The American Psychological Association (APA) has awarded the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology (CCSP) at UC Santa Barbara a full seven-year re-accreditation. The APA claims, “Accreditation assures us that higher education programs and institutions meet professional standards of academic and operational integrity and quality.” The accreditation process involves a comprehensive review of the mission, goals, and processes of the department in order to ensure that the program is of high quality and that both clinical training and research objectives are being met. A seven year re-accreditation is the highest distinction given to a program by the APA Commission on Accreditation.
Four types of programs are accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of the APA: Counseling, Clinical, School, and Combined Scientific-Professional Psychology (any program that covers at least two of the three areas). Currently UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology is one of only nine combined accredited programs in the country; what’s more, CCSP is one of only two programs in the country accredited in all three areas.
“UCSB is so proud of the research and teaching accomplishments of our CCSP department,” says Gevirtz School Dean Jane Close Conoley. “This full accreditation from APA is evidence of the department's national distinction. The faculty’s focus on resiliency, risk, trauma and thriving make it unique among its national peers.”
The accreditation process begins with a formal invitation for APA to conduct a review. Next the program conducts a self-study to assess effectiveness, strengths and areas for potential improvement, based on accreditation standards and prepares a report. Peer reviewers from outside the program analyze this self-study report and conduct an on-site review to validate information in the self-study report. Findings from the internal and external reviews are presented by the peer reviewers to the accreditor’s decision-making body. Finally, the Committee on Accreditation of the APA makes the accreditation decision based on the findings and any additional comments from the program or institution.
The UCSB program first received accreditation from the APA body as a Counseling Psychology program in 1981. In 1986 and again in 1988, site visit teams from the Committee on Accreditation of the APA re-accredited the program in the same specialty area. In 1990, the Department also received a three-year provisional accreditation for the combined program (for students entering the Department in September 1991 or later). In 1994, APA gave five years full accreditation to the combined CCSP Department. In 2006 APA conducted a site review and CCSP again received a full seven-year accreditation.
Finally, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) accredits units that offer state-level credentials for practice in the schools; UC Santa Barbara’s School Psychology Specialization, which offers a pupil personnel services credential in school psychology, is fully accredited by the CTC. The specialization is also approved by the National Association of School Psychologists.