APA accreditation places SPU doctoral program among nation’s elite
Seattle Pacific University is the first private college in Washington state and one of only three schools in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) to receive national accreditation for a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology. In May 2007, SPU was notified by the American Psychology Association (APA) that it had been granted accreditation for seven years, the maximum duration APA will approve and a rare honor for new programs.
Seattle Pacific’s doctoral program was launched in 1995 and formalized into the clinical psychology Ph.D. program in 1998.The University’s School of Psychology, Family, and Community (SPFC) spent the intervening years working to meet the exacting requirements for APA accreditation. As with all secondary accreditations, clinical psychology programs must be well established before they can even apply, and then must begin a lengthy process of meeting specific criteria in a variety of scholarly and professional areas.
The SPU Ph.D. program is unique because of its dual emphasis on scientific research and clinical practice in a Christian university context. Clinical psychology students care for youth, adults, and the aging, while developing therapies for patients with emotional, behavioral, family, and medical disorders, as well
as mental illness. Graduates go on to serve in universities, clinics, hospitals, and mental health centers.
Another distinctive of the program, explains Jay Skidmore, professor and chair of clinical psychology at Seattle Pacific, is the interaction between students and faculty: “Our key strength is caring and competent faculty members who personally mentor every student in the scientific as well as professional aspects of clinical psychology.”
“The program embodies the mission of SPFC — guided by vital expressions of the Christian faith, deeply rooted in rigorous learning and scholarship, and committed
to service,” emphasizes SPFC Dean Micheál Roe. According to Roe, “SPU’s program is now counted among the finest clinical psychology programs in the nation that claim
the ‘clinical-scientist model’ and award the Ph.D. degree.”
For Michael Tandy, who earned his Ph.D. in clinical pyschology at Seattle Pacific in 2007, the accreditation is well-deserved. “SPU’s program prepared me to be licensed rapidly and put me in contact with several employers who have extended job offers,” he says. Tandy works in therapy and assessment at Meier Clinics of Seattle while preparing for licensure.
The clinical psychology Ph.D. program joins SPU’s other nationally accredited graduate programs in education, marriage and family therapy, nursing, and business. “APA accreditation demonstrates that Seattle Pacific — and its graduates — have attained recognition at the highest levels,” says President Philip Eaton. “Achieving accreditation will open even more doors for SPU doctoral graduates in clinical psychology to pursue the most competitive positions across the nation.”
—By Tracy Norlen [firstname.lastname@example.org]
—Photo by Luke Rutan
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