James Madison University

Goals, Objectives, and Competencies

Goal #1: Foundational Knowledge of the Science and Practice of Psychology. To produce professional psychologists who appreciate and understand the broad and general knowledge base that informs the profession of psychology.

Objective #1-1 Knowledge of Scientific Psychology. Production of graduates who have acquired and demonstrated substantial understanding of scientific psychology. 

Competency 1-1  Demonstrates acquisition of the current body of knowledge in the following areas: 

1-1-a. Biological Aspects of Behavior
1-1-b. Cognitive & Affective Aspects of Behavior
1-1-c. History & Systems of Psychology
1-1-d. Social Aspects of Behavior
1-1-e. Psychological Measurement
1-1-f. Research Methodology and Data Analysis

Objective #1-2 Knowledge of the Foundations of Practice. Production of graduates who have acquired and demonstrated substantial understanding of the foundations of practice.

Competency 1-2  Demonstrates acquisition of the current body of knowledge in the following areas: 

1-2-a. Individual differences
1-2-b. Cultural differences
1-2-c. Human development
1-2-d. Dysfunctional behavior and psychopathology
1-2-e. Professional standards and ethics
1-2-f. Empirically supported principles that inform assessment and   
1-2-g. Supervision and consultation

Objective 1-3 Knowledge of the Relationship between Science and Practice. Production of graduates who understand the relationship between science and practice, including the potential synergy as well as some of the differences and tensions between scientific and humanistic modes of thinking and the influence such modes have historically had on the profession.

Competency 1-3-a  Able to articulate a scientific humanistic philosophy that informs their practice
Competency 1-3-b  Able to describe the ways in which science influences practice and practice influences science

Objective #1-4 Scholarship in Psychology. Production of graduates who appreciate the value of research and have the capacity to employ applied research methodology in a scholarly manner.

Competency 1-4-a  Demonstrates the ability to conduct a literature review
Competency 1-4-b  Demonstrates a basic grounding in research methodology
Competency 1-4-c  Able to generate a scholarly product and present it at a professional conference or in a scholarly publication

Goal #2 Effective Practitioners. To produce professional psychologists who can effectively diagnose, assess, and treat psychological problems in diverse people across the lifespan in an ethical manner. An emphasis is placed on integrative approaches to therapy and assessment, and conducting effective work in international, interprofessional, and multidisciplinary settings. 

Objective #2-1 Therapeutic Aptitude. Production of graduates who skillfully empathize with their clients and consistently develop deep and meaningful therapeutic alliances. 

Competency 2-1-a  Demonstrates the ability to form a working alliance with patients and clients. 
Competency 2-1-b  Demonstrates the ability to deeply listen, understand and validate their clients’ phenomenological experiences and worldview
Competency 2-1-c  Demonstrates the ability to consistently instill hope in clients and achieve good therapeutic engagement and is able to discuss ruptures and resistances
Competency 2-1-d  Shows good self-reflective skills and awareness of his or her role in the therapeutic process and is aware of own particular feelings, attitudes, and limitations
Competency 2-1-e  Demonstrates knowledge of ethical issues pertaining to the therapeutic relationship and takes appropriate action around issues of boundaries, confidentiality, and documentation

Objective #2-2 Assessment, Diagnosis, and Conceptualization. Production of graduates who are able to effectively assess, diagnose, and conceptualize psychological problems across the lifespan in a manner that generates understanding that is helpful to relevant parties.

Competency 2-2-a  Demonstrates the ability to effectively conduct a clinical interview
Competency 2-2-b  Demonstrates the ability to effectively administer, score, and interpret cognitive, achievement, and personality assessments 
Competency 2-2-c  Demonstrates the ability to conduct behavioral observations of children in various settings
Competency 2-2-d  Demonstrates knowledge of psychiatric diagnostic criteria and can diagnose utilizing the DSM system
Competency 2-2-e  Demonstrates the ability to integrate information from various sources to generate a rich, holistic account of an individual in a manner that yields clear recommendations
Competency 2-2-f  Demonstrates the ability to communicate findings both verbally and in writing in an effective manner
Competency 2-2-g  Demonstrates knowledge of ethical issues pertaining to assessment, such as the appropriate usage of tests and reporting of data

Objective #2-3 Interventions. Production of graduates who identify as evidence based professional practitioners who are able to effectively intervene with clients presenting with a wide variety of psychological concerns across the lifespan.

Competency 2-3-a  Able to identify appropriate treatment goals and specify how the intervention will work toward achieving them, taking into consideration relevant ecological variables, and the client’s stage of change 
Competency 2-3-b  Demonstrates familiarity with empirically supported treatment principles and can effectively utilize the literature to guide treatment
Competency 2-3-c  Able to use outcome data to monitor treatment response and make appropriate alterations as necessary
Competency 2-3-d  Able to conduct systems based interventions, such as with families or developing school-based prevention programs
Competency 2-3-e  Able to conduct group interventions
Competency 2-3-f  Can work effectively with children and adults
Competency 2-3-g  Demonstrates knowledge of ethical issues pertaining to intervention

Objective #2-4 Consultation and Supervision. Production of graduates who are effective supervisors and able to effectively consult with other professionals in a wide variety of settings and contexts.

Competency 2-4-a  Able to articulate a philosophy and model of supervision
Competency 2-4-b  Able to create an effective supervision environment for supervisees
Competency 2-4-c  Provides constructive feedback to supervisees
Competency 2-4-d  Demonstrates knowledge of the roles of other professionals.
Competency 2-4-e  Ability to effectively communicate with other professionals, present ideas clearly and without confusing jargon
Competency 2-4-f   Understands role when serving as a consultant


Goal #3: Scholarship and Research in Professional Psychology. To produce professional psychologists who contribute to the field of psychology by engaging in scientific inquiry in a manner that is epistemologically informed, evidence based, and socio-culturally relevant to theory, research and practice, both locally and globally.

Competence in Data-based Decision Making, Research Methodology, and Statistics. . Graduates will demonstrate competence in research methodology, data gathering and data analytic procedures.

Competency 3-1-a. Students demonstrate competence in psychological measurement, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, research design and methodology.
Competency 3-1-b. Students demonstrate competence in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of research evidence that inform the practice of psychology.
Competency 3-1-c. Students demonstrate competence in understanding methodologies used in synthesizing research evidence.

Objective #3-2 Capable of Engaging in Scientific Inquiry to Foster the Practice of Psychology. . Graduates will engage in the scientific inquiry of relevant issues in professional psychology and communicate their findings and analysis to a broader audience.

Competency 3-2-a: Students demonstrate the ability to determine the current state of scientific knowledge and evidence and evaluate its applicability in guiding their work with a particular individual, group, or organization.
Competency 3-2-b: Students demonstrate the ability to write a critical review of the literature and complete a research project in the form of a satisfactorily completed dissertation.
Competency 3-2-c. Students demonstrate the capacity to present research findings to a professional audience, in venues such as professional conferences, peer-reviewed journals, and other scholarly outlets (e.g., book chapters).

Goal #4 Individual and Cultural Diversity. To produce professional psychologists who have a deep appreciation for individual diversity, awareness of the enormous influence cultural context has on human psychological processes, and who are able to effectively promote communication and understanding of such issues.

Objective #4-1 Multicultural Awareness and Effectiveness. Production of graduates who are able to recognize the pervasive impact cultural context has on knowledge and human psychological experience, and who demonstrates the ability to provide culturally competent services in all their professional roles and integrate an awareness of individual and cultural diversity into ethical decision making.   

Competency 4-1-a  Able to effectively recognize issues of diversity and demonstrates awareness of how cultural issues may impact practices
Competency 4-1-b  Demonstrates comfort and cultural sensitivity in discussing issues of diversity and working with diverse clients
Competency 4-1-c  Demonstrates awareness of issues pertaining to applying psychological findings from one group and context to a different group and context
Competency 4-1-d  Demonstrates self-reflective awareness pertaining to the impact his or her worldview has on the assumptions that are made

Goal #5 Leaders in the Field of Mental Health. To produce professional psychologists who have the interpersonal skills and proclivities to be leaders, teachers, and supervisors in the dynamic field of mental health.

Objective 5-1 Interpersonal Skills. Production of graduates who have strong interpersonal and communication skills who are actively self-reflective and add constructively to group processes. 

Competency 5-1-a Demonstrates strong interpersonal skills, consistently develops good working relationships, contributes positively to social systems
Competency 5-1-b  Shows active abilities to self-reflect, demonstrates appropriate levels of self-confidence, understands one’s own “issues” and is able to receive constructive feedback nondefensively

Objective 5-2 Teaching and Leadership. Production of graduates who are able to effectively adopt leadership or teaching roles in professional settings.

Competency 5-2-a  Able to communicate ideas effectively in a classroom or during a professional presentation
Competency 5-2-b  Able to set appropriate boundaries with students or subordinates
Competency 5-2-c  Shows ability to assume a leadership role in professional interactions.

Objective 5-3 Lifelong learning, Self-Growth, and Enhancement of the Community and Discipline. Production of graduates who engage in a lifelong process of learning, self-growth, and innovative contributions to the field of mental health.

Competency 5-3-a  Demonstrates commitment to enhance the discipline by participating actively in professional organizations, and/or scholarly research
Competency 5-3-b  Demonstrates striving for personal growth and shows an intrinsic motivation to increase knowledge and skill set
Competency 5-3-c  Demonstrates a value and commitment to actively engaging in advocacy efforts that develop or change public policy on behalf of underserved populations