Letter: USM decision threatens program accreditation

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As a community we have a shared interest in seeking the best possible outcomes for our children. School psychologists work to achieve positive outcomes by consulting with parents and educators to assess and identify appropriate interventions for students with academic, behavioral, cultural, social or emotional needs. Maine is fortunate to have an excellent doctoral-level training program in school psychology at the University of Southern Maine, the only doctoral-level school psychology program in northern New England.
 
This program was launched in 2005, has 14 graduates, and 26 current students. A majority of doctoral programs in school psychology are accredited by the American Psychological Association. The USM program formally states that it is, “fully committed to obtaining APA accreditation as soon as possible.” However, a relatively new program such as ours must first meet a variety of standards, including maintaining a minimum of three full-time tenure-track faculty positions.
 
The USM program was prepared to submit a request for accreditation this fall. However, in early April we were informed that this must be tabled indefinitely as the university has decided not to replace a full-time tenure-track position opening at the end of this term.
 
Accreditation ensures program quality and offers Maine’s citizens confidence that program graduates are in the best position to serve Maine’s students by effectively contributing to quality academic, behavioral, and occupational outcomes.
 
We implore your readership to support us in advocating for continued funding of the existing tenure-track faculty position in USM’s School Psychology Program.

Susan Jarmuz-Smith and Beth Lubetkin
Student representatives, USM Psy.D. Accreditation Task Force
Portland
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