Mission, Goals & Objectives

Mission

The mission of the program is consonant with the strategic plan expressed for Texas A&M University in Vision 2020: Creating a Culture of Excellence. This statement champions the core values, mission, and vision of Texas A&M University, and it articulates the intention of the university to attain excellence in academic, research, service and teaching activities, and to develop leaders who will be involved on local, state, national and global stages.  

The program mission has evolved over the self-study period in response to the Vision 2020 statement and its commitment for the university to meet societal challenges. The following section explicates the three core themes of the counseling psychology doctoral program.

Theme One: Multiculturalism

The program recognizes that individuals exist in cultural, political, historical, and economic contexts. Understandably, these contexts significantly impact individuals' psychological development and every day functioning. Therefore, the counseling psychology faculty posits that inattention to these contexts in the training of psychologists is untenable. Accepting this premise as a mandate, the program aspires to mentor and train students who are culturally informed in theory, research, and practice. This is accomplished by actively: (a) recruiting a diverse and bilingual student cohort, (b) engaging in cutting-edge multicultural research in health, mental health, and educational disparities, (c) providing leadership and service in the area of health disparities, and (d) offering supervised counseling training with diverse clients.

The multicultural focus of the program can be described through three foci: targets, resources, and agencies and affiliations. All students in the program are required to have some common experiences such as the separate course in multicultural counseling, integration of multiculturalism throughout the curriculum, and supervised practica with diverse clientele. In addition, the program has an array of opportunities and experiences that augment the shared experience. Students vary considerably in their participation in these activities. For instance, a number of students are members of one of the three multicultural research teams; some students hold graduate assistantships in Project GEAR UP or the Center for the Study of Health Disparities; several students have been recipients of the competitive Diversity Fellowships. Overall, the program faculty intends for students to get a rich multicultural training experiences through the various avenues afforded.

Theme Two: Interdisciplinary Collaboration

The doctoral program recognizes the essential interdependency of counseling psychology with other disciplines. The interdependency is pertinent to research, training and practice missions. Program students thus interact with a variety of faculty, professionals and clients in the university and community at large. It is noteworthy that the counseling program’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration comports well with the same major focus on interdisciplinary activity at Texas A&M University, as well as with federal policy as expressed, for example, by the National Institutes of Health. The overall program objective is to inculcate in trainees a sophisticated appreciation of the methods, relevance and effectiveness of collaboration.  

Theme Three: Community Engagement

The emphasis on community engagement is reflected in our partnerships with constituent agencies, institutions, and organizations. The program cultivates meaningful partnerships to advance the educational and training experience of students and to obtain community input for research, training, and policy initiatives. We use a scholarship-based approach to engagement that recognizes that community constituencies contribute to and participate in the creation of enriched training experiences, relevant research endeavors and informed policy initiatives. This has been explicitly demonstrated in the (1) development of health service delivery initiatives in Leon County (in collaboration with the CCHD and the Brazos Valley Health Partnership), (2) the development of policy statements and research initiatives for the VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Services, and (3) the development and implementation of psychological and educational initiatives in the Bryan Independent School District.

In this process, the program effectively responds to the stated needs and priorities of the immediate community and engages students in opportunities to meet and address those needs. Such activities involve research, clinical, and consultative skills that are learned in our program and applied to address disparities in the community.

Goals, Objectives, and Expected Student Competencies

Goal 1: To prepare students to be entry-level counseling psychologists.

Objective 1A: Students will be exposed to the current body of knowledge in the basic science core of psychology. Thus, students will be expected to:

Competency 1: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the developmental, biological, cognitive/ affective, and social aspects of behavior.
Competency 2: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the history of the discipline of psychology.

Objective 1B: Students will develop awareness, knowledge, and skills in the application of counseling practice, including diagnosis, assessment, conceptualization, and interventions. Thus, students will be expected to:

Competency 1: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of theories and methods of counseling practice.
Competency 2: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of theories and methods of psychological assessment.
Competency 3: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of professional identity and standards.

Goal 2: To prepare students to be scientist-practitioners.

Objective 2A: Students will obtain the basic skills required to conduct and interpret psychological research. Thus, students will be expected to:

Competency 1: Demonstrate an in-depth understanding and knowledge of research design and analysis.
Competency 2: Demonstrate the ability to ethically and competently conduct and communicate research.

Goal 3: To prepare counseling psychologists who operate as scientist-practitioners with competencies in multiculturalism.

Objective 3: Students will demonstrate knowledge of multicultural theory and research, and how to apply that knowledge in practice. Thus, students will be expected to:

Competency 1: Demonstrate knowledge and integration of theory and research in multiculturalism in their assessments and interventions with various culturally diverse clients.

Goal 4: To prepare counseling psychologists who operate as scientist-practitioners with competencies in interdisciplinary collaborations.

Objective 4: Demonstrate skills in collaborating effectively and respectfully with other disciplines or professions in community and institutional settings. Thus, students will be expected to:

Competency 1: Participate in multidisciplinary scholarly activities that address community needs on a local, state, and/or national level.
Competency 2: Collaborate with community, state, and/or national agencies and utilize counseling psychology skills and knowledge to address community needs on a local, state, and/or national level.

Goal 5 : To prepare counseling psychologists who operate as scientist-practitioners with competencies in community engagement.

Objective 5 : Students will demonstrate an ability to use scientist-practitioner skills to address community needs. Thus, students will be expected to:

Competency 1: Identify, critically examine, and when appropriate, select empirically supported interventions based on the needs and problems to be addressed in collaborations with community constituents.

Training Philosophy

The Texas A&M Counseling Psychology program prepares scientist-practitioners within a cultural framework. Graduates are expected to effectively use critical thinking skills and empirical methods to design, conduct and evaluate psychological research and practice at all levels of professional activity. The program aspires to matriculate culturally-sensitive colleagues who can advance theoretically-based, empirically-driven services that enhance the health and well-being of individuals and communities. Specifically,

  • We aspire to train psychologists who understand and use empirical, theoretical, clinical, and contextually-based knowledge to guide their conduct of and evaluation of psychological research. We seek to train psychologists to conduct investigations of and evaluate the effectiveness and efficacy of psychological interventions and to develop the skills to design, implement, and evaluate psychologically-based preventive and remedial programs that concern behavioral and social factors that influence health and well-being.
  • We recognize that individuals exist in cultural, social, political, historical, and economic contexts. Thus, we aspire to mentor and train colleagues who are culturally informed in theory and practice. Consonant with the multicultural training guidelines provided by American Psychological Association, we matriculate students who in research and practice:
    • recognize that, as cultural beings, they may hold attitudes and beliefs that can detrimentally influence their perceptions of and interactions with individuals who are ethnically and racially different from themselves.
    • recognize the importance of multicultural sensitivity/responsiveness, knowledge, and understanding about race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, age, religion, spirituality, and physical challenges.
    • recognize the importance of conducting culture-centered and ethical psychological research among persons from ethnic, linguistic, and racial minority backgrounds.
    • apply culturally-informed skills in psychological research and practice
    • use organizational change processes to support culturally informed policy development and practices.
  • We prepare graduates to perform valuable roles at the highest levels of professional activity, including:
    • the individual level - to include basic therapeutic and evaluation services that benefit individuals and families;
    • the institutional level - to encompass skills to conduct, administer, evaluate and promote research and service that documents and refines our professional benefits to individuals and families, and to consult and train others regarding these concerns in a fashion that advances the profession and professional service;
    • the societal level - to produce, evaluate and promote evidence at this highest level of professional service to influence informed, empirically-based federal, state and institutional policies that facilitate the health and well-being of individuals, families, and their communities.

While the program provides general training for careers at the individual level of professional activity, our mission is to train applicants whose ambitions are to work at the institutional and societal levels.