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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Program Is Accredited

The Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology, a collaborative offering of Old Dominion University, Eastern Virginia Medical School and Norfolk State University, has received the maximum-duration, seven-year accreditation for its new Ph.D. program.

Robin Lewis, professor of psychology at ODU who leads the university's participation in the joint program, called the accreditation "good news" and an indicator of better things to come.

Since 1982, the consortium program has had continuous accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) for a Psy.D. (doctor of psychology) program. Lewis, former director of the program, helped to lead the transition to a more research-intensive Ph.D. (doctor of philosophy) program in psychology prior to the APA's site visit last November.

"This is our initial accreditation as a Ph.D. program after many years of offering the Psy.D. degree," Lewis said. "We are very pleased that the American Psychological Association awarded the maximum accreditation duration possible, which is seven years. In the Ph.D. program we will continue our tradition of offering excellent practicum training opportunities in Southside Virginia, the Peninsula and Williamsburg. We will also expand our research training to include a required second-year project or master's thesis in additional to the empirical dissertation that we have always required."

The program currently has 20 students working toward a Ph.D. and six more will join the program in the fall. The last class of Psy.D. students has completed all coursework and will begin internships next year.

"We take great pride in the accomplishments of all the graduates of our program who work in a wide variety of health care settings," Lewis said. "We look forward to training the next generation of clinical psychologists in the newly accredited Ph.D. program."

Lewis said entry into APA-accredited Ph.D. programs is extremely competitive and "we expect that we will continue to select from among top students with excellent academic credentials, as well as clinical and research experience. Our Ph.D. program is mentor-based so that students will be paired with a faculty member with common research interests upon entry into the program. Concurrently, in the first semester, the student also begins doing clinical work. This sets the stage for the balance between clinical and research activities that we strive to maintain throughout the program. Our goal is to provide the student with high quality research and clinical training that culminates with the flexibility to pursue his or her desired career path."

Provosts of the three institutions that run the program act as a board of directors for it. Eileen O'Neill, the administrative program coordinator, who is headquartered at NSU, said program leaders have a business session with the provosts annually. "We recently met with the provosts and they were pleased with the laudatory report we'd received from site visitors and were looking forward with us to this good news about accreditation."

Barbara Winstead, professor of psychology at ODU, is on the program's advisory panel together with Lewis. The director of the program is Michael Stutts of EVMS. The associate director is Desi Hacker of NSU.