Respond to each of the following questions. Each response should be 75-100 words.
How do you think your graduate educational experience will be different from your undergraduate experience? Explain your response and provide examples.
How would you describe a graduate learning community? What would be the key components of a graduate learning community and how might they be different from key components of an undergraduate learning community? Explain your response and provide examples.
Are communication and collaboration expectations the same in a graduate learning community? Explain your response and provide examples.
While APA format is not required for the body of this assignment, solid academic writing is expected, and documentation of any sources should be presented using APA formatting guidelines, which can be found in the APA Style Guide.
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice
1997, Vol. 28, No. 1. 87-91
Copyright 1997 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
Graduate Student Professional Development
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Heidi L. Alletzhauser
Mountain View, California
Colorado Department of Corrections, Canon City, Colorado
Tamera R. Schneider
State University of New ork—Stony Brook
Professional development (PD) has become an integral element of professional practice and training
within psychology and related fields, yet the construct has not been conceptually well defined.
Psychology graduate students (N = 593) were surveyed to assess PD across 3 primary areas: “What
is PD for you? Is this fostered by your program? and In which areas would you like more?” Students
endorsed numerous items as being part of PD, with only 3 elements of PD fostered by graduate
programs (statistics and research, theories of behavior, ethics). Multivariate analyses of variance
revealed some differences between clinical/counseling and research/academic students on the factors
across 2 of the primary areas. A conceptual definition of PD is offered, with recommendations
for graduate students and educators to identify PD needs and evaluate whether those needs are
Throughout the last decade, professional development (PD)
has become an integral element of professional practice and
training within psychology. PD has increasingly served as a
topic of book chapters (Devitt, 1988), articles (Miller, 1992;
Skovholt & Ronnestad, 1992a), undergraduate and graduate
student classroom seminars, and professional workshops. It is
addressed within school mission statements and internship per-
KELLY DUCHENY received her PsyD in clinical psychology in 1993 from
Wright State University, School of Professional Psychology. She is cur-
rently the associate director of clinical training/core faculty at the Chi-
cago School of Professional Psychology. Her areas of interest include
gay and lesbian issues, professional issues, multidisciplinary collabora-
tion, and multicultural interactions.
HEIDI L. ALLETZHAUSER received her PsyD in 1992 from the School of
Professional Psychology at Wright State University and is a psychologist
in Mountain View, California. Her areas of interest include child survi-
vors of homicide, domestic violence, and professional ethics.
DENEEN CRANDELL received her PsyD in clinical psychology in 1993
from Wright State University, School of Professional Psychology. She is
currently employed as a staff psychologist at the Colorado Women’s
Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colorado, with interests in the treat-
ment of perpetrators of domestic violence and sexual offenses and in
TAMERA R. SCHNEIDER received an MA in applied behavioral science
at Wright State University in 1992 and is currently pursuing her PhD in
health psychology at State University of New Y>rk—Stony Brook. Her
research interests include the intersection of stress and health, with an
emphasis on cardiovascular disease.
THIS RESEARCH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE without the encourage-
ment and financial support of the American Psychological Association
of Graduate Students (APAGS). We are particularly appreciative of the
assistance of Todd Mook (APA staff), the APAGS Executive Board, and
the APA Office of Demographic Employment and Educational Research.
CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING THIS .ARTICLE should be addressed to
Kelly Ducheny, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 47 West
Polk, Chicago, Illinois 60605.
formance ratings (Ross & Altmaier, 1990), even inspiring spe-
cific committees at the national level (American Psychological
Association of Graduate Students, 1990). PD has become iden-
tified with the process of maturing and evolving as a professional
in the field of psychology.
Within the literature, several related concepts and terms are
being used to describe professional growth and development.
These terms include professional identity (McGowen & Hart,
1990), professional socialization (Green, 1991), postgraduate
development (Fogel & Click, 1991), developmental stages (Lo-
pez et al., 1989), professionalism (Oakland, 1986), and profes-
sional development (Ross & Altmaier, 1990; Skovholt & Ron-
nestad, 1992a). Although PD is widely discussed and promoted,
there is little clarity about exactly what PD is and how it is
achieved or enhanced.
Although widely heralded as a critical component of profes-
sional evolution and training, few sources have attempted to
conceptually define PD. Skovholt and Ronnestad (1992a,
1992b) conducted one of the most comprehensive studies of PD
to date but did not offer a concrete definition of the term. In
the context of education for professional psychologists, issues
of PD and standards of training have been addressed by the
National Council of Schools of Professional Psychology
(NCSPP). In a draft of their “Standards for Education on Pro-
fessional Psychology,” the NCSPP (Callan, Peterson, & Strieker,
1986) addresses the importance of issues such as professional
socialization without attempting to further define professional
socialization or PD. Although no two sources describe PD iden-
tically, three primary elements are frequently discussed as con-
tributing to or being synonymous with PD: (a) the importance
of continuing training and familiarity with relevant research;
( b ) the influence of a supportive peer group or mentor; and (c)
the organization of PD into stages articulated by formative
events or level of training.
The first element, continuing education, is the most commonly
DUCHENY, ALLETZHAUSER, CRANDELL, AND SCHNEIDER
mentioned component of PD. Ross and Altmaier (1990) de-
scribed PD as an intern’s ability to identify and pursue his or
her own training needs, as well as an appropriate receptivity to
supervisory feedback. In addition, attendance at professional
meetings, training sessions, and efforts to remain abreast of
relevant technical research and literature have been recom-
mended for the enhancement of PD (Devitt, 1988; McCully,
A second element common to the PD literature is access
to mentoring and supportive peer relationships. Mentoring is
suggested to serve a critical role in an individual’s PD (Skov-
holt & Ronnestad, 1992a; Wright & Wright, 1987), as well as
the development of the profession as a whole (Miller, 1992).
Kreiser, Domokos-Cheng Ham, Wiggers, and Feldstein (1991)
explored the contribution to PD made by an established “profes-
The third element commonly found in the literature is the
progression of PD through a series of stages marked by signifi-
cant formative events or task-level completion (i.e., graduation,
first job, career advancement). Skovholt and Ronnestad (1992a,
1992b) developed an eight-stage model of PD for psychothera-
pists, with stages denoted by an individual’s advancement within
graduate training and the number of years a therapist has prac-
ticed after achieving a graduate degree. In other research, the
postdoctoral “phase” of PD has been divided into three distinct
stages, with each stage characterized by cumulative tasks and
professional responsibilities (Kaslow, McCarthy, Rogers, &
Additionally, a few authors offer some components of PD
that are intrapersonal in nature. Miller (1992) has suggested
that self-understanding of one’s values, areas of interest, and
professional and personal needs is an essential component of
PD. In describing the PD of clinical psychology interns, Ross
and Altmaier (1990) have included a willingness to address
one’s own issues and an independent conception of projects and
professional goals. In greater depth, Watts (1987) has viewed
PD as a combination of one’s theoretical paradigm, career goals,
and an individual’s principles and personal standards, whereas
Skovholt and Ronnestad (1992a) have suggested that “continu-
ous professional reflection” was the most influential method of
PD among their sample of clinicians. To this point, PD has
been advanced by the growth and exploration of its individual
components, without an integrated definition of the concept as
a whole (Fox, Barclay, & Rodgers, 1982).
This survey was initially conceptualized as a project for the
American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
(APAGS). A graduate student sample was chosen to begin re-
searching PD at the initial point of introduction to the field of
psychology and to include a population rarely studied.
Twenty-four survey items were generated through a review
of the literature that included sources mentioning professional
development or addressing graduate student training needs or
development. For each of the 24 items, participants were asked
to address three primary questions: (a) Is this part of profes-
sional development for you? (b) Is this fostered by your pro-
gram? and (c) Do you want more? Participants responded on
a 3-point scale (yes, no, or somewhat). Surveys were mailed
to 1,100 psychology graduate students across the United States
and Canada. The sample was stratified across training subspeci-
alty to reflect the current percentages of the APAGS subspecialty
membership. All students were members of APAGS. Of the
original 1,100 surveys, 604 were returned ( 5 5 % ) , with 593
surveys suitable for inclusion. Subspecialty stratification of the
sample remained within the surveys suitable for inclusion.
Students endorsed approximately two thirds of the items when
asked, “Is this part of PD for you?” However, only three items
were identified as being fostered by graduate psychology pro-
grams: familiarity with more than one theory of behavior, profi-
ciency in research and statistics, and a foundation in ethical
principles and dilemmas. These three items represent some of
the basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes within psychology,
and they fail to reflect the richness of a graduate student’s
professional identity or the multidimensional sources of PD.
These elements represent the bare minimum of training a student
in psychology should receive. It appears that graduate psychol-
ogy programs have uniformly fostered only the most traditional
elements of PD.
In addition, students felt that three areas were specifically not
being fostered by their programs: development of time manage-
ment skills, development of funding proposal and grant writing
skills, and awareness of professional stages of development and
associated pitfalls. Psychology graduate students requested more
within these areas: development of supervisory and mentoring
skills, ability to function in diverse professional capacities,
awareness of professional stages of development and associated
pitfalls, involvement in a mentoring relationship, development
of special areas of interest or proficiency, and encouragement
of positive multidisciplinary relationships. These areas showcase
a strong orientation toward the future, a curiosity concerning
the process of PD itself, an interest in achieving PD through
professional relationships, and an awareness of the changing
nature of the field of psychology (see Table 1).
A factor analysis was computed to examine common variance
among the 24 items and across the three primary questions. Two
factors were found for the first primary question, “Is this part of
professional development for you?” The first factor was labeled
Interpersonal and Multirole Effectiveness (1ME) and included
supervisory-mentoring skills, awareness of PD stages and pit-
falls, functioning in diverse capacities, multidisciplinary rela-
tions, and awareness of sex and gender issues. The second factor
addressed issues related to research and academic proficiency
and included college-level teaching skills, specialized experi-
mental techniques, presenting and publishing, and funding and
grant proposal writing skills. This factor was labeled Academia
and Research ( A R ) . Two factors were found for the third pri-
mary question, “Do you want more?” The first factor, labeled
Ethical and Societal Principles (ESP), included influence of
public policy and legal issues on psychology, incorporating soci-
ety’s needs, awareness of sex and gender issues, ethical issues,
and continuing education. The second factor, entitled Scientific
Advancement ( S A ) , included proficiency in research and statis-
tics, specialized experimental techniques, and presenting and
publishing (see Table 2).
A multivariatE analysis of variance (MANOft) was per-
formed on the four factors. Survey respondents were placed into
GRADUATE STUDENT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 89
Mean Item Scores on the Professional Development
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