In the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), graduate students are encouraged to conduct cross-disciplinary research from day one. Meanwhile, a cross-disciplinary, integrative graduate research program at four Canadian universities prepares budding researchers to delve into the specialized area of communication and aging.
APA's Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) is recognizing these innovative training approaches with its second APA Award for Innovative Practices in Graduate Education. UW and the collaborative program between the University of Calgary, Concordia, McMaster University and the University of Toronto received the $5,000 prize in December, which they will share. The University of Hawaii Mãnoa received an honorable mention for its Community and Culture graduate program.
BEA established the award in 2003 to recognize graduate training programs that have implemented innovative approaches to graduate education, says Emanuel Donchin, PhD, chair of the BEA award committee and a BEA member.
"We want to find programs that people will want to learn at," Donchin says. "We want to identify innovations that can be models for other programs to understand novel approaches to the training of psychologists."
Certainly such innovation takes effort, notes Paul Nelson, PhD, deputy director of APA's Education Directorate and director of APA's graduate and postdoctoral education and training office. "Since psychology intersects all sciences, the challenge for departments is to assert their own identities while also emphasizing the increasing importance of interdisciplinary work," Nelson says.
The awards committee, which includes BEA members and members appointed by the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), judged 21 program submissions. Cynthia Belar, PhD, executive director of APA's Education Directorate, presented the awards at COGDOP's 2005 Annual Meeting in Tuscon, Ariz., in February.
The Monitor profiles the winners on the following pages.