The Department of Psychology majors and minors are encouraged to learn by doing, and are given many forums in which to accomplish this pedagogical goal.
Students who are interested in research can work with a variety of faculty mentors on topics ranging from the impact of emotion upon memory to children’s adjustment to school. Students receive credit in PSYC 361, research in psychology, for this experience.
Students are given opportunities to demonstrate psychological principles in the real world through service learning options in several classes. For example, students in the psychology of adulthood and aging may interact with elders in the cognitive impairment section of an assisted care facility. Students in child and adolescent psychology may work with children in non-profit day care centers. Students in senior seminar may work to educate college students on the work of the California Transplant Donor Network.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate in at least one internship prior to graduation. Every semester, about 50 students are participating in internships. Every November, the department hosts an internship faire on campus where students can find out about a variety of internship possibilities and sign up for the one that most interests them. Many students take internship units for several semesters, sampling various placements, in order to solidify their occupational interests, to act on their altruistic interests or to satisfy graduate or professional school admission requirements. The majority of intern positions are unpaid. In addition to the supervised work experience, interns participate in an online seminar, have regular meetings with their supervisors, complete relevant readings, attend educational/professional workshops, in-house training and staff meetings.
Internships are an integral part of the department's graduate and credentialing programs. The School Psychology/PPS credential program consists of 68-71 units and three years of training. Courses providing the knowledge base are placed early in the program; nevertheless, more than half the coursework during the first two years involves practical experience. Skill building begins in the first semester with an introductory counseling class followed by group counseling and individual practica in the spring. A school placement in the spring provides a base for these activities. During the second year, students serve in a school placement two days per week, with extensive supervision through practica in behavioral consultation and school interventions. During the following semester, they continue their two days per week assignment during their practicum in school psychology where they continue to engage in a wide array of activities including consultation, counseling and assessment. The School Psychology internship experience comes in the final (third) year of formal training. Due to our program philosophy of close guidance of and involvement with students’ internship experience, we have limited the service days to four per week so that students can attend supervision seminars on campus each week. This results in 1200 hours of service in the field during the third year. All internships are served in public school settings in northern California, so that students are prepared to provide service when they are credentialed for employment in the public schools of California.
Psychology participating practicum and internship sites include
Cascade Union Elementary School District
AS Women’s Center
Barry Kirshner Wildlife Center
The Boys and Girls Club of the North Valley
Butte County Mental Health
Butte Humane Society
Career Planning and Placement Office
Chico Community Children’s Center
Loma Vista Development Center
Student Learning Center
The counseling office at Hank Marsh Junior High School
The Teen Parent Program of Fairview High School
Valley Oak Children's Services