Doctoral students complete practicum in two settings: The Muncie Community Schools (Primary) and the Psychoeducational, Diagnostic, and Intervention Clinic (PDIC). In 2009, the program adopted two elementary schools (Grissom Elementary and Sutton Elementary) in Muncie, Indiana with the highest percentage of ethnic minorities in the area. Both schools also have a high percentage of students receiving the reduced lunch program. In addition, Grissom Elementary houses the low-incidence classrooms for the Muncie Community Schools (MCS). Our students also provide psychological services to Wilson Middle School and Southside High School. The PDIC is housed on the 5th floor of Teacher College, which is the same floor as the Department of Educational Psychology. The PDIC provides psychological assessments to children, adolescents, and adults in Central Indiana, with the majority of referrals coming from the Ball State community (e.g., students, faculty, staff, faculty children) and Muncie, Indiana. Both settings are clearly dedicated to training. MCS offers students opportunities for consultation and prevention as well as psychological assessments. There is an emphasis on providing empirically supported interventions to clients. MCS provides office space for practicum students. The services offered by the students supplement those provided by each school’s school psychologist. Although the PDIC provides psychological assessment services at a greatly reduced cost, the primary objective of the clinic is student training.
Two school psychology core faculty (Maria Hernandez-Finch and Ball) provide on-site supervision in the Muncie Community Schools. Hernandez-Finch is a licensed school psychologist and Ball is licensed school psychologist and psychologist. David McIntosh and Andrew Davis, who are licensed school psychologists and psychologists, supervise the PDIC. Advanced doctoral students offer additional practicum supervision optionswithin the Muncie Community Schools and PDIC for MA- and EdS-level students under the direct supervision of licensed psychologists.
The prepracticum and practicum sequence is integrated with coursework. During the first two semesters in the program, students complete courses in assessment (cognitive, academic, and personality), consultation, psychopathology, and professional issues in school psychology, as well as other foundational psychology courses. Students also take prepracticum in school psychology (first semester) and prepracticum in consultation (second semester), where the focus is on observing classrooms, case conferences, and evaluations. Students also shadow school psychologists and more advanced students. The primary objective of prepracticum is to become oriented to the practice of school psychology and begin to become familiar with professional practice.
During practicum, students are required to attend weekly seminars planned by the practicum coordinator (Maria Hernandez-Finch). Weekly meetings allow for specific coverage of relevant topics as well as a forum for students to share and discuss their various experiences. In addition, students receive one-on-one, face-to-face supervision for at least one hour week with either Hernandez-Finch or Ball.
During the first summer of their program, students complete a psychological evaluation within the PDIC under the direct supervision of an advanced doctoral student. The supervision is one-on-one and intensive with the goal of preparing students for the 2nd year practicum experience in the MCS and PDIC. Also, in the summer, students complete courses in applied behavior analysis, behavior consultation, and statistics.
The practicum is directly linked to the program’s goals and objectives. Students must demonstrate competencies specific to all program objectives during the practicum year. Specifically, practicum affords students the opportunity to demonstrate skills and competencies in such areas as assessment, prevention, intervention, consultation, evaluation and research in response to a number of problem situations within the schools. Students also must show the ability to implement and evaluate evidenced-based interventions.
The total minimum number of practicum hours required of all PhD students is 550. These hours are in addition to hours required for individual testing courses such as EDPS 651 and EDPS 654. Of the 550 hours, at least 200 hours must involve direct service and 100 hours must be met under formally scheduled supervision. No student will receive a grade for practicum or start internship until he/she has: 1) completed an exit interview with his/her practicum supervisor and 2) been judged competent to proceed based on the final evaluation.