Philosophy and Goals
The school psychology program at the University of Delaware was first established in 1981, with the first class consisting of two students admitted in the fall of 1982. From 1981 to 1983, the program had two part-time faculty members in school psychology. At that time it was envisioned that the program would train school psychologists for the state of Delaware, and would eventually become nationally accredited. The program gained approval from the National Association of School Psychologists in 1994. Currently, the 3-year program has three full-time faculty members in school psychology and an enrollment of 24 full-time students and no part-time students.
The program is grounded in the scientist/practitioner model in psychology, and committed to the School of Education’s emphasis on the roles of Scholar, Problem Solver, and Partner. Students are provided with a strong foundation in psychological theory and research and are trained to use a collaborative, data-based problem solving approach when applying this foundation to help solve social, emotional, and academic problems faced by children, schools, and families. In addition to gaining theoretical and empirical knowledge, students acquire competencies in multiple skill areas, a problem solving mindset, and sensitivity and respect for cultural and individual diversity. Consistent with the scientist/practitioner model and the role of Scholar, students are also expected to contribute to the knowledge base in psychology and education — an expectation that is most clear in the doctoral program. The program’s philosophy is reflected in the following goals:
- Students will adhere to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct and will demonstrate respect for the dignity, worth, and individual differences of children of all cultures and backgrounds.
- Students will use multiple methods of gathering reliable and valid data in the design and implementation of a variety of empirically-supported interventions for addressing problems faced by children, schools, and families.
- Students will acquire an in-depth understanding of modern theories and research in the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development of children, including knowledge of family and school systems, and will apply such knowledge to the practice of school psychology.
- Students will develop a strong knowledge base specific to the profession of school psychology including its history and foundations, the various roles and functions of school psychologists, and alternative models by which services are delivered.
- Students will acquire and apply specific competencies in school psychology, especially in the areas of assessment, consultation, prevention, and direct interventions, while using an ecological, problem-solving approach in the delivery of psychological services in the schools.
- Students will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to design and implement comprehensive mental health services, especially school-based services for promoting mental health and preventing social, emotional, and academic problems.
- Students will work collaboratively and effectively with teachers, administrators, support staff, community agencies, children and their families, and others in the delivery of psychological services in the schools.
- Students will apply a data-based, scientific problem solving approach to the delivery of all services, including assessment and intervention. Such services will be guided by current research and an appropriate assessment and analysis of multiple individual and ecological factors that influence learning and development. Evaluation data will be collected to demonstrate that services lead to positive outcomes. Where appropriate, students will use technology effectively in the delivery of assessment and intervention services, including on the acquisition and communication of information.
- Students will develop sufficient knowledge and skills in research, statistics, and evaluation and apply such knowledge and skills in the design and evaluation of programs and services in the schools.
- Students will develop the knowledge and skills in technology to apply in assessment, record keeping, communication, intervention, research, statistics, and evaluation, as well as other areas related to school psychological services.
- An additional goal for students in the Ph.D. program is that they will conduct scholarly research in which they demonstrate competence in identifying critical problems in education and psychology, reviewing and integrating existing research, designing studies and experiments that competently address such problems, collecting and analyzing data using a variety of modern statistical procedures, and formally communicating results to other researchers and practitioners.