PsyD welcomes third cohort, makes plans for APU’s first doctorate grads in 2014

Alaska Pacific University welcomed new students to its Psychology Doctorate program, making the Class of 2016 the third cohort to be admitted since program inception in 2011.

Robert A. Lane, Ph.D. and PsyD director, said three years of reviewing applications have convinced him that APU’s accredited program has found its niche among practitioners seeking an applied clinical psychology doctorate.

“We envisioned a program for mid-career professionals who want to learn together in intensive weekend seminars without having to choose between school and employment,” Lane said.

“We now have three admissions periods behind us, and this is the common thread: Our students want a challenging program so that they may grow in their profession without quitting their jobs.”

The degree offers two tracks, one for license-eligible students and the other for those who do not seek licensing as an Alaska psychologist.

The new cohort arrived March 22 in advance of classes starting in May. In between are formal presentations April 14-15 by students graduating in 2014. Projects Demonstrating Excellence satisfy the PsyD dissertation.

The Class of 2014 will spend the upcoming academic year completing a required pre-doctoral internship of at least 1,500 hours. Lane said the group already has begun planning graduation regalia to mark its dual status as the first PsyD class and the University’s first doctoral class.

Initial plans call for navy blue gowns with gold velvet stripes on the sleeves and front panel, a hexagon tam, and a gold and blue hood.

“I find myself envisioning them walking across the stage,” Lane said. “It’s a great motivator.”

The University’s PsyD degree is a three-year program involving two years of classwork and practica followed by the internship year. Low-residency means APU’s program is suitable for students beyond Anchorage.

The program has evolved with experience.

For instance, classes now are offered throughout the summer and a third practicum is required. The program also has begun considering accreditation in addition to one earned in 2012 from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Plans for an on-campus counseling center will increase the number of potential internship sites, Lane said, adding that he looks forward to these and other refinements as the PsyD program grows.

“What I want is for all our PsyD graduates to be well trained and ready to go out and share their skills, talent and knowledge to the benefit of everyone else.”

Alaska Pacific University is a private liberal arts and sciences university committed to personalized, experiential learning that incorporates Alaska as our principal classroom. APU is Alaska’s only four-year, private baccalaureate liberal arts university.