NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program at Tennessee State University has been selected for a prestigious award by the American Psychological Association. Recently reaccredited for another 10 years, the program is to receive the 2019 Richard M. Suinn Minority Achievement Award presented by the APA’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention and Training.
TSU is one of only two programs to win the award, presented each year to a program that has demonstrated excellence in the recruitment, retention and graduation of ethnic minority students. The TSU Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program, with a current enrollment of 45 students, is also one of only two APA-accredited programs at an HBCU. It was recognized for its dedication to social justice and tackling issues relevant to marginalized groups.
The award will be presented on August 8 during the APA’s annual convention Awards Reception in Chicago.
“This recognition by the American Psychological Association demonstrates the excellence of our faculty in preparing our candidates to go out there to make an impact on the profession,” said Dr. Heraldo Richards, interim dean of the College of Education. “What we see is a program that not only meets all the standards, but goes the extra mile in making sure that our candidates are able to address the needs of clients they work with.”
A letter from the APA announcing the award touted the TSU Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program’s efforts to prepare and produce culturally competent practitioners of color as impressive and timely.
“Please note that the program’s nomination was advanced by your own students,” the letter noted. “Such action highlights the important and valuable work the program accomplishes to mentor scholars of color. Clearly, the program’s work and its dedication to the education and training of psychologists has not gone unnoticed by your students.”
Dr. Keisa Kelly, chair of the TSU Department of Psychology, said she is glad for the award and recognition given the TSU program.
“I am very grateful for the national recognition our department’s counseling psychology program, students, and faculty have received for their outstanding commitment to equity, justice, and workforce diversification,” Kelly said. “My team works hard, makes a difference, and deserves recognition for their significant and impactful accomplishments in psychology and society more broadly.”
Linda Ly, a second-year Ph.D. student from Rosemead, California, nominated the TSU program for the APA award.
“I was impressed by how the program is able to recruit students from diverse backgrounds, which has really enhanced the learning experience for me,” she said. “I’ve learned so much from my peers and faculty members consistently in discussions about individual and cultural differences throughout the program.”
Dr. Robin Oatis-Ballew, coordinator of the Ph.D. Counseling Psychology program, described students in the program as talented, committed to learning, and deeply interested in serving others.
“As part of their training, the doctoral counseling psychology students provide mental health services to Davidson and surrounding counties,” Oatis-Ballew said. “Often, they are working with underserved communities. They also volunteer their time to assist migrant, refugee, and homeless peoples, as well as other groups and organizations who are invested in grassroots community efforts and social change.”
In addition to the Suinn Award, the APA recently recognized two TSU students for outstanding achievement. Erin Carney, a Ph.D. student, is the APA’s Society for Counseling Psychology (Division 17) Student of the Year, for her outstanding work with individuals at risk for suicide. Gabe Lockett, who is pursuing his master’s degree in counseling psychology, was selected for APA’s Minority Fellowship Program.
For more information on the TSU psychology program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/psychology/
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees. TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee. With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.