Field Experience PSYC/PRPS 455

INTRODUCTION TO FIELD EXPERIENCE

Field Experience is a structured and supervised learning experience in the community, where students are provided the opportunity to apply their learning of psychology in the field under the mentorship and supervision of a faculty member and a community expert. These courses are a service learning opportunity that affords students the opportunity to integrate their educational experience. Students can earn course credit for work done outside the classroom and gain practical experience in psychology. This experience can also be helpful in guiding decisions regarding career and graduate school choices. Upon graduation, psychology majors will be entering a competitive job market or applying to graduate school. Field experience in the community is one way to help prepare for this transition. Field experience is an integral component of the learning experience at APU and is closely tied to the mission and vision of the university and the department of Psychology.

"Service may be the most significant experience you will be involved in while a student at APU. Service opportunities fulfill the need that we all have to give back to a needy world because of all we have been given. It defines our faith and informs our actions. Whether you give a cup of cold water, a warm coat, a semester of tutoring, or four weeks of practical ministry to a third-world country, service will prepare you to be a contributor to the economy of God." – John Wallace, President of APU (APU UG Catalog, p. 2)

"The Department of Psychology at Azusa Pacific University is a community of Christian scholars, who, with their diverse backgrounds and expertise in understanding human behavior in society, are committed to enhancing the development of students through intellectual challenge, experiential learning, personal growth, and spiritual discovery so that students develop their potential and are prepared for where God is leading them to serve." (APU Department of Psychology, Mission Statement, APU UG Catalog).

All BA psychology majors are required to enroll in field experience to fulfill the Domain D: Applied Learning requirement. Field experience provides for the development of professional skills under direct supervision in an applied setting. The student field experience must include all of the following:

a) 100 hours of para-professional service to an applied agency. For most students, this will involve working directly with individuals or groups served by the assigned agency. For some students, for example, students interested in Organizational/Business Psychology, the 100 hours of service may involve organizational development activities that involve committee or community meetings, data collection and analysis, or other psychological and systemic professional activities. All service plans will be pre-approved by the faculty member prior to beginning a field experience.

b) Weekly interaction with an agency, on-site mentor/supervisor involving an average of 45 minutes to an hour each week of individual and/or group supervision.

c) Weekly group supervision and classroom instruction provided on a regular schedule over the course of the student’s field experience by a program faculty member on campus. Faculty are required to meet with students in smaller groups (e.g. 8-10 students at a time) and meet with students weekly in the group format for a minimum of 1.5 hours each group. All students should be assigned to a group that meets for a minimum of 1.5 hours each week.

d) Evaluation of the student’s performance throughout the field experience including a formal evaluation by the on-site supervisor at the midterm and end of the field experience.

Students interested in undertaking a field experience course should meet with a faculty instructor or the field placement coordinator a minimum of two months prior to the commencement of the semester in order to begin the process of securing a site. You will need a permission code issued by the instructor or the field placement coordinator prior to enrolling. Many organizations will require an extensive interview and background checking process that can take 6-8 weeks to complete. Students who have not been cleared by the agency to begin direct service work by the second week of the semester will be asked to withdraw from the course.

The Director of Field Training is Dr. Kathryn Ecklund, Professor of Psychology. You may meet with Field Placement Coordinator Wanda Mitchell to discuss possible field sites and to ensure that we have a current affiliation agreement on file. You may reach Wanda at (wmitchell@apu.edu). Dr. Brian Eck is also available for guidance. Dr. Eck can be reached at (beck@apu.edu). If you are at a regional campus, please contact the director of the regional site for assistance. You may also contact Wanda Mitchell.

NOTE: Students seeking to enter the professional work setting upon graduation usually benefit from two semesters or one full year of field experience. For example, if a graduate secures a position in the public mental health agency setting, one year of experience may result in a second year rank and salary appointment. This is not the case if a student completes one semester of field experience.

CATALOG DESCRIPTION

PSYC 455/PRPS 455 Field Experience I

This course is designed for students who have completed most of the psychology major requirements. Each student participates in one or more endeavor(s) that offer(s) an opportunity to apply formal training in a professional setting while acquiring new knowledge. Course can be repeated 3 times for up to nine (9) units.

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

  • Those students interested in taking field experience should begin by attending a planning meeting held in the department of psychology prior to pre-registration. If a student is unable to attend the group meeting, they should meet with the director of field training, the field placement coordinator or one of the field experience faculty, no later than two months prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student would like to enroll in the course.

  • Following the group or individual meeting, students will begin to contact selected agencies to seek placement as a volunteer/fieldwork student. A wide range of settings are available, including those that involve working in schools, rehabilitation settings, residential or day treatment facilities, and assisting in various community agencies. Most undergraduate fieldwork experiences are unpaid. If a student secures a paid position, they are still eligible to use the setting as a field site, provided that the site meets the departmental requirements.

  • Students will contact the agency that they are interested in, ask to speak to the volunteer coordinator in the human resources department, and introduce themselves and their objective, using the level of professionalism and communication skill that would be used if seeking full-time professional positions. The human resources personnel will direct them in how to pursue the field experience through their agency, as each agency will have its own unique procedure.

  • Students are provided a list of potential agency settings and are also allowed to secure a placement in an agency not on the list, provided the site meets the departmental requirements, and the course instructor or director of field training approves the setting. It is the student’s responsibility to secure a placement.

  • A list of possible field sites can be found below. It is the student's responsibility to contact the site and verify there is a current Affiliation Agreement in place between APU and the site. If not, a copy of the agreement form can be found underneath Department Requirements. Contact Field Placement Coordinator, Wanda Mitchell, to ensure there is an agreement in place.

  • Any student who does NOT have a placement secured by week 2 of the semester will be counseled to drop the course.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION