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Psychology program wins national acclaim for cultural diversity


December 06, 2006

The Mary Lou Fulton College of Education's counseling psychology program has been recognized as a national model for encouraging cultural diversity. ASU was presented one of three Suinn Minority Achievement Awards by the American Psychology Association (APA) at the organization's 2006 annual convention in New Orleans .

The award, created in 1999 by APA past president Richard Suinn, recognizes graduate psychology programs that have demonstrated excellence in recruiting, retaining and graduating ethnic-minority students.

According to Suinn, studies show that students exposed to greater racial and ethnic diversity in college exhibit enhanced intellectual skills. As a result, experts say improving curricula is critically important. At the same time, demographic forecasts predict that psychologists will need to increase their cultural competence, in that much of their practice and research will involve other cultures.

APA is committed to presenting the award in its continuing effort to encourage diversity. Winners are selected based on three criteria:

• The department's overall commitment to diversity and ethnic-minority recruitment and retention.

• The percentage of ethnic-minority students in the program.

• The percentage of ethnic-minority students awarded doctorates from the program in the last five years.

“The criteria for the award emphasize actions and achievements rather than promises,” Suinn says.

“The Division of Psychology in Education has a longstanding commitment to the preparation of professionals who are competent to work with culturally diverse clients,” adds Samuel Green, interim director of the division. “This commitment becomes more critical as the population of Arizona grows more culturally diverse.”

Guided by Terence Tracey, professor and program leader, and Sharon Robinson Kurpius, professor and training director, the doctoral program in counseling psychology at ASU closely adheres to the scientist-practitioner training model in preparing graduates for employment in academic and service delivery settings. The program faculty has endorsed the multicultural counseling competencies of the American Counseling Association, and the guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice and organizational change for psychologists, and guidelines for psychotherapy with lesbian, gay and bisexual clients of the APA.

“During the past three to four years, the counseling psychology program faculty members, in collaboration with our doctoral students, have pursued diversity strategies that go beyond recruitment and retention,” says Patricia Arredondo, deputy vice president and university dean for student affairs, and professor of counseling psychology at ASU. “We have examples of faculty-student collaborations that address ethnic minority-related research, conference presentations and mentoring. Ethnic racial minority students have chosen to attend ASU because they know we are serious about multicultural issues in education and training, research and practice,” she says.

Joan M. Sherwood, joan.sherwood@asu.edu
(480) 965-2114