Many Valpo psychology courses offer a field-work component that gives students first-hand experience in environments where mental-health professionals and researchers work. The department also encourages further field experience.
Practicum courses allow learners to apply their knowledge in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional. The department offers practica at two levels:
- A structured 200-level practicum places students with experienced professionals at a local special-education cooperative, where they are trained to work individually with children on the autism spectrum. This course is open to both majors and non-majors.
- Psychology majors may register for the 400-level practicum, which includes four to ten hours per week of supervised work activity in an agency in Northwest Indiana and two hours every other week of classroom discussion. A final report is required. Students request placements at agencies of their choice. Sites where students have recently completed practicum courses:
- St. Agnes Adult Day Center
- Banta Center/Pines Village Retirement Communities
- Jacob’s Ladder Pediatric Rehabilitation
- Family Concerns Counseling
- Porter County Adult Probation
- Mental Health America
- Shultz-Lewis Children’s Home
- Washington Township Schools Guidance Department
- Benjamin Franklin Middle School Guidance Department
- The Caring Place
- Choices Counseling Center
- Porter County Juvenile Detention Center
Apart from work undertaken for academic credit, students can gain valuable experience through internships and part-time or summer employment. Field placements have often resulted in job offers to psychology students, and the department’s relationships with local agencies can be useful in finding internships and job placements through Valpo’s Career Center.
In addition to off-campus job opportunities, the department employs a number of paid work study students, including the following:
- teaching assistants
- laboratory assistants
- clerical aides
- research assistants
Valpo’s Career Center offers strategies and advising on finding relevant internships. It also maintains a database of internship openings and potential co-operative education placements. Valpo Career Center
Psychology students are welcome to participate in any of Valpo’s 25 study abroad programs, and many of those opportunities include focused experiential learning opportunities.
- Internships are included in 12 of the semester and year-long programs.
- Most programs include a service learning component.