UHV school psychology program earns national accreditation

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 8/3/21

The University of Houston-Victoria’s Specialist in School Psychology program has been awarded national accreditation by the National Association of School Psychologists, according to a UHV …

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UHV school psychology program earns national accreditation

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The University of Houston-Victoria’s Specialist in School Psychology program has been awarded national accreditation by the National Association of School Psychologists, according to a UHV press release. The recognition makes UHV’s program, which is offered through its Katy campus, one of only 13 in Texas accredited by the association.

“This is a historic accomplishment for the School of Arts & Sciences because school psychology is the first nationally accredited program in the school,” said Dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences Craig Goodman.

The program’s recognition will be beneficial to graduates because it shows potential employers that UHV’s school psychology program is above average, Goodman said. On the other hand, he said, it also draws more students to UHV and UHV Katy to continue to build the program up. That subsequently leads to more resources for the school to tap into, he said.

Accreditation also allows students the liberty of obtaining post-graduate certifications and licenses more easily, the press release said. Without the recognition, graduates are required to provide comprehensive course lists, evidence of their training, a portfolio of their training and experience and other application materials. Accreditation allows them to bypass that process.

The effort to gain accreditation took nearly a year and involved the collection of a great deal of data on the part of faculty and staff.

“Dr. Elise Hendricker and Dr. Shannon Viola lead our efforts, and they had to go through and review the course curriculum, there was a site visit, they had to collect data on outcomes and prepare a long report, so it took them the better part of a year to collect all the data and everything they needed to report to the national accreditation agency,” Goodman said.

The accreditation will last for six years and began Aug. 1. Viola, a UHV associate professor and director of the school psychology program, said the effort to get accreditation began before the formal reports were compiled as UHV worked to fine-tune its school psychology program.

“After years of compiling reports, adjusting our program and courses, and an intensive review process, we are proud to reach this milestone for our program and the students we serve,” Viola said.

Hendricker, also an associate professor and chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division at UHV, echoed Viola’s statements and said the program is also unique from a remote learning standpoint as well.

“UHV’s certification is especially exciting because our program is one of the few that offers a distance learning option,” Hendricker said. “Normally, school psychology programs require students to be on campus and learn in person. This stamp of approval shows that online learning can be just as effective.”

UHV student Juliet Polk of Richmond just finished her practicum with Lamar ISD. She had been a teacher for 11 years prior to pursuing school psychology. She became interested in school psychology after working with students to help them get testing for disabilities and special accommodations.

Polk said she was glad the school had gotten accreditation and acknowledged that the program at UHV had helped her develop the skills she needs in her chosen field, as well as giving her the tools to help students.

“Accreditation is an overdue honor,” Polk said. “UHV’s program is excellent, especially when it comes to the faculty members. They are always ready to go above and beyond to help students understand concepts and prepare for their careers.”

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