Spring 2020 Newsletter

Congrats psych grads! We hope you enjoy our rendition of the Brady Bunch theme song. Although we can't sing it to you in person, we want you to know how proud we are of each and every one of you. We wish you the absolute best as you continue to live out and pursue your goals. Know that we'll be praying for you each step of the way!

And in case you're wondering - none of our faculty are quitting their day job to pursue a music career.

We are excited to announce that our MS in Child Life program is now one of seven academic programs in the U.S. endorsed by the Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP).

Our program's structure, curriculum, resources, and support meet or exceed the requirements set forth in the Standards for Academic and Clinical Preparation Programs, as defined by ACLP. Thus, their endorsement assures students our program prepares them to become Certified Child Life Specialists, after completing the appropriate test and application. Indeed, according to ACLP “Students graduating from an endorsed program during the period of endorsement will still need to complete an eligibility assessment with ACLP, but will not need to have each course reviewed, as endorsement signifies inclusion of all areas of the coursework requirements. This means students graduating from an endorsed program during the period of endorsement have the assurance that their coursework satisfies the 2019 coursework requirements for exam eligibility. Students who have graduated from or are enrolled in an ACLP-endorsed academic program during the period of endorsement must contact the ACLP office in order to start their Eligibility Assessment.”

What is Child Life?

Life can be stressful at times, especially for children. Child Life Specialists are trained professionals with expertise to help children and families in times of stress facing challenging circumstances, such as hospitalization, trauma, illness, grief, and disability. Child Life specialists prepare children and families for healthcare encounters, educate regarding diagnosis and medical procedures, support during stressful times and normalize the environment for children. For further information regarding Child Life, please visit Association of Child Life Professionals (ACLP) at www.childlife.org For information about APU’s Master of Science in Child Life program, please visit www.apu.edu/childlife or contact jbabikian@apu.edu

The Masters in Research Psychology and Data Analysis program trains students in research methodology and statistics in order to become a competitive applicant for Ph.D. programs and to be able to work in the research and data industry. Some updates:

Students headed to Ph.D. programs - Over the past few weeks, we have seen our 2020 graduating cohort receive offers to multiple fully funded Ph.D. programs in different areas of psychology. Congrats!

Now introducing… SAS! The program is moving to SAS. Starting Fall 2020, students will have the option of learning SAS, a popular statistical coding software that is used across multiple industries. Additionally, those students that complete their course work in SAS will earn a SAS Joint Certificate in Statistical Analysis.

New concentrations in Data, Marketing, & I/O Psych: To assist our students in furthering their knowledge and becoming more competitive in the workforce, this year, the program has added optional concentrations in Data Analytics, Marketing Research, and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Students that wish to complete an optional concentration complete 9 additional units of course work. Although this increases the number of required units, the majority of the 2020 cohort decided to add an optional concentration to their degree.

Before becoming the Director of our MS in Counseling Psychology program, Dr. Danielle Lascano taught a variety of courses in the psychology department for the past five years. She began her career in community mental health working with runaway teens in crisis and foster care youth. In addition to working at APU, Dr. Lascano also works with Building Forever Families Initiative to help improve the visitation process and reunify families. Her passion is to help children who have experienced trauma, especially those who have experienced loss.

Interested in becoming a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)? The MS in Counseling Psychology prepares students to be an LPCC. It is quite unique that it offers an emphasis in how to work with children and adolescents. Many mental health sites are excited to work with our students, given their the knowledge base they acquire working specifically with youth. Additional information is available online. You can also reach out to jbabikian@apu.edu to arrange a time to meet with our faculty and learn more!


Textbooks can be expensive! For many of our psych students in financial need, the cost of a book can discourage them from staying at APU, completing their degree, or keeping up with the reading for a class.

To support our students, we've created a Psychology Textbook Library. And you can help!

At the beginning of the Fall semester, donate your psychology textbook by dropping it off in the psychology office. Your donation means students in financial need can check out a psych textbook, free of charge, every semester!

We hope you'll join with others who've already supported the Psychology Textbook Library so our students can focus on becoming the difference makers they're called to be!

Dr. William Whitney, Associate Professor of Psychology, received a $219,915 grant from John Templeton Foundation's Academic Cross-Training (ACT) Fellowship. Funding will support Dr. Whitney as he undertakes a three-year research project entitled, “Understanding the Virtues of Purpose, Patience, and Hope in the Midst of Suffering or Significant Stress.” His study will focus on how certain virtues hold potential to uniquely contribute to human flourishing.

To explore this topic, Whitney and his team will interview and survey people undergoing times of hardship, such as patients waiting to receive a formal cancer diagnosis. His findings will join the body of research on the benefits of hope, patience, and purpose, deepening the understanding of these virtues in times of suffering and enriching his work as a professor and licensed therapist.

“We all have difficulties in our lives—and this is a topic that holds meaning for everyone,” said Whitney. “This research will investigate mindsets and virtues that can ground us in things that matter during adversity, helping us cope more effectively.”

In a quest to address life’s “big questions,” the Templeton ACT fellowship specifically seeks out professionals with degrees in theology or philosophy and equips them to engage further in the empirical sciences. With a Ph.D. in systematic theology, Whitney brings his theological expertise to the study of virtue science within positive psychology. At the end of the three-year grant, Whitney will also have completed coursework for a second Ph.D. in developmental psychology at Claremont Graduate University.

“Christianity’s insights on purpose, patience, and hope contribute valuable perspectives to current research," said Whitney. “They are virtues that can lead to perseverance in the present and are theological topics that overlap with positive psychology’s emphasis on virtues and virtue development.”