APS Accreditation Guidelines

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1 APS Accreditation Guidelines October 2000 Updated September 2002 Directorate of Training & Standards The Australian Psychological Society Ltd

2 APS Accreditation Guidelines 2000 Preamble From January 2000, the APS determined that 6 years of APS accredited and College approved education and training was the minimum requirement for membership of the APS and associated membership of its Colleges. In taking this step the APS explicitly acknowledges support for the 4+2 model of psychological education and training, wherein the first 4 years are dedicated to providing a solid grounding in the discipline and science of psychology, with the next 2 years oriented toward providing professional and applied training based on the scientist-professional model. It is also recognised that specialist training in some professional areas may well require further additional years of study. Historically, many students have exited university-based education and training to seek work as psychologists after completing 4 years of study, and at the time of drafting these Guidelines, many States in Australia will permit registration as a psychologist with such a qualification. It is not the role of the APS to determine State and Territory legislation. However, it is the role of the APS to determine the standards that it believes are necessary to practice the profession by psychologists who wish to be Members of the APS. These revised Guidelines will be employed during the second 5-year cycle of APS program accreditation and approval. No doubt new developments will emerge that have not been fully foreseen. Where appropriate, minor changes may be made in response. However, every attempt will be made to ensure these Guidelines are employed consistently and equitably during this period. These Guidelines are presented in four sections. Section 1 outlines the procedures for program development and for accreditation, Section 2 presents the general guidelines for accreditation, Section 3 presents the program guidelines and Section 4 the appeals. Further information on Program Development and Accreditation may be obtained from the National Office of The Australian Psychological Society, contact details for which are given below: Street Address Level Collins Street MELBOURNE VIC 3000 Australia Postal Address PO Box 38 Flinders Lane PO MELBOURNE VIC 8009 Australia Telephone Fax Australia: or Australia: International: International:

3 Definitions of Terms used in this Manual Academic Organisational Unit (AOU) refers to a department or school, or other separately identifiable academic organisational unit within a university with the Head of the unit having resource responsibility for that unit and responsibility for the academic programs offered by the unit. In each institution offering accredited psychology programs, there should be a Psychology AOU which is regarded as the core AOU capable of offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Psychology. The Psychology AOU would be expected to contain the name Psychology in its title. Academic staff refers to all staff teaching in a program and includes tenured, contract and casual teaching staff. Accreditation refers to the process undertaken in establishing that the AOU and the programs it offers in psychology are of an acceptable standard for training in the discipline and profession, and, for individuals taking the programs, to lead to membership of the Society. In these guidelines, accreditation refers both to the initial process when an institution has not previously been accredited and to reaccreditation after a period of five years. APA format refers to the rules for the publication of manuscripts described in the Fourth Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. College refers to the subordinate organisations within the Society that are concerned with specialist areas of practice in psychology. Each College has a Course Approval Committee which specifies specific training requirements for membership of that College and has an invited representative on the Program Development and Accreditation Reference Group. Core subject refers to subjects that all students should take in the course of studying for their degree. Core subjects should be taught in core units which are compulsory parts of the program. Course - see Program Electives refer to subjects or units that are optional and while students are not required to take any specific elective, they may be required to take a certain number of electives chosen from a greater number in order to complete their course. PDAAG refers to the Program Development and Accreditation Advisory Group that operates within the Directorate of Training and Standards of the Society to monitor program development and accreditation in Australian universities. This Advisory Group provides direct advice and recommendations to the Director regarding program development and accreditation.

4 PDARG refers to the Program Development and Accreditation Reference Group that operates within the Directorate of Training and Standards to assist with program development and accreditation. Its membership is wide and includes invited representatives from College Course Approval Committees. This Reference Group assists with the work of the Advisory Group, makes recommendations when invited to participate in the accreditation process and where appropriate, and liaises with Colleges. Program refers to the entire course of study, successful completion of which results in a degree or diploma such as a four year program that leads to a Bachelors degree with Honours or a fourth year Postgraduate Diploma. The word program is used in preference to course because it includes higher degree studies (e.g., PhD programs) which are not typically referred to as courses. Psychology Academic Staff refers to members of staff in the institution within an Academic Organisational Unit who are eligible for membership of the Society and hold both an undergraduate and two-year postgraduate qualification in psychology. Psychology Section is a term reserved for multi-campus institutions at which there is one Academic Organisational Unit that is across two or more campuses. Each campus would be regarded as having a Psychology Section. Society refers to The Australian Psychological Society Ltd. Unit refers to separate and identifiable components of undergraduate and postgraduate courses or programs, usually with their own assessment components and with a member of the academic staff responsible for coordination. The term unit used in this context should not be confused with the use of the term in the phrase Academic Organisational Unit. Year, in the context of course descriptions, for example a four year program refers to full time study and is taken to involve two semesters or three terms. Thus a four year program will involve eight semesters of full-time study. It may be possible in some cases to complete a program in less than the specified time period if teaching occurs during a summer semester. In addition when reference is made to a specific year level, for example third year, this should be read as the third full-time year of the program.

5 Section 1: Procedures for Program Development and Accreditation 1.1 Program Development The APS views the provision of assistance to institutions for the development of programs in psychology as an important role which is undertaken in a cooperative manner. The involvement of the APS at the development stage can greatly assist with the next stage, the accreditation process, so all institutions planning new programs may request assistance for development. The APS provides assistance both for the development of programs in an institution which is not currently accredited and hence does not offer accredited programs, and for the development of any new program in an AOU which is accredited. Any costs involved are borne by the institution directly. Program development advice requested by an AOU should be directed to the Director of Training and Standards who will invite suitable past or present members of PDAAG to participate in the program development process. Disclaimer: Any information or advice provided should be regarded as opinion, given in good faith and not the confirmed position of PDAAG or the APS; it is up to the institution ultimately to demonstrate how the AOU and the programs offered meet the guidelines. 1.2 Accreditation process and site visit The accreditation process considers both the AOU and the programs in psychology offered by that AOU. Consequently, in order for accreditation to take place the AOU should meet the guidelines that apply to it, and the programs offered by that AOU should meet the relevant set(s) of program guidelines. The APS requires that the standards for accreditation are met and maintained. To this end, it works cooperatively with institutions by providing comprehensive guidelines and in discussing with the AOU any matters of concern. Ultimately, however, a decision concerning accreditation will be made by the APS, taking account of all submitted documentation, evidence gained from a site visit, and the AOU s response to any matters that have been raised. The onus is on the AOU to demonstrate how it meets the standards for accreditation and to maintain those standards after accreditation The accreditation of programs takes place in a five year cycle such that the institution and all the programs offered by the Psychology AOU will be reviewed and considered for accreditation in a particular year and as part of one process In December of the year preceding the one in which an institution will be making an application for accreditation, the APS will write to that institution reminding that all required documentation be submitted by 31 March of the following year and requesting information regarding the number of undergraduate and postgraduate programs and for the nomination of specific dates in June or July during which the site visit may be conducted. Updated September 2002 Page 1

6 1.2.3 Four copies of the completed Application for Accreditation form and four copies of Attachments 1 to 4 should then be submitted to the APS by March 31 of the year in which the AOU is to be accredited. The Application form requests summary details of the AOU, programs offered, staff and the AOU in which psychology programs are taught. Attachment 1 requests full details of the units in all programs, Attachment 2, full staff details, Attachment, 3 a list of all test library holdings and Attachment 4, the library holdings Although it is expected that the documentation would be prepared by senior academic staff involved in the teaching of psychology programs, it should be accompanied by a cover sheet signed by the Vice-Chancellor of the institution to which the AOU belongs and the Head of the AOU Upon receipt of the application it will be checked at the National Office to ensure that all required documentation has been provided. Once checked and within two weeks of receiving it, the National Office will acknowledge receipt of the application indicating either that all required documentation has been received or requesting any missing documentation. Missing documentation should be submitted in the form requested within two weeks of receiving the request At the time of submitting documentation, the AOU will forward the Accreditation Fee required by the APS. This fee is set by the APS. It will contribute towards the total cost of the required site visit for each AOU as well as associated administrative costs incurred by the APS. The basic Accreditation Fee is set at $2000 (plus GST) for 2001 for each different undergraduate sequence plus an additional $2000 (plus GST) per accreditable higher degree professional sequence. For any site visits required to additional campuses, a further fee of $2000 (plus GST) is required per campus (and see for off-shore campuses) Where possible, proposals for new programs of study requiring accreditation should be made in the year in which the AOU is being reviewed. If this is not possible, then separate documentation should be submitted by the AOU for consideration by the APS for the new program at the time it is being planned and before it is introduced. Failure to do so may result in the program not being considered as eligible for accreditation requirements, which in turn would jeopardise the accreditation status of the AOU and the potential APS membership eligibility of students. The new program will be reviewed again fully when the AOU is accredited in the five year cycle. A charge of $2000 (plus GST) will be made for any program submitted for accreditation outside the established site visit cycle Full details of any new program should be submitted on the relevant sections of the Application for Accreditation form along with a completed attachment 1 for the particular program. In addition, any additional staff who have been appointed to teach on the program when it is introduced, or any proposal to appoint staff to positions in the AOU in which the program will be taught should be given in Attachment 2. Full current staffing details of the AOU and any changes to programs since the last site visit should be included The APS will select a site visit team consisting of at least two members from PDAAG and PDARG appointed by the APS to take overall responsibility for accreditation. One PDAAG representative assumes the role of site visit coordinator, and, among other things, is responsible for the preparation of the overall site visit report. College representatives participate if specialist professional programs are to be accredited and approved (see also ). Updated September 2002 Page 2

7 The members of the site visit team will be selected such that their expertise adequately covers the range of programs being offered for accreditation by the AOU When accreditation includes a specialised professional program, the site visit team will include a representative of the relevant College(s) so that the accreditation process incorporates approval from the College(s) The application and attachments will be sent to the site visit team appointed to review the application During review of the documentation, direct contact by the reviewers with the AOU will only be made after consultation with the Director of Training and Standards. Contact may be required for clarification or additional documentation Following consideration of the documentation for accreditation, a site visit will be made to the institution no later than July of the year in which the documentation is submitted. The Director of Training and Standards will invite the relevant State or Territory Registration Board to nominate a Board member to participate in the site visit. The composition of the accreditation team will be communicated in writing to the Head of School at least 4 weeks prior to the site visit. All costs associated with the Board's participation in the accreditation visit shall be met by the Registration Board. A copy of the final report and recommendations as endorsed by the APS Board of Directors will be forwarded to the Registration Board The APS will be responsible for all travel and accommodation arrangements The Head of the AOU will be responsible for coordinating all arrangements for the site visit for the APS in consultation with the site visit coordinator. The site visit arrangements must be submitted to the APS National Office at least three to four weeks prior to the site visit so that appropriate advance planning by the site visit team can be undertaken. It is essential that the schedule and arrangements are approved by the site visit coordinator The duration of the site visit will depend on the number of campuses and the complexity of the programs to be accredited. Both members of PDAAG should be given ample time to examine all the programs together. The site visit will serve several purposes. First, it will provide the opportunity to clarify or seek further information about any issue in the documentation. Second, it will enable the site visit team to check on all resources required for accreditation. Finally, it will allow the members of the site visit team to discuss any matters that arise and, if there are any areas that need to be addressed, to discuss dates by which they should be addressed During the visit the site visit team or a sub-committee of it will meet with the Vice- Chancellor or his/her nominee (e.g., Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Dean of Faculty) in addition to academic, secretarial, technical and computer staff and inspect facilities including teaching venues, computer laboratories, research laboratories, teaching laboratory equipment, the test library, and the university library on each campus on which psychology is taught. Updated September 2002 Page 3

8 During the visit, the site visit team will consider examples of students work. In particular recently completed Honours and coursework Masters theses along with examiners reports for these theses will be examined (see also Guidelines , , ) At the conclusion of the site visit, the site visit team will meet with the Head of the Psychology AOU to discuss the outcome of the visit and any particular concerns that members of the team may have Within six weeks of the site visit, the site visit coordinator will submit a report to the Director of Training and Standards for consideration by PDAAG. The report will contain recommendations about the accreditation status of the AOU and its programs, as well as specific recommendations for action by the AOU At this time, the report may be sent to the Head of the AOU on the understanding that it has draft status only and the recommendations contained in it are those of the site visit team, not PDAAG. The covering letter will invite clarification of the accuracy of facts contained in the report, specify when the report is to be considered by PDAAG, and note that PDAAG may change the recommendations An overall recommendation on the basis of the AOU s accreditation profile of programs will be included in the report, and the recommendations will be in one of the following three categories: (i) The AOU and the specified set of programs it offers will be fully accredited. This category will be recommended only if the AOU and the programs meet all of the guidelines or if there are matters of a minor nature that need to be addressed. If the latter is the case then a date, normally within 12 months, by which they should be addressed will be stated. (ii) The AOU and the specified set of programs it offers will receive the status of conditional accreditation until areas in which the guidelines are not met are addressed. This recommendation may occur either for an AOU when it first applies for accreditation and does not meet the guidelines, or for a previously accredited AOU in which the standards have changed in one or more programs or in the AOU such that the AOU no longer meets the guidelines. In contrast to (i) above, the matters of concern would be expected to have greater impact on the quality of programs offered. This recommendation to the AOU will be accompanied by a detailed list of matters to be addressed and a date, normally within 12 months, by which these should be done. If they are all addressed by the date, then the conditional qualification will be removed and full accreditation recommended. If they are not addressed then the program will lose accreditation and the AOU may lose its accredited status. (iii) The AOU will lose its accredited status, or in the case of an AOU not previously accredited, will not obtain accredited status. This recommendation shall only be made if serious concerns arise which the AOU cannot address within a reasonable time or if the AOU introduces programs after a site visit which are in clear violation of the guidelines without consultation with the APS. The recommendation will be accompanied by a detailed justification which outlines the areas of concern. Additional program development advice may also be offered. Updated September 2002 Page 4

9 PDAAG s report and the Director of Training and Standards recommendations will then be considered by the Board of Directors The Board of Directors will consider the recommendations made by PDAAG and the Director of Training and Standards, when making a decision on the accreditation status of the AOU and its programs based on one of the three options specified in Guideline The outcome will be communicated to the institution by the Executive Director and the Director of Training and Standards. The latter will also be responsible for ensuring that any matters which are stated as part of a recommendation for accreditation or conditional accreditation are addressed by the date or dates specified Failure to meet all the relevant guidelines for programs to be accredited may result in AOUs not being accredited. It is possible for any program that is not meeting the guidelines to be withdrawn during the accreditation process if it is clear that its inclusion may jeopardise the accreditation status of the AOU If an AOU has made substantial changes to several programs and wishes to have these considered for accreditation before the five year cycle is over, an additional site visit may be necessary, at the institution s expense. Similarly, if psychology programs are introduced at campuses other than those to which a site visit has been made, an additional site visit may be necessary, at the institution s expense AOUs are expected to inform the APS of major changes to course structure, nomenclature and resource levels including staffing (particularly resignations and other ways in which the number of staff decreases or the profile shifts markedly). Such changes may affect the accreditation status of the AOU and, by informing the APS, a co-operative effort can be made to accommodate any short-term difficulties that may arise. Conversely, failure to inform the APS may adversely affect the future accreditation status of an AOU It is the responsibility of an AOU to inform students accurately of the accreditation status of its programs An AOU which has its accreditation status changed may resubmit for accreditation at any time The Director of Training and Standards will discuss with an AOU that loses its accreditation status arrangements for minimising harm to students by allowing them to transfer to other programs or otherwise fulfil the requirements of an accredited program and be eligible for membership of the APS. Updated September 2002 Page 5

10 Section 2: General Guidelines The following guidelines, in conjunction with those in Section 3, state the requirements for the accreditation of an AOU and the programs offered by that AOU. The aim is to provide sufficient information to ensure that all accredited AOUs offer programs that are of a high quality and meet the needs of the profession, while allowing some flexibility. It is not the intention of the APS to have identical programs in psychology across all institutions. Although these guidelines are designed primarily for accreditation, they also provide a valuable source of information for those involved in program development. The APS s position is that there be one accredited AOU in each institution that has responsibility for all psychology programs offered by that institution. 2.1 Academic Organisational Unit (AOU) The APS will take into account the academic standards and the structure of the AOU seeking accreditation. This section provides the general guidelines for all AOUs which should be read in conjunction with specific guidelines on the naming of degrees, staffing, resources and the program guidelines The Psychology AOU should be an identifiable core of psychologists with a recognised Head. The Head should be a senior, experienced and recognised psychologist who has postgraduate qualifications in psychology and publications in refereed journals. For the purpose of full accreditation, there must be a Level E appointment held by a psychologist in an AOU. Such a senior appointment is further necessary because professorial status carries recognition both inside and outside the AOU The AOU should feature the term Psychology in its title (e.g., Department of Psychology) The Psychology AOU should be in a position to offer undergraduate and/or postgraduate program(s) in psychology A Psychology AOU should be able to demonstrate that it has the level of staffing and other resources and facilities, in order to provide an education in psychology at a high standard. 2.2 Multi-campus institutions The APS recognises that a number of institutions offer psychology programs on different campuses. During the accreditation process, careful consideration will be given to ensuring that there are appropriate staffing and resource levels on each campus and that students on each campus have acceptable levels of access to units, to programs, and to facilities. The APS will also give consideration to the geographical locations of campuses relative to each other and is willing to accept that in some cases, two campuses may be sufficiently close to function effectively as one in so far as students have direct access to units, programs and all resources on both without any special arrangements being put in place. In institutions where this is not the case, and students at one campus may be disadvantaged because of a lack of the resources or program offerings, then the onus lies with the institution to demonstrate what measures have been taken to overcome any shortfalls. Updated September 2002 Page 6

11 Multi-campus institutions will need to convey clearly how they are organised (see also Guideline and where relevant, Guideline 2.6). 2.3 Degree Nomenclature 1 The APS will give consideration to the nomenclature for degrees that are awarded following successful completion of programs of study in psychology offered by the AOU. The APS is of the view there should be some consistency in the awarding of degrees and that the preferred nomenclature conveys the level of the degrees completed and gives an appropriate indication of the content Three year undergraduate programs of study should lead to one of the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Science; Bachelor of Social Science, or other relevant generic degree. The degree title should not make reference to specialisation or application in psychology and, for example, degree nomenclature that is not acceptable includes Bachelor of Applied Psychology and Bachelor of Educational Psychology Three year undergraduate programs available for existing graduates (in any discipline) to complete a psychology major should be termed Graduate Diploma in Psychology The nomenclature Bachelor of Psychology is to be reserved for integrated four year sequences Four year undergraduate programs of study should result in a degree in which the only discipline name appearing in the degree title is Psychology and there should be no reference to a specialisation or application in psychology. Thus Bachelor of Science with Honours in Psychology, Bachelor of Arts with Honours (Psychology) and Bachelor of Psychology are acceptable while Bachelor of Science with Honours (Geography), Bachelor of Disability Studies and Bachelor of Applied Psychology (Honours) would not be acceptable Bachelor degrees require at least three years of full-time study or equivalent. Bachelor degrees with Honours require four years of full-time study of equivalent. Single fourth year programs on their own should not result in a Masters degree Fourth year courses should exist only for the purpose of allowing students who have completed an existing accredited three year program within the last 10 years and taken out their degree, to complete the fourth year. These programs should be equivalent to Honours standard. Fourth year courses in psychology should lead to an Honours degree or a Postgraduate Diploma which makes clear reference to the discipline in its title and avoids reference to areas of specialisation or application within the discipline. An example of an acceptable degree title is Postgraduate Diploma of Psychology. Examples of unacceptable titles are Postgraduate Diploma in Education, Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Psychology 1 Where AOUs are prevented from using APS recommended nomenclature by university rules and regulations, this will be taken into consideration by PDAAG after discussion with university officials during the site visit. 2 As this represents a change from the previous Guidelines, PDAAG will allow AOUs that currently offer the BPsych as a three year degree up to five years from the date of these guidelines to make the necessary change(s). Updated September 2002 Page 7

12 and Postgraduate Diploma in Organisational Psychology Postgraduate coursework programs (fifth and sixth years) should be two years of full-time study or equivalent part-time study and should lead to a Masters degree. The degree title should include the term Psychology and, where relevant, reflect an area of specialisation or application, either as part of the main degree title or following the main title. Examples of acceptable degree titles are Master of Psychology (Clinical), Master of Educational Psychology and Master of Psychology (Organisational). Examples of unacceptable titles are Master of Arts and Master of Science (Psychology) Postgraduate coursework programs (fifth and sixth years only) may also be offered as generalist courses, in which case no specialisation or application is implied. The Guidelines in Section 3.3 will apply and there will be no parallel College approval process. A suitable degree title would be Master of Psychology Postgraduate doctoral level programs which include all the components of the postgraduate coursework requirements for an accredited Masters program within that AOU should include clear reference to the area of specialisation or application in the degree title. In addition these doctoral programs can only be referred to as PhDs if they include a program of research leading to a thesis equivalent in status to other PhDs by research. For this reason it would be expected that such degrees would be a minimum duration of four years of full-time study, or part-time equivalent. Acceptable titles for these degrees include PhD (Clinical Psychology) and PhD (Educational Psychology) Postgraduate doctoral programs which do not include a program of research and thesis equivalent in standard to a PhD should be referred to as either a DPsych or PsyD. These degrees will be a minimum duration of three years of full-time study or equivalent and will give an indication of the area of specialisation or application. These degrees would be expected to include a research component that was the same as, and at least equivalent to, a Masters by research thesis. Examples of acceptable titles are DPsych (Clinical) or PsyD (Organisational). Examples of unacceptable titles for such programs are PhD and PhD(Psychology) Postgraduate research degrees not including an accredited fifth and sixth year program should have the titles Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Social Science, Master of Philosophy, or Doctor of Philosophy. 2.4 Academic Staffing This section provides general information about academic staffing in an AOU. The guidelines provide details of the requirements that are stated by the APS in order to ensure that a university education in psychology is offered at a standard that merits accreditation. AOUs should note that meeting the minimum staffing requirements does not necessarily mean that the APS will deem the level of staffing to be acceptable for the profile of a particular AOU. The actual staffing requirements will depend on the number and range of programs that are offered, the student:academic staff ratio and the areas of expertise of the staff, which should provide adequate coverage of all areas in which programs are offered. Updated September 2002 Page 8

13 The requirements will also take account of the teaching commitments of staff, and in AOUs which teach three trimesters in one year (that is, which offer programs during a summer semester in addition to the other two semesters), it is expected that staffing levels will be proportionately higher to ensure that the staff have sufficient time for ongoing professional development including research, and for program development. These issues should be borne in mind when making a submission for accreditation. In the case of multi-campus institutions, these guidelines apply to each campus that has an AOU offering an undergraduate program and/or postgraduate coursework and research degrees An AOU proposing to offer undergraduate and postgraduate programs in psychology will only be considered for accreditation if there are 10 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) psychology academic staff members in that AOU. At least eight of the staff should hold full-time appointments and be based full-time on the campus on which the AOU is situated. These staff members should meet the membership eligibility requirements for the APS. (This guideline should not be read as stating that all academic members of staff in the AOU should be members or eligible for membership of the APS. It is recognised that academic staff with training in related areas can make a significant contribution to programs in psychology. However, although that contribution will be recognised and taken into account, such staff will not count towards the minimum requirement of 10 members of fulltime staff, or equivalent, who meet the eligibility requirements.) The requirement of 10 full-time equivalent staff is viewed as sufficient only for the AOU to offer one full four year undergraduate sequence, one professional postgraduate program (at least fifth and sixth year) and some postgraduate research supervision. The number of staff in the Psychology AOU should be greater than 10 if more programs are offered The requirement of 10 full-time equivalent staff may be in excess of that required to teach either only one undergraduate or one postgraduate program. In these cases, AOUs should demonstrate they have adequate staffing (numbers, qualifications and experience/seniority) for the program(s) they offer The student:academic staff ratio averaged across all programs within the AOU should be similar to other science-based disciplines and should ideally be no greater than 16 to 1 and should also meet the requirements set out in Guideline In cases where some units are offered through distance education, the number of students enrolled in these units will form part of the total student number when calculating the student:staff ratio The staffing profile should include at least one Level E appointment in Psychology In an AOU with 10 full-time equivalent psychology staff there should be at least three appointments at Levels C or D and this number should increase proportionately as the total number of staff increases In an AOU of 10 full-time equivalent psychology staff with expertise relevant to the teaching of psychology, in general at least 80% of staff should have PhDs, established or promising research records with demonstrated research activity in the forms of grants, conference presentations, and publications in refereed journals (but see also Guideline ), and should be primarily involved in the teaching of undergraduate psychology. Updated September 2002 Page 9

14 2.4.8 The psychology academic staff should have demonstrated teaching and supervision experience. Whereas it would be expected that most would have demonstrated ability in teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including the supervision of honours and postgraduate research, each staff member should have a demonstrated ability at least at one of these levels. An AOU should demonstrate systematic monitoring of teaching quality such as participation in a university performance management scheme For each professional postgraduate program there should be at least the equivalent of three full-time staff who ideally hold a PhD in a relevant area of psychology and most of whom are eligible for full membership of the relevant APS College. Of these at least two staff will be full time appointments within the University and all should make a substantial contribution to the relevant program. Each program should be supported by appropriate Level D/E involvement with sufficient time available and relevant professional expertise to provide academic leadership for the program. A program should be directed by at least a full time Level C appointment who is eligible for College membership and suitably qualified and experienced to run a professional postgraduate program. In deciding on the suitability of the Level D/E leadership for the program, account will be taken of the number of professional postgraduate programs offered within the AOU relative to the number of Level D/E appointments. It would be expected that a Level D/E would have responsibility for no more than two cognate programs, and that other Level D/E staff would be available for support in that case. The onus is on the Psychology AOU to demonstrate that it has appropriate academic and administrative responsibility for the delivery of the program The areas of expertise of the psychology academic staff should be sufficient to cover the core subjects and some specialist options in the three and four year programs (see Guidelines to and to 3.2.7). The expertise should also cover most of the areas taught in any postgraduate coursework program(s) offered by the AOU, recognising that the AOU may employ, on a part-time or casual basis, individuals with particular expertise to teach in some specialist areas in postgraduate programs. Professional postgraduate programs should only be offered if the resources and staffing dedicated to them do not impact negatively on the capacity of the AOU to teach the core topics in the three and four year programs. Multiple professional postgraduate programs will be examined carefully with respect to the adequacy of their staffing support and the impact that this staffing has on the capacity of the AOU to support the undergraduate curriculum adequately. To meet accreditation requirements, the AOU may need to reduce the number of professional programs offered The staffing profile of an AOU comprises the number of staff, the spread of appointments (Level A through Level E), their qualifications and experience, membership of the APS, eligibility for registration, and whether they are tenured or on fixed-term contracts. Information on each staff member should be provided (see proforma in Appendix 2 Attachment 2) In a multi-campus institution where on one of the campuses only the three or four year undergraduate sequence is taught, there should be at least eight full-time (or full-time equivalent) psychology academic staff based on that campus or programs should be supplemented through distance education methods (see Section 2.6). At least one of the appointments should be at Level E or D and a further two at least at Level C. Fifty percent Updated September 2002 Page 10

15 of these staff should hold research higher degrees and should have established research records with demonstrated research activity in the forms of grants, conference presentations, and publications in refereed journals. All staff should also have demonstrated teaching experience at the undergraduate level, including the supervision of Honours research. The areas of expertise of these psychology academic staff should be sufficient to cover the core subjects and some specialist options in the three and four year undergraduate program (see Guidelines to and to 3.2.7). 2.5 Resources The resources available in the AOU will be given careful consideration by the APS. The required resources include secretarial, administrative and technical support as well as adequately equipped teaching and research facilities, fully networked computing facilities, test library materials, and general library resources. The following guidelines provide more information about these resources. When interpreting the guidelines it is important AOUs recognise that the amount and extent of resources required will depend on the number of programs offered and the number of students enrolled in these programs The Psychology AOU should demonstrate adequate access to secretarial, clerical, and technical and computing support. These may be dedicated or shared within a facility The Psychology AOU should have access to lecture theatres and tutorial rooms that meet all of their teaching requirements. It is expected that all rooms would be equipped with black or white boards and overhead projection facilities. In addition some rooms should have facilities for slide, video, film and data projection as well as one-way mirrors and video cameras The Psychology AOU should have dedicated teaching laboratory space, including at least one undergraduate teaching laboratory with computer facilities for undergraduate practicals where required All AOUs in which psychology programs are taught should have dedicated laboratory facilities sufficient to meet the needs of the research programs of the academic staff and of the students completing programs with research components Teaching laboratories should be equipped with standard psychological apparatus required for demonstrating and running a range of experiments that should form part of the curriculum All AOUs in which psychology programs are taught should have sufficient facilities to provide students with access to computers beyond those required in formal laboratory sessions to support research and teaching needs. Thus if the AOU has a computer-based teaching laboratory which is used for formal laboratory classes, the staff and students should also have access to additional computer facilities All AOUs in which psychology programs are taught should provide access for staff and students to a range of software packages including statistical packages, spreadsheets and other data presentation packages and word processing packages. Updated September 2002 Page 11

16 2.5.8 All AOUs in which psychology programs are taught should have access to a computer network which has full electronic mail facilities and is linked to the Internet An accredited AOU should have a test library which has up-to-date copies of the most frequently used psychological tests as well as copies of tests required to support postgraduate teaching programs and research programs in specialist areas. Sufficient copies of tests and associated materials (e.g., response booklets) should be held to meet teaching and research needs. The AOU(s) making use of the facilities should be able to demonstrate that a portion of the budget commensurate with the size of the AOU(s) is allocated to the purchase of tests and associated materials. In the case of multi-campus institutions, there should be a test library with adequate holdings on each campus on which psychology programs are taught A member of the psychology academic staff who is at Level B or higher should have responsibility for the test library and the AOU should be able to demonstrate that procedures are in place to restrict access to psychological test materials to qualified psychologists and students enrolled in assessment and testing units who require access as part of the syllabus for the unit in which they are enrolled The institutional library or libraries should hold a comprehensive and up-to-date range of psychology texts, monographs and journals. In addition to general holdings required to support undergraduate teaching, there should be sufficient specialist monograph and journal holdings to support postgraduate programs in areas of specialisation. The library should also provide access to PsycInfo or equivalent and other data bases. The AOU should be able to demonstrate that funding commensurate with the number of psychology programs offered and the number of students enrolled is allocated to the purchase of library materials for psychology In the case of multi-campus institutions, even when the library functions as one cross-campus facility, there should be adequate direct shelf access to the key journals and monographs at each campus on which psychology programs are taught as well as access to PsycLit and other data bases. In all cases, regardless of whether there is one cross-campus library or separate campus-based libraries, the institution should provide a list of holdings in psychology on each campus. The APS will give consideration both to the holdings on each campus and to the total holdings with respect to the number of programs offered and to the arrangements to meet requests for library materials on another campus to the one in which they are held. It would be expected that there would be a daily courier service such that students would obtain material currently held on another campus the day following their request. Updated September 2002 Page 12

17 2.6 Mixed Mode Education The specific guidelines given below are designed to assist with the evaluation of AOUs that allow students to study psychology in mixed modes, including off-shore offerings, distance education or a combination of internal and distance programs. They set out, under various headings, some of the important issues that need to be considered. For any or all distance education units offered within a program, the APS will give consideration to student access to resources and to staff as well as ensuring that the units have sufficient on-campus requirements for laboratories and associated study. As for on-campus programs, AOUs teaching psychology programs by distance education or other off-campus modes will need to demonstrate the requirements for accreditation contained in Guidelines 2.1 to 2.5 as well adhering to the Accreditation Process and Site Visit described in Guideline 1.2. Where an AOU chooses to offer an on-campus APS accredited program in an off-campus, offshore or distance format, this must be clearly identified in the degree title awarded or the external component of the degree should also be accredited by the APS. The following will apply: Administration There are two aspects of course administration: the broad administrative structure needed to run a course in the distance mode and the administrative details associated with a particular unit. Both are essential A university-wide Distance Education Centre (or some such unit) should take care of the former. That is, it should look after the regional liaison officers, arrange for production and distribution of materials, residential schools, etc. A surprising amount of the administration is carried out at this level. Print-based materials, Web-based materials and liaison officers are required for this work. Therefore an AOU seeking accreditation for its programs should have a facility external to the AOU that has responsibility for the following services (or should be able to demonstrate that it has access to facilities that are able to perform those services): instructional design production of print and electronic media an administrative system that handles all mailings to and from students an administrative system through which the students can communicate with the academic staff (as a backup) regional liaison offices to assist with communication regional support centres that offer telephone conferencing, videoconferencing and basic library facilities organisation of telephone and videoconferencing organisation of residential schools mechanisms for student evaluation of units. At the AOU level, academic staff should specify the content of the unit, via print-based introductory booklets and study guides, CD Rom technology and the Internet. Most print- Updated September 2002 Page 13

18 based materials are copied to Web sites. and telephone access is important for the smooth administration of units. Therefore an AOU seeking accreditation for its programs should provide the following: easy telephone access designated hours (to be specified in written form) when staff will be available for telephone calls recognition of time spent counselling external students EFTSU requirements the same as for on-campus teaching provision of sufficient time to prepare and update teaching material careful scheduling of residential schools to minimise travelling for students speedy turnaround of assignments (this may require the appointment of additional markers in units with large numbers). Infrastructure Considerable infrastructure is needed to support mixed-mode teaching. Materials of professional standard should be designed, produced and delivered to the student on time. Assignments should be received and returned in a timely fashion. Support mechanisms should be in place for students spread over the intake regions. The following elements of infrastructure are considered necessary: a computer system that allows off-campus students access to the Internet, , databases, etc a library that can offer special services to off-campus students (e.g., free interlibrary loans) or provision of reading material via post evidence of the establishment of access to adequate library facilities availability of journals on-line a Student Services facility that can provide telephone support (e.g., counselling) to offcampus students financial support for staff so that telephone calls can be initiated or returned prescribed texts adequate access to teaching videos, computer programs and Internet resources equity of access for all students. Teaching Materials and Methods: Managing the Learning Process It is particularly difficult to set guidelines in this area but the following principle should be kept in mind at all times: The objectives and methods of assessment in all units should be the same for off-campus and on-campus students. Given that the content of all courses in psychology is defined in the APS Accreditation and College Course Approval Guidelines, one should look for the following features in mixed mode courses: students should have a clear understanding of what is expected of them for the course in terms of work schedules, assignments and reading programs; in undergraduate courses, there should be laboratory training offered to off-campus students, probably using a careful selection of projects, innovative use of technology, and good use of residential schools; the laboratory training offered to off-campus students should be equivalent in content and duration to that undertaken by on-campus students; Updated September 2002 Page 14

19 where there is some practical skills training in undergraduate courses, opportunities should also be available for off-campus students to complete these components, including during residential schools; students are expected to have access to hardware or software which come as standard with current personal computer systems, or which are reasonably affordable extras for most purchases. The introduction and use of innovative technology should not be prevented by any limitations to student access to such technology but any access to such innovations should be facilitated; whatever techniques are used to achieve the objectives for the unit, it should be demonstrated that all students have some means of immediate access to staff so that questions can be answered and difficulties resolved; at the fourth year level, off-campus students should have residential schools for all coursework units and also for thesis supervision; at the professional postgraduate level, these guidelines should not override requirements of individual Colleges. All coursework and research components should have residential schools and the duration and supervisory arrangements or placements should meet the APS Accreditation and College Course Approval Guidelines for applied supervision for postgraduate professional courses; written resources describing the course and unit outlines and methods of assessment should be available to students. Special Arrangements for Offshore Teaching The conditions set out above also apply to institutions wishing to offer APS accredited programs in psychology in other countries. The basic principle still applies: The objectives, curriculum content and methods of assessment should be the same for on-campus and off-campus students. The following features are considered particularly important for offshore delivery of courses: the appointment of suitably qualified local tutors to assist with educational advice and support (ie. Eligible for Associate Membership of the APS) local administrative assistance direct access to staff members (i.e., not just through any agents) where the home institution does not intend to offer residential schools in the other country, written agreement with the students that they can attend residential schools in Australia access to adequate library, test library and laboratory facilities in the other country, supplemented with the provision of and arrangements with local universities for library, test library and laboratory access to the same standard as that provided to students at the Australian AOU establishment of local computer support evidence of on-going scrutiny of students academic progress to ensure they are meeting the same standards as those required of Australian students. A site visit to an offshore location is deemed essential to the accreditation process and institutions wishing their offshore programs to be accredited by the APS should be prepared to pay for the costs associated with any visit (airfare, accommodation) (see Guideline 1.2.6). Updated September 2002 Page 15

20 Assessment and Feedback on Progress Mixed mode and distance education programs should provide the opportunity for formative assessment aimed primarily at facilitating learning as distinct from contributing to the final assessment e.g., electronic quizzes, comments on essays and peer assessment, and marked according to the same criteria and standards as those applying to on-campus assessments Assessments which count for the final grade should be the same whether students learn primarily via traditional on-campus courses, mixed mode programs or off-shore and distance education. Evaluation of Material by Students and Other Experts Given the limited knowledge available about the best ways of using technology in teaching, student evaluations should be obtained and academic staff should use other methods to assess the adequacy of the learning experience. These might include peer evaluations, external assessors, and comparisons with existing established programs. Additionally, comparisons between the performance of external students and internal students represent another way of ensuring the standards of both programs are comparable. Summary Comments on Delivery of Mixed Mode Offerings The most crucial aspect of mixed mode offerings is the comparability between oncampus and off-campus modes. It is recognised that institutions will use a variety of mechanisms to achieve the same outcomes and that technology will play an increasingly important role in this process. Thus, off-campus teaching is not just on-campus teaching crammed into residential schools. It is also recognised, however, that the most obvious way to train some aspects of psychology, particularly at postgraduate level, is through face-toface contact and that institutions are still expected to rely on this in some areas of course delivery. Where off-campus teaching is offered, it is up to the AOU to demonstrate that access to the library, test library, laboratories and other relevant resources is equivalent to the accredited on-campus program. Section 3: Program Guidelines This section provides detailed guidelines for programs in psychology. It covers three year programs, four year and fourth year programs, fifth, sixth and seventh year programs, and research degree programs. 3.1 Three year programs These guidelines apply to all three year programs in psychology which lead to a Bachelors degree. Three year programs can also be integrated into four year Honours programs and form the basis for study at the advanced level (see Section 3.2). The main objective of the three year program is to provide students with a thorough education in the scientific discipline of psychology, while also introducing students to the application of the discipline. Taking account of the nature of the discipline and its Updated September 2002 Page 16

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