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Expanding its global presence, Plymouth State University’s College of Graduate Studies is now offering master’s degree programs in School Counseling and School Psychology for international students. The new programs fill a worldwide critical need for school counselors and school psychologists who are skilled in transforming individuals and institutions.
“Plymouth State does a lot of international work, especially with international schools, and school psychology and counseling were notably absent in regard to advanced studies, so this is a prudent and professional decision for us,” said Gary Goodnough, counselor education program coordinator.
Through a blend of both intensive summer study on the PSU campus and online coursework during the remainder of each year, internationally based students can complete the requirements necessary to become professional school counselors and psychologists.
“People have been making inquiries from overseas, asking if we have a program they can attend,” said Leo Sandy, school psychology program coordinator. “So we’ve created an online program that’s relatively user friendly; by having them come to campus during the summer, we can really get to know them.”
Designed for educators who are interested in transitioning from classroom to school counselor or school psychologist, or expanding their knowledge base and range of experience, each cohort will consist of 10–15 students who will progress through their chosen program at the same time. The cohort model encourages collaboration, builds community, and establishes a low faculty to student ratio.
“You might have students in Shanghai, one in Vienna, one in Bahrain, and you don’t want them to feel isolated,” said Goodnough. “The cohort model is a way of keeping them together. They’ll stay here on campus for three consecutive summers and build relationships.”
Plymouth State University’s graduate faculty members are nationally recognized experts in a wide range of areas including school counseling program design, counseling children, group counseling in schools, school psychology, and other issues facing children and schools. They are leaders who are actively involved with national, regional, and state organizations, and they frequently publish professional articles and book chapters.
Sandy believes the on-campus residency during summer months combined with the distance learning element will be both effective and convenient.
“We decided to have students come to campus and take courses where we could observe and teach them interpersonal and counseling skills. Those skills are a critical part of being a school psychologist or counselor. In the online portion we concentrate on the subject content areas, so it’s a mix that makes sense in a professional and interpersonal way,” Sandy said.