New Psychology Ph.D. Program to Debut in Fall 2011
People are more than neurons, molecules and chemicals.
How we view life, take it in and dish it back out is a complex system that has been the focus of the humanistic approach to psychology at UWG for more than three decades.
“We experience, we process, we remember,” said Dr. Donadrian Rice, chairman of the Psychology Department.
“Our experience represents who we are,” Rice said.
This fall the journey through human consciousness will take another turn when the department unveils its new Ph.D. program.
In February the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved the program, “Psychology: Consciousness and Society.”
The existing Psy.D. doctoral program in psychology (Individual, Organizational and Community Transformation), which began offering classes in the fall of 2007, will be phased out.
“I am very excited about it,” Rice said. “This is a dream come true. I didn’t expect it to come so soon.”
This is the first Ph.D. program in a traditional discipline offered by a school in the robust tier, Rice said.
Classes in Kennesaw State University‘s Ph.D. in International Conflict Management began last fall.
Also last fall, Georgia Southern University began classes in a Ph.D. program in Logistics/Supply Chain Management.
Georgia Southern has a Psy.D. program in clinical psychology.
With its emphasis on theory and qualitative research and three-pronged approach to the study of consciousness (humanistic, critical and transpersonal) UWG’s program will be unique, said Dr. Kareen R. Malone.
The program proposal was reviewed by Dr. Garnett S. Stokes, the dean of the Franklin College of Arts & Sciences at University of Georgia, and Dr. W. Keith Campbell, head of UGA’s Psychology Department.
“It’s the only program of its kind in the state and one of the few in the country,” Campbell said.
“It will give Georgia a good deal of visibility, especially internationally. A lot of European students are interested in this type of work,” Campbell said. “It will help improve our visibility.”
Prospective students will see Georgia “as the home of good psychology programs. We all win,” he said. “Whenever the university system does well, we all win.”
Over the next few months the psychology faculty will review the existing Psy.D. curriculum and make necessary changes for the new offering, said Malone, who is the director of Ph.D. program.
The emphasis on praxis will continue, she said.
UWG first applied for a Ph.D. program in 2005, but was urged by the regents to offer a Psy.D. program instead.
Going through that evolution has enriched the department, Malone said.
“We learned a lot from the Psy.D. program: the increasing interest in the theory of transformation; the importance of transformation; we articulated the diversity of theory in the critical, humanistic and transpersonal [branches],” she said.
“We would not know how many people want to be involved in projects…. We had to make a practical program. That really opened up some new possibilities. It was a good learning experience. We got the kinks out.”
Students wanted to increase their knowledge, but they also wanted to know how to make change happen. For students, interest in the social justice arena and discursive research extend beyond more individualistic approaches, Malone said.
“Immigration issues, global issues and community empowerment are topics of concern. An interest in holistic health, for example, goes beyond the usual biologically driven approaches. Considering the spiritual dimensions adds a lot to an interdisciplinary and multifaceted approach to community,” she said.
“We are developing students who have creative ways of thinking.”
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