The School at Columbia University is pleased to announce that its prestigious doctoral psychology training program was recently accredited by the American Psychological Association, making it one of only a few schools on the East Coast to receive such a distinction.
“It’s very rare for a school to have an accredited program,” said Dr. Elizabeth Marek, a Social Emotional Learning Liaison at The School who coordinated the rigorous self-study that is the basis for accreditation.
“We credit Columbia University and Head of School Amani Reed, for their willingness to devote resources to the accreditation process, and for their commitment to our program and to the training of future psychologists,” Dr. Marek said.
The program received the highest level of accreditation, which remains in effect for seven years. The next site visit and program review will be held in 2023.
For Dr. Marek and the social emotional learning team at The School, which includes Dr. Samara Blei and Dr. Jamie Schrager, the accreditation process began nearly eight years ago. They prepared the extensive self-study documents and responded to a preliminary review from the APA. They then hosted a two-day site visit from the accreditation team, who interviewed school staff and assessed the program’s adherence to APA standards. Lastly, in December 2016, they responded to the report from that site visit, and received notification of accreditation this past summer.
The annual 10-month program aims to train clinical and/or school psychology graduate students to function independently as psychologists in a school setting. It provides training in a broad range of psychological assessment and intervention activities, supervised clinical experiences, educational seminars, and consultation and collaboration opportunities.
The psychology training program began in 2003, when The School at Columbia opened. It has grown from one part-time trainee in 2003 to three full-time trainees in 2017, one for each division of the school (Grades K-2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6-8).
Dr. Marek expects applications to the program, which typically number 70 annually, to increase tenfold as a result of the accreditation.
“For us, accreditation is a crowning achievement,” Dr. Marek said. “It means we have maintained a high level of excellence throughout this program, and that we will continue to attract the very best applicants.”
“The SEL team at The School has dedicated years of hard work to this program and to this accreditation,” said Amani Reed, Head of School. “The training program fulfills our mission as a school and shares that mission well beyond our walls. Our trainees leave the program to become school psychologists, hospital fellows, private practitioners, and university professors across the country. APA accreditation honors the thoughtful guidance and training we’ve worked so diligently to provide.”