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Psychology program receives re-accreditation

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David deBos
Staff Writer

The American Psychological Association has re-accredited the Doctor of Psychology program at La Verne for the next five years.

The program, which began in 1997, offers students a doctorate of psychology in clinical-community psychology at completion of the program.

The APA will revisit the University, first accredited in 2003, again in 2013 for another re-accreditation process.

La Verne’s accreditation was headed by Valerie Jordan and Jerry Kernes, both psychology professors at the University of La Verne.

“Dr. Kernes was responsible for overseeing the accreditation process,” Jordan said.

“The product of his work is a self-study review of our program,” Jordan said.

“It goes through every molecule of the program, every needle in the haystack of our department,” she added.

The process itself also requires a site visit from APA members to evaluate both the program and its facilities and resources.

The APA works closely with the U.S. Department of Education to ensure standards are met.

They also work in conjunction with each other to help set guidelines for accreditation.

After the self-study is submitted, the site visit staff remains on campus for two days.

Site visit staff looks at the program’s curriculum, staff and its relationships with students.

The Council of Accreditation for the APA then offers its decision.

Kernes said he remembers having a number of 23-hour days during the process.

“It’s a never ending process,” he said.

“Another function of the accreditation process is restructuring,” Kernes said. “It allows our program to improve in some ways.”

“We can’t do it just during a site view, it’s a year-round process in terms of improvement.”

One of the concerns about La Verne’s Psy. D. program the APA identified had to do with resources.

Kernes said for the program to grow larger, it would require more resources on campus.

If the program, as it is, were to enroll more students, it would run the risk of losing accreditation.

“The ability to grow is a problem the University as a whole faces too,” Kernes said.

The Psy. D. program at La Verne currently has 94 students enrolled and admits roughly 20 students every year to partake in the five-year doctoral program.

“In terms of accreditation, it’s a U.S invention,” said Susan Zlotlo, director of program consultation and accreditation for the APA.

“A lot of other countries have nationally run quality assurance. The government reviews institutions and government stamp,” Zlotlow said.

“In the U.S., it’s a peer-review model. In the U.S. we get funding for institutions that are accredited.”

“I’m very pleased that we achieved a five-year accreditation from the APA,” said professor of psychology Glenn Gamst.

“It reflects the hard work of our faculty, staff and doctoral students,”

David deBos can be reached at david.debos@laverne.edu.

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