Distinguishing Characteristics of the Program

The structure of the Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology at The University of Akron is one of its distinctive characteristics. Only one of the approximately 70 other APA-accredited programs in the U.S. have adopted the strategy of combining resources from two colleges and departments in order to offer a doctoral program in Counseling Psychology (i.e., University of Maryland). The University of Akron's choice to structure its program in this way allows us to follow an apprenticeship model which provides solid generalist training in Counseling Psychology to students of diverse backgrounds while at the same time using resources very efficiently and providing a breadth of expertise that is unusual in most APA-accredited Counseling Psychology programs.

More specifically, because of its structure, the Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology has the extensive resources of the associated faculty in the Department of Psychology to provide the required basic training of students in the core areas of psychology. These faculty, and associated faculty in the Educational Foundations & Leadership area of the College of Education, contribute to training students in research methodology and statistics. Building on this solid foundation, the Counseling Psychology faculty in the Department of Counseling and the Department of Psychology provide students with instruction in the requisite Counseling Psychology content courses and practica; this maximizes our efficient and effective use of faculty resources because faculty train students in areas in which they themselves have special expertise (e.g. vocational psychology, multicultural counseling, psychological assessment, counseling practice). The size of the Counseling Psychology faculty and the many supporting faculty in the two departments also mean that a broad range of supplemental course offerings and training opportunities is possible. Finally, the practice component of the program is exceptionally strong because both departments provide clinic facilities staffed by faculty supervisors to support the extensive practicum training required by APA and internship sites.

As a result of the structure of the Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology, students receive rigorous generalist training as scientist-practitioner Counseling Psychologists and have the opportunity to develop specialty research and practice skills in areas such as assessment and working with diverse populations. Further, they have available a large number of Counseling Psychology faculty members to serve as role models for their professional development--all of whom endorse and act in accordance with the scientist-practitioner model, although individuals may vary in their expression of it. Additionally, students are exposed to and may work with Counseling Psychology faculty who publish in varied professional journals (e.g., Journal of Counseling Psychology and The Counseling Psychologist), are active in varied organizations (e.g., American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association, Society for Personality Assessment) and hold varied certifications (e.g., psychology license). The design, structure and resources of the Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology, therefore, provide a full spectrum of professional, practice, and research opportunities often not available in smaller programs. Students' likelihood of taking advantage of these many opportunities is facilitated by the fact that they are required to take courses from each faculty member and to be supervised by multiple faculty during their tenure in the program.

These strengths of the Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology have been recognized by external organizations in a number of ways. The Collaborative Program has been accredited by American Psychological Association since 1990, getting the maximum period allowed in the last two accreditation reviews. Program graduates who sit for licensure earned scores on the EPPP exam that ranked fifth in the nation for Counseling Psychology programs during the reporting period 1997-2003. Additionally, two articles in The Counseling Psychologist (Buboltz et al., 2005 and Diegelman et al. 2005) reported that the program ranks third in the country in terms of its research productivity, and a 2007 survey reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education (January 12, 2007) indicated that the Collaborative Program ranked fifth in the country based on a multidimensional index of faculty scholarly productivity.

In sum, the Collaborative Program in Counseling Psychology at The University of Akron is distinctive in that it uses an apprenticeship model to provide solid generalist training in Counseling Psychology to students of diverse backgrounds. This training involves much more direct instruction and supervision by Counseling Psychology faculty than is true in some other Counseling Psychology programs, and consequently students interact with professional role models extensively throughout their training. Further, due to its collaborative nature, the broad and deep resources of the two host departments provide students with opportunities to develop various specialty interests.