A major strength of the program lies in its faculty. The program has been extremely fortunate in attracting the expertise and teaching of exceptional scholars and professionals. The School Psychology Program is housed in the Counseling and School Psychology Department along with Counselor Training Programs. All faculty members have substantive experience as practicing psychologists. Faculty members have published articles on topics related to school psychology and regularly present papers at state and national conferences, professional workshops, and symposia. They have also been honored with state and national research and educator awards. Further, our faculty are active members and leaders of state and national professional organizations and serve on state and national boards. Full-time faculty with primary assignment and advising responsibilities to the school psychology program are:
Terry Bontrager, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, School Psychology
M.S., Texas A&M University, Counseling and Human Services
M.A., The University of Kansas, Teaching English as a Second Language
Research interests: Cross-cultural issues, assessment of English learners, curriculum-based measurement
Robin Codding, Ph.D., Syracuse University, School Psychology
Research interests: progress monitoring, data-based decision making, school-based academic and behavioral interventions, treatment integrity
Virginia Smith Harvey, Ph.D., Indiana University, Educational/School Psychology
M.S., Indiana University, Counseling and Guidance
Research interests: professional development and supervision, resiliency development
Melissa Pearrow, Ph.D., Northeastern University, Counseling and School Psychology
M.Ed., University of Arkansas, School Psychology
Research interests: Mental health services, violence prevention, student empowerment
Additional full-time faculty members from the Department who contribute to the functioning of the School Psychology Program are listed below, along with their degrees and areas of research:
Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Ed.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, Counseling Psychology
Alisa Beaver, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, Counseling Psychology
Lisa Cosgrove, Ph.D., Duquesne University, Clinical Psychology
Varda Konstam, Ph.D., Fordham University, School Psychology
Ilana Lehmann, Ph.D., Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Rehabilitation Counseling
Esmaeil Mahdavi, Ed.D., Indiana University, Counseling Psychology
Felicia Wilczenski, Ed.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst, School Psychology
Part-time faculty members who have been contributing on a long-standing basis to the functioning of the School Psychology Program are listed below, along with their degrees and areas of research:
Gayle Macklem, M.A. Smith College
Research interests: Self-regulation, bullying prevention, preschool child development
Joan Struzziero, Ph.D., Northeastern University, School Psychology
Research interests: Supervision, bipolar disorder
Deborah Curtiss, CAGS, NCSP, Boston College, School Psychology
Research interests: Autism spectrum disorders
School Psychology Club
The UMass Boston School Psychology Club is a very active organization that provides collegial peer support for students. In addition to monthly meetings, the club sponsors professional speakers. The club is affiliated with the Graduate Student Assembly (see www.gsa.umb.edu), the student governing body to which all graduate students are eligible members.
Students frequently attend state and national professional meetings, and every year some students present at national conferences in conjunction with faculty. Students are required to apply for student membership in at least one professional organization such as the National Association of School Psychologists or the American Psychological Association, and every year a student serves as the student liaison to the National Association of School Psychologists. Students are also encouraged to apply for student membership in a state association such as the Massachusetts School Psychology Association. A UMass Boston student serves as the student representative on the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association Board of Directors on a rotating basis among the trainings programs in the state. Students may join all of these professional organizations at significantly reduced student rates. Financial support for attending conferences can be attained through the UMass Boston Graduate Student Assembly, or by serving as a volunteer for the sponsoring group.
University Facilities and Resources
The University's Library holdings are entered in an on-line public access catalog, available via telecommunication outside the library. The services provide access to databases, library catalogs, and academic resources throughout the world. In addition, UMass Boston students may obtain borrowing privileges at more than 46 local college and universities.
Public computer labs, open seven days a week, provide access to a large number of word processing, spread-sheet, database, statistical, and desktop publishing software packages.
Academic Support and Accommodations
The University supplies academic support to graduate students in study skills, writing, and English as a second language (ESL). In addition, the Ross Center for Disability Services provides related support services for students with identified disabilities. Recommended support services can include sign language interpretation, note taking, testing accommodation, advocacy, and counseling. Eligible students must discuss these recommendations with each professor during the first few weeks of class, preferably by the end of the Drop/Add period. Further, the library (UL) houses an Adaptive Computing Lab that contains adapted computer equipment for student use.
School Psychology Assessment Library and Computer Scoring Facilities
The School Psychology Program at UMass Boston has a number of test instruments for use by students enrolled in the assessment and intervention courses (SPY 602, SPY 603, SPY 604, SPY 607). Because of the limited number of test kits, it is vital that students recognize and respect their classmates' needs. To maximize utilization, the following guidelines apply:
- Students enrolled in assessment courses have first priority at checking out materials being covered in their courses. Others may check out materials for a period of one week.
- Assessment Library hours are posted on the door and usually coincide with assessment course schedules.
- Only one instrument can be borrowed at a time unless the instructor directs otherwise.
- Borrowers are responsible for returning instruments in the condition in which they were checked out. They must reimburse the University for the replacement cost of lost assessment kits or missing parts of kits.
The College of Education and Human Development computer lab, which contains software to facilitate scoring of assessment tools, is reserved for school psychology students, 3-4 PM Mondays and Wednesdays.
Health Service Programs
All students who have paid their health service fees are eligible to participate in the UMass Boston Health Service Programs. Services include general medicine, gynecology, dental, health promotion, drug and alcohol prevention, and mental health services. We advise students from the Department of Counseling and School Psychology seeking mental health services to specifically request an appointment with a UMass Boston Health Service staff clinician rather than risk the possibility of being assigned a UMass Boston clinical psychology practicum student for the intake evaluation. This is because a therapeutic relationship with a clinical psychology practicum student may lead to an ethical conflict because of a dual relationships, that is, in the future the DCSP student and the clinical psychology practicum student may become fellow students in a UMass Boston class or colleagues in community work.
Graduate Assistantships are available and awarded upon the recommendation of faculty. Graduate Assistants typically assist faculty with research five hours per week in return for a stipend, tuition remission, and 25% reduction in the curriculum support fee. Interested students should complete the “Grad Assistantship Application” and submit it to the department Administrative Assistant, Liz Sanchez. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for assistantships in other programs, centers, and institutes. Assistantship openings are posted online here. The Institute for Community Inclusion and the Center for Social Development and Education often hire our students as graduate assistants as well.
Honors and Awards
Students graduating with the Ed.S. in School Psychology are eligible to be nominated by faculty to receive one of three awards. The Vincent Cristiani Award for Leadership in School Psychology recognizes the graduating school psychology student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership while in the program. The award is named in recognition of Dr. Vincent Cristiani, who came to University of Massachusetts Boston from Boston State College in 1982 and founded the School Psychology Program at that time. Under his leadership the program was one of the first in the nation to attain approval by the National Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Cristiani was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Massachusetts School Psychology Association in 1996. The Vincent Cristiani Award for Applied Scholarship in School Psychology is awarded to the graduating school psychology student who has demonstrated the highest level of applied research scholarship while in the program. It is given in recognition of Dr. Vincent Cristiani's nurturing applied research in his roles as Program Director, Associate Dean, and Department Chair during his years at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Both of the Cristiani awards are supported by the Vincent Cristiani Foundation, which was funded by grateful friends, colleagues, and alumni upon his retirement in 1995. The Book Award for Academic Excellence in School Psychology recognizes the graduating school psychology student who has demonstrated the highest academic achievement in the program and is supported by the Office of Graduate Studies.
Advisory Council and Program Changes
The program consistently strives to maintain high educational and professional standards as promulgated by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and uses a variety of sources of information to achieve this goal. The UMass School Psychology Program Advisory Council is composed of current and former students, faculty, and practitioners from the greater Boston area who meet to discuss the program needs. The council’s advice helps us to better serve our diverse student population, structure curriculum to meet the needs of children and adolescents in a multicultural urban setting, and ensures that graduates are competent in areas essential for the thoughtful and responsive practice of school psychology. In addition, the program uses alumni feedback to inform program decisions. While student input throughout the program is solicited, particularly through course evaluations, alumni are also asked to complete a “Program Evaluation Form” which indicates programmatic strengths and weaknesses. Similarly, intern field supervisors are asked for opinions and suggestions regarding programmatic changes on the “Intern Evaluation” Form. Finally, the Program Director and faculty stay in close contact with professional organizations to ensure compliance with current policies and standards. All of these sources of information are used to determine appropriate programmatic changes on a regular basis.
Program Director: Terry Bontrager, Ph.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org