The community specialization emphasizes an ecological perspective focusing on prevention, diversity, law, and social policy related to children and families. Students are expected to become knowledgeable about evaluation and field research methods. Included in the curriculum are required courses in community psychology and prevention science which is taught in conjunction with a mandatory community field laboratory in which students work on a project to help examine policy/research/action needs for a local agency and/or government. In addition, ethnic minority issues; ecological assessment; children, families, and the law; social development and gender issues, and several quantitative and methodological courses are offered. Students develop expertise in quantitative methods and at least one other area of psychology, often developmental, social or clinical psychology. The development and application of psychological knowledge for the formation of public policy is encouraged in conjunction with an interdisciplinary approach.
Examples of current faculty and student research topics include resilient children; preventive delinquency; minority families; peer influence in adolescent development; gay and lesbian families; violence in teen dating relationships, competence in adolescent decision-making; children in poverty; and law/mental health interactions related to children and families. For students with legal interests, research and some course work in law and psychology are emphasized.
Joseph Allen, Lanice Avery, Charlotte Patterson, and Melvin Wilson hope to admit graduate students to the Community area for 2017-18.