Psychology Practicum

Spring - Fall

PSYC 4813: Nicholson Center 471
By Appointment


  Instructor: Stephen T. Paul, Ph.D.                         
Office:    471 Nicholson Center. Office Hours: By appointment
Phone:    (412) 397-5416. E-mail:    paul@rmu.edu

You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.
-- Albert Camus

Overview: The student will complete 120 hours of documented experience at a pre-approved (by myself and the department head) internship site. The student's experience may be a volunteer or paid position that is directly related to the field of psychology and/or the student's career path. Participation in professional activities allows students to experience the work environment in their chosen field, make informed career choices, and enhance their employment credentials. These experiences reinforce the connection between professional and liberal learning through the application of classroom theories to actual occupational problems. This course requires 120 hours on site, as well as the completion of the academic requirements established by the Department of Social Sciences.

Objectives:Upon successful completion of this course, each student will have the ability to:
  1. acquire specialized information, both theoretical and practical, about topics of particular interest to psychologists.
  2. apply knowledge gained in the classroom to diverse social responsibilities and situations.
  3. develop an awareness of and appreciation for the diverse and multiple employment opportunities provided by a Psychology major.
  4. develop a professional network.
  5. apply principles of psychology to solve a personal, organizational, social, research, or industry problem.
Help:The following link may be helpful for identifying volunteer opportunities in your area: Volunteer Solutions
Assessment:Grades will derive from:
  1. Faculty-Student Conferences. (One of these conferences MAY be completed during a site visit by the faculty advisor.) At least three times during the semester, the student will confer with me (faculty advisor) to discuss topics including, but not limited to, the following:
    1. Review of journal entries to date.
    2. Review of pre-planning and drafts for final paper.
  2. Journals: This component should include:
    1. Daily Entries: For each day, list the number of hours worked, a description of daily responsibilities and duties, and a brief paragraph reflecting on that day's experiences.
    2. Weekly Reflections: How are your experiences consistent with or different from the content you learned in your course work? How has your understanding of psychology evolved/changed/been supported by your experiences? How have you grown professionally through this experience?
  3. Photo-Tour of Practicum: This will provide a visual summary of your experience which other potential candidates can view to get a sense of your responsibilities and experiences at the practicum site. Important Note: This component is NOT intended to put you in an any awkward, ethical, or moral dilemmas. You should (a) make sure that your on-site supervisor understands this requirement, and (b) that no photo compromises the privacy or consent of any subject (person, event, or location) in the photos you take. Requirements for this component include:
    1. At least one photo for every 5 hours of on-site practicum time. If you are not sure if a photo can or should be taken, you must ask your site supervisor. Before submitting your final PowerPoint file to me you should have all content checked by the on-site person supervising your practicum experience. THEY will have final say over what can and cannot be included in this file before it is finalized for a grade.
    2. The final PowerPoint slideshow will be organized effectively to convey your duties and responsibilities (and any other topics deemed relevant) visually and in text. In other words, each image should be accompanied by explanatory text. If you are unsure of the value of a photo topic, please discuss it with me beforehand.
  4. Final Evaluation Paper/Project: Compare and contrast your experience in the Practicum with the theories and information that you learned in relevant course work. Requirements for this component include:
    1. The paper must be approximately 10 pages with an appropriate list of citations (if needed) correctly utilizing current APA style of documentation.
    2. If appropriate, the student may be invited to make an oral presentation to a class. The presentation will be arranged and evaluated by the faculty advisor.
  5. Student Evaluation of Practicum Experience: The student will complete in detail the Student Evaluation of Practicum Experience form (see below). The student will make recommendations for future students that may consider completing a Practicum at the same site. A grade will not be assigned for the Practicum if students fail to complete the Student Evaluation of Practicum Experience form.
  6. Site Supervisor's Evaluation of Your Performance: The form for this component is listed (linked) below. However, if the practicum site has and uses its own evaluation, that may serve as a substitute for the one listed here (below).
Policies:
  1. Accomodation: Students who may be eligible to receive learning support or physical accommodations must contact the Center for Student Success at 412-397-4342 to schedule an appointment with a counselor and to learn more about accommodation procedures. To receive accommodations in this course, arrangements must be made through the Center for Student Success.
  2. Lectures & Readings: I expect that you will have read all assigned text materials (if applicable) before we meet to discuss them. When you read, take note of portions that you don't understand well, or that you might have questions about. In this way you will arrive prepared for our meeting to discuss the material like a true scholar.
  3. Academic Integrity: Academic Integrity is valued at Robert Morris University. All students are expected to understand and adhere to the standards of Academic Integrity as stated in the RMU Academic Integrity Policy, which can be found on the RMU website at http://www.rmu.edu/academicintegrity. Any student who violates the Academic Integrity Policy is subject to possible judicial proceedings which may result in sanctions as outlined in the Policy. Depending upon the severity of the violation, sanctions may range from receiving a zero on an assignment to being dismissed from the university. If you have any questions about the policy, please consult me.
  4. Incident Reporting: If there is an incident in which physical contact occurs between two or more persons at the practicum site, students must complete an Incident Report Form which is included in the practicum packet and submit it to their faculty mentor within 48 hours, whether an injury occurred or not. If an injury occurred, it must be discussed in detail, along with listing any medical care which took place. The Incident Report Form is included in each practicum packet, and is available by using the SESS website, clicking on Social Sciences, Practicum, and scrolling to the bottom.
  5. Grading: The required meetings with me will constitute 15 percent of your final grade, and the journal will contribute another 20 percent. Your final paper will earn you 40 percent toward your final grade. The PowerPoint tour will constitute 10 percent of your final grade. The remaining 15 percent will come from your site supervisor's evaluation of your performance together with your own evaluation of the experience. The breakdown below will be used to determine final grades (based on overall percentage earned by semester's end):

      A = 93.0 - 100B = 83.0 - 86.9C = 70.0 - 74.9
      A- = 90.0 - 92.9B- = 80.0 - 82.9D = 60.0 - 69.9
      B+ = 87.0 - 89.9C+ = 75.0 - 79.9F = 0 - 59.9

Documents:The documents below should be helpful in completing the requirements for this course:
  1. Psychology Practicum Timesheet

  2. Student Evaluation of Psychology Practicum Experience

  3. Site Supervisor's Evaluation of Student