By Bonnie Leung
The University of Calgary’s Clinical Psychology program was recently approved for a five-year accreditation.
According to Clinical Psychology director Keith Dobson, accreditation recognizes excellence in a training program.
"Accreditation is a process approved by the Canadian Psychological Association," he said. "It’s basically a seal of approval which says the program meets certain training standards. These have been set by the CPA and all of the programs in Canada are accredited or are working as hard as they can to be accredited."
Each university goes through a simple voluntary process to apply for accreditation.
"There are certain criteria that have been established," said Dobson. "[The CPA] sends out a visiting team and the team will review the program according to the criteria. Then what they do is they decide whether or not the program meets those standards and there’s a committee that meets in Ottawa with the CPA."
The accreditation will directly benefit the students.
"We want to be able to place our students in the best possible positions when they graduate," said Dobson. "[The students are] the ones that are assured of a certain quality of training and they’re assured that when they graduate, their training is likely recognized."
Clinical Psychology graduate student Kathy Gibson agreed.
"It’s really good for our program because it attracts a lot of students," said Gibson. "Most students want to come to an accredited program. It means there’s a certain quality of education we’re receiving while we’re here."
The Clinical Psychology program is new to the U of C.
"We started the program formally in 1993," said Dobson. "We got accredited in 1996, although only for three years, so we’ve now been accredited in 1999 for five years, and that’s the maximum level you can get. So what that says to me is that in a period from 1993-1999, so six years, we’ve developed a program from really nothing to having the highest possible standards in the country."