The two semester practicum is a requirement for all psychology majors. Students enrolled in the practicum must also enroll in the practicum seminar course. The practicum is a field study course designed to provide students with the opportunity to observe professionals in the field and practice entry level psychology skills under supervision. Students are placed in a community agency or research setting for a minimum of 100 hours during the semester where they gain experience in the operations of a human service provider agency or research facility. Students are placed at sites specific to an area of interest and participate in activities that "change both the recipient, the provider of the service, and the community at large" (Alvernia University Action Committee report, May, 2009). Both the practicum and practicum seminars are service-learning capstone courses in the psychology curriculum. Consistent with the objectives of Alvernia University's service-learning program, this course involves "critical reflection, personal discovery, and a harmony of values for life, skills for the workplace, and a multidisciplinary experience" (Alvernia University Action Committee report, May, 2009.)
Practicum I & II are required courses in the undergraduate psychology major. It is necessary to prepare for these practicum placements well in advance. If you plan to enroll in Practicum I in the fall, you must prepare prior to the end of the spring semester preceding your practicum experience. If you are planning a December graduation, you may begin the practicum sequence with Practicum II in the spring, but you must then prepare for it in the fall semester preceding your first practicum experience. The following checklist must be completed for the placements to be made in a timely fashion.
- Obtain all required clearances and file them with Michele Pearson (Upland Center Room #223) prior to the end of the semester before your first practicum experience.
- “If clearances are not on file in the Psychology and Counseling Department prior to the first day of the semester, the student will not be allowed to enroll in the practicum. If the student fails a clearance, the course instructor will attempt to place the student in a practicum that does not require a clearance. The practicum agency makes the final decision regarding acceptance of a student within their organization” Alvernia University Course Catalog 2012-2013, p.253.
- Schedule an appointment with the Career Services office and:
- Prepare a resume to take to your interview
- Review any available internships listed on the Career Services website.
- Prepare for the interview
- Schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Matteo before the end of the semester prior to your first practicum experience. Her office is in the Upland Center Room #127.
- Bring your completed Practicum Information Form, your resume, a list of internships possibilities from the Career Service website (if applicable), and your interests for a practicum experience to the meeting with Dr. Matteo.
- Be sure to have an active Alvernia email address. Your Alvernia email address is the only way Dr. Matteo will contact you regarding your practicum placement.
- All placements must be approved by Dr. Matteo. Students may not secure their own placements unless they have consulted with Dr. Matteo prior to doing so.
- For some placements, you will need to complete on-line applications or in-person applications directly. For other placements, Dr. Matteo will make the initial contact and provide you with instructions on contacting the appropriate individual. It is imperative that you follow through with these contacts as soon as you are given the information as many agencies have multiple students who want the same practicum placement. You may need to go through a competitive interviewing process for your practicum placement.
- Dress professionally for the interview!!!
- Every effort will be made to secure a placement within your area of interest in psychology.
- After your interview, email Dr. Matteo with the results of the interview. It is imperative that you let her know when your placement is secured.
- Be aware that you have to complete additional requirements prior to placement. For example, some schools require TB testing in addition to the clearances.
- Try to schedule your classes to allow for one day a week free from class time so you can complete your practicum hours.
- It is your responsibility to adhere to the guidelines provided in this checklist. Failure to do so may result in a failure to secure an approved placement.