The foundation for the School Psychology program at The Ohio State University is based on socio-cultural theories of psychological and educational practices with youth. Socio-cultural theories encompass social cognition and social behavioral principles of understanding and working with a diversity of youth in America's schools. Children do not experience life in a vacuum, but do so within socio-cultural contexts such as school, home, and community. The focus of the School Psychology program is service delivery across many different settings with a particular emphasis on children in urban settings. Within this framework, students are trained as scientist-practitioners who function as data-based decision makers and collaborative problem solvers. The program has a commitment to diversity at the research, training, and service level.
EdS in School Psychology
The EdS program focuses on practitioner training for the delivery of comprehensive school psychological services primarily in school settings. In addition to practitioner skills, EdS students are trained in a "scientist as consumer" model that emphasizes the use of research findings in clinical decision-making, both in terms of creating interventions as well as evaluating their efficacy
PhD in School Psychology
The school psychology doctoral program builds on the practitioner focus of the master's program and seeks to prepare school psychologists whose main contributions will be through research and academic careers, perhaps as future trainers of school psychologists and/or future leaders in the field of school psychology.
- Laurice Joseph - Associate Professor, Program Director
- Antoinette Miranda - Associate Professor, Intern Coordinator
- Kisha Radliff - Assistant Professor, Practicum Coordinator
Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st century, a societal emphasis has been placed on schools to provide a better future for children through a life-long educative process. In their professional roles, school psychologists are sensitive to the needs of a culturally diverse community, value the importance of children to the future of society, and advocate on the behalf of children. As an integral part of human services available to children, adolescents, adults, and families, school psychologists function across multiple settings with a focus on educational institutions. School psychologists address diverse referral issues with varied services such as consultation, counseling and other social-emotional interventions, academic and behavioral interventions, psychoeducational assessment, inservice education, administrative services, research and evaluation.
The primary distinction that separates school psychology from other areas of professional psychological is the combining of education and psychology in the study and delivery of services to children, youth, families, and learners of all ages. The additional focus of education to this area of psychology stems from the assumption that "schools play a primary nurturing and socializing role" in the lives of all individuals. School psychologists focus on the natural ecologies of children, youth, families, learners, and persons involved in schooling; and the process of schooling in multiple settings. Because of the training in both education and psychology, school psychologists are in a unique position to coordinate educational, psychological, and behavioral health services to learners across the life span.
The school psychology program at The Ohio State University (Ohio State) is guided by a transtheoretical framework, a model of training, and a specialty focus. The transtheoretical framework permeates the entire program including coursework, practica experience, and mentoring relationships with faculty, and provides a shared mission for the students and faculty. The specific framework used as the overarching philosophy to the program is the ecological model based on both the works of Bronfenbrenner (ecological model) and Bandura (reciprocal determinism) and it focuses on the multiple systems in which children exist. In addition, current research in the areas of child neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, and developmental psychopathology provides a foundational understanding of the ways in which genetic, biological, and environmental factors play a role in the lives of children. While students are trained in school psychology practice through a specific framework, they are also exposed to numerous psychological theories (i.e. behavioral, cognitive, socio-cultural, constructionistic, humanistic, social learning) that offer a balance between a shared mission and a more comprehensive approach to training. This perspective recognizes the complex interaction of person variables within and across multiple systems. The following premises are used as a foundation for this transtheoretical perspective and a visual diagram of this model is also included.
- The client, usually the child, is both the center of and an active participant in the ecological model. These variables (e.g. biological and genetic make-up, internal representations of psychological constructs, metacognition) demonstrate that to some extent behavior is under the control of the child and that the child possesses the ability to rationally reflect on and modify his/her interaction with the environment.
- The child resides in multiple systems that have both direct and indirect influences. The microsystem includes immediate environments such as home, school, and community. Larger systems such as the cultural and political context of the community (e.g., exosystem and macrosystem) influence the child's microsystem indirectly.
- A reciprocal relationship exists between child and system. The child acts on his/her environment exerting control and influence over variables in the immediate and larger systems. Also, the multiple contexts in which the child resides influence the psychosocial development, adjustment and educational experiences and performance of the child.
- Psychologists intervene in the ecology in multiple ways. For existing concerns, problems are defined with information related to the child, the multiple contexts, and the interaction between the child and context. This information guides the practice of psychology including prevention, assessment and intervention services.
- Additionally, psychologists provide services that assist in the creation of healthy individuals and systems. These services focus on wellness and maintenance of healthy environments and individuals.
The scientist-practitioner model of training was used as a guide in creating six program goals, four that are practice-oriented, one that is research-oriented and one that focuses on the acquisition of professional skills. The practice goals include acquiring foundational knowledge in psychology and education, understanding the importance of individual differences in psychological service delivery, linking assessment to intervention skills, and developing professional interpersonal skills. These practice goals cut across the multiple needs of learners to provide a balanced approach to training psychologists. As increasing demands are placed on school personnel to meet the holistic needs of children, comprehensive psychological services that address the academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs of children need to be provided in the school setting. The school psychologist is in a prime position to provide these services and bridge the psychological and educational worlds of children. However, these services are best provided when guided by ethical and professional standards of behavior.
In addition to intersecting the practice goals with learner needs, the research goal cuts across each of the practice goals to entirely reflect the scientist-practitioner model of training. All students are taught to use the scientific model to make clinical decisions by operationalizing problems, identifying appropriate data collection techniques, analyzing and interpreting data collected, and utilizing the findings to determine the efficacy of and need for change in interventions. These clinical decision-making skills are applied to the development of academic, behavioral, and social-emotional interventions.
Throughout the program, a developmental balance between knowledge and skills is maintained. The doctoral programs begins with coursework that focuses on students acquiring the knowledge and beginning skills necessary to practice with structured guidance and field-based assignments. Students then complete practica refining their clinical and leadership skills and applying psychological research and theory to practice. Finally, professional autonomy is developed with supervision while on internship.
Finally, the faculty shares a common goal of training school psychology students to meet the needs of children in urban settings with a focus on early intervention. This specialty focus, although integrated heavily throughout coursework, is actually an added area of training that all students in the school psychology program receive. The Ohio State program is committed to preparing school psychologists to work in not only suburban and rural areas but to also acquire a better understanding of the psychological and educational dynamics related to stressors in urban settings. Recognizing that children in urban areas experience additional challenges related to population density (e. g., poverty, family and community violence), the urban specialty focus allows students to understand issues of poverty in particular and how these issues influence the lives of children in any setting.
Student Affiliates of School Psychology (SASP) is a student-run organization that represents the needs of the graduate students, both specialist and doctoral, in school psychology and is a liaison organization to the area faculty. All school psychology students are required to be members and are encouraged to participate in all sponsored activities. The organization seeks to increase awareness of the field of school psychology, increase communication and relationships among school psychology students and faculty at Ohio State, raise funds for professional events, and maintain a website.
In addition to SASP, students also participate in the functioning of the program through the Student Advisory Board which is a subcommittee of the Student Organization. The program GTA(s), SASP President, SASP President-Elect, and one EdS student represent the student bodies' concerns and ideas to the faculty. These representatives meet with the director once per semester (or at their discretion) so that students are provided updates on new program information as well as provide feedback to the faculty regarding student concerns and ideas. Student representatives may also be asked to attend faculty meetings when deemed necessary. One specific function of the Student Advisory Board is to inform the entire student body of changes made to the program which are then documented in the Program Handbook. Students can provide feedback on any changes and the members of the Advisory Board share this feedback with the faculty. Although faculty make final decisions regarding the structure and operation of the program, student feedback will be seriously considered before changes are adopted. If a student does not uphold the responsibilities of the position, the faculty will reappoint another student to the position for that academic year.