Doctoral program earns first accreditation

Psychology curriculum and diversity efforts lauded

Cal Lutheran

(OXNARD, Calif. – Aug. 21, 2015) The American Psychological Association has accredited California Lutheran University’s new doctoral program in clinical psychology for the maximum term of seven years.

Cal Lutheran launched the program in 2010 at its Oxnard Center in response to an increased need for mental health professionals. It applied for accreditation in 2014, the first year it was eligible to do so. The designation is retroactive to April 21, which means that all students will have completed an accredited program. The first graduates finished their requirements in May or earlier this month.

Accreditation assures students, employers and others that a program meets nationally endorsed standards for the profession, is accountable for achieving what it sets out to do, and is engaged in continuous review and improvements to provide the highest quality of graduate education and training in psychology.

The Commission on Accreditation commended the Graduate School of Psychology’s program for its thoughtful curriculum, state-of-the-art technology and strong support from university administration.

The report lauded the program’s efforts to attract and retain diverse students and faculty and to integrate issues of diversity into training and practice. In particular, the commission noted that Ventura County’s only doctoral program in clinical psychology “is dedicated to serving the high-need Oxnard community.” With the highest concentration of ethnic minorities and a per capita income 37 percent below the average for Ventura County, Oxnard needs additional trained professionals who can provide high-quality and culturally sensitive psychological services, research that can influence policy and resources, and consultation and training to increase the effectiveness of community organizations. The doctoral program is not only based in Oxnard, but also operates a clinic in the city where graduate students provide low-cost bilingual assessment and counseling under the supervision of licensed clinicians as part of their practical training.

While some training programs in psychology focus primarily on clinical skills, Cal Lutheran balances the development of both clinical and research skills. The commission commended the program for having a core faculty with a variety of theoretical orientations and research interests. This helps students consider clients’ issues from many different perspectives.

The program’s first graduates are Bonnie Brown of Santa Barbara, Daniel Knauss of Flagstaff, Katherine Oring of Playa del Ray, Ashley Ribeiro of Oxnard, Kristina Rodriguez of Thousand Oaks, Kristen Roye of Ventura and Miranda Sager of Canyon Country.