On Friday, August 29th, Alaska Pacific University (APU) students, faculty, staff and administration, along with APU President, Don Bantz, welcomed back to campus APU’s first cohort of students from the Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology program (Psy.D.). Members of the cohort were recipients of APU’s first ever doctoral degree at the commencement ceremony in April, 2014. The cohort was back on campus to dedicate a class gift, a meditation bench for the Leah J. Peterson Garden immediately in front of the Carr-Gottstein Academic Center, where the Psychology & Human Services Department resides and where the doctoral program’s classes are held.
Renee Georg, Co-Chair of the Psychology & Human Services Department, served as Master of Ceremony and began with a champagne toast in honor of the program’s first cohort and the dedication of their gift to APU. She introduced Robert Lane, Director of the Psy.D. program, who gave a quick update on how the program and associated projects were progressing. He noted that the program faculty is working with the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education in preparation for applying to have APU’s Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) in the fall of 2015, a project funded in part by the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority. He reported that curriculum revisions were underway that would expand the current three year degree into to a four year program that better fits the APA’s standards. He indicated there are continued efforts to create a functional clinic open to the community that can serve as a place for assessment and counseling practicums and pre-doctoral internships. He ended his remarks by acknowledging his appreciation of the cohort’s ability to adapt to the evolving program.
Renee then introduced Erika Stannard, Psy.D., a primary organizer in bringing the class donation to fruition. Erika worked closely with Harry Kachline, caretaker of APU’s campus gardens, to determine an appropriate class gift. Once the decision was made to go with the bench, Kachline created a small gravel pad and stones upon which to rest the bench. The pad is surrounded by flowers on three sides with a plan to grow roses or peonies there in the future, he said. The bench is arranged so that when seated, people will enjoy the flower garden, expanse of green lawn, Gould Hall across the street (where the program has a growing assessment and counseling center) and, beyond Gould Hall, the front line of the Chugach Mountains that hem Anchorage in from the east.
After her remarks, Stannard officially dedicated the bench by affixing the following plaque:
The crowd responded with a second toast, applause and cheers.
Learn more about APU’s Doctoral Program in Counseling Psychology today. The deadline for applications for admission to the next Psy.D. cohort is October 15, 2014.