural context in multiple, interacting systems. Our approach to training sees children and youth as our primary clients, with the understanding that they can be best served with a knowledge of and involvement by the multiple components of the child's system. This leads to a service delivery model that can be implemented in numerous settings. Although the school may be the primary setting, homes, clinics, hospitals, and community-based agencies will often be targeted. Additionally, whereas the child is the client of interest, skills in systems consultation, family and organizational interventions are addressed. Finally, our approach requires a knowledge of the importance of racial, ethnic and gender diversity among individuals and groups, and of the importance of these differences in understanding human behavior and change.
Our emphasis on school psychology reflects our belief that effective services to children, youth, and families can best be provided within a training model that reflects an integrative approach to mental health. Under this model of combined practice it is assumed that psychologists are educated and trained in science and practice of psychology and child development. An emphasis on schools is critical for two reasons. One, as a location, schools are sites for delivery of services that are consumer driven, accessible, coordinated, family-centered, and comprehensive. Two, as a content area, a knowledge of school-based systems involves additional expertise in educational and instruction learning processes, as well as critical factors in health development for children and youth.
The primary goal of the program is the development of psychologists who recognize the importance of scholarly inquiry and the application of various methods to the resolution of problems encountered in their daily practice, teaching, continuing professional development and their discipline at large. The program strives to train psychologists capable of contributing to the health care of children and adolescents, from perspectives of prevention and intervention, related to mental, academic, emotional, and behavioral difficulties, especially as related to schools and the educational process, at the individual and organization level. Since children and families may be encountered in a variety of settings, the training program attempts to equip students to work in a variety of private and institutional settings, in addition to public and private schools. The program emphasizes diversity issues related to the practice of psychology, as well as addressing achievement and mental health disparities among minority populations. Rigorous academic standards are maintained, and teaching and research experiences are made available so students may compete for academic positions at colleges and universities throughout the country. To this end, the program's training objectives are:
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