Vol 58 No. 4 : April 2006
Vol 58 No. 4 : April 2006
Educational Psychology Clinic has New Look
The Educational Psychology Clinic began a new era this spring under director Kristen Powers with a fresh coat of paint, a new floor and an eye toward growth.
For more than 30 years, the clinic has provided comprehensive educational and psychological services to community children at moderate costs. (Children of CSULB employees accepted by the center enroll for 50 percent off.) With the help of individualized attention from graduate students overseen by College of Education faculty, the clinic offers academic tutoring, counseling or psycho-educational assessment to between 80 and 90 community children in its offices in Education building 2.
“There always are more children than the center can accommodate,” said Powers, who joined the Educational Psychology, Counseling and Administration Department in 2000. “Therefore, we accept those children with the gravest problems.”
The clinic has 22 rooms with one-way mirrors and listening devices that allow faculty to observe graduate students while they work with clients. Thus, graduate students are provided direct supervision as they develop their clinical skills. Clinic staff members recruit and process the clients, manage the records, order materials and check out resources to students. The clinic’s inventory includes more than 100 cognitive, academic, social-emotional and perceptual assessments and more than 30 social-emotional programs. It is open from 1-7 p.m. four nights per week and one Saturday each semester. The faculty includes Ed Psych’s Powers, Christine Bhat, Kristi Hagans-Murillo, James A. Morrison, and Teacher Education’s Joan Theurer.
In 2004-05, more than 64 graduate students completed practical hours in the clinic. That same year, the clinic extended the practical opportunities to include assessment of children ages 3-5 years old. More than 300 CSULB undergraduate, graduate and credential students used clinic resources (remediation materials, social skills programs, test equipment, observation rooms) to support their learning outcomes.
In one of her first innovations as director, Powers looks forward to the 2006-07 term when the College of Education’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program begins use of the clinic, introducing adult clients for the first time.
“MFT majors have the chance to learn their skills the same way as other graduate students preparing to serve the community learn theirs,” she said. “It is a natural fit.” To accommodate rising demand, Powers dreams of opening the clinic year-round. “It’s my vision to hire graduate students to work at the clinic several days a week,” she said. “It might even move the clinic into a more favorable fiscal position.”
Currently, the clinic’s operating budget is approximately $20,000. Student fees contribute between $5,000 and $7,000 while client fees bring in between $4,000 and $6,000. Half the clients pay reduced fees. Powers is applying for external funding from local and national foundations. “Additional funding would help to cover operating expenses as we seek funding and it would allow us to expand our services to training CSULB MFT students in 2006-07,” she explained.
Powers served as a school psychologist and assistant to the assistant superintendents of Special Education and Research in the Long Beach Unified School District for three years before joining CSULB in 2000. She received her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1997.
She has three goals for the center – expand how many grad students work in the clinic, reach out to the community to enable more children to benefit and achieve fiscal solvency. Achieving these goals would be impossible without the help of graduate assistant Celia Adame and student assistant Jackie Letcher. The growth of the clinic is guided by the newly formed Clinic Advisory Committee, which includes College of Education faculty, faculty from neighboring universities, and local school and mental health professionals.
“Really, it comes down to helping children,” she said. “For the children who have been told over and over that they can’t do something, I hope the clinic shows they can do these things. I want them to see they can make progress given the right kind of environment. And by providing our graduate students with the best in counseling, tutoring or assessment training, the children they serve in their professional careers benefit as well.”
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