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College of Education to Merge Two Departments

The College plans to merge 2 academic departments to become more efficient.

The Penn State College of Education has made a decision to combine the Counselor Education, Counseling Psychology, and Rehabilitation Services department with the department of Educational and School Psychology and Special Education. In doing so, the College will realize savings and create a new and more streamlined academic department that takes better advantage of complementarities across programs.

This decision was made after a thorough review by administrators and faculty members and is consistent with a recommendation the College received last summer from the Core Council, a University-level planning task force. The new department is expected to begin functioning on July 1, 2011, and Dr. Spencer Niles, professor of counselor education, will serve as the department head.

The new department will offer graduate degrees in a redesigned educational psychology program that will include emphasis areas in learning, measurement and assessment, and school psychology, along with graduate programs in counselor education and special education. The department will also offer undergraduate degrees in rehabilitation and human services and special education. As part of its effort to streamline its programs, the College has decided to close its existing, separately organized doctoral program in counseling psychology.

Dean David Monk said of the new organizational structure, “We realize that we are closing the door on the opportunity for new students to study counseling psychology in a separately organized graduate program at Penn State, but we will maintain a strong offering in counselor education and also in educational psychology. Penn State will continue to be an excellent place for students who are interested in the psychological foundations of counseling. Students with these interests can either enter the new educational psychology program and include faculty members with expertise in counseling on their graduate committees, or they can enter the counselor education graduate program and include faculty members with expertise in psychology on their graduate committees.”

Students currently enrolled in the counseling psychology program will continue to have the opportunity to complete their programs of study, and efforts are being made to achieve a smooth transition for faculty and staff members who are affected by the reorganization.