The Practicum is a capstone experience within the UMass Lowell Master’s program in community social psychology. The primary purpose of the Practicum is two-fold:
- To allow students to apply, integrate, and evaluate the information and skills they have acquired in their master's-level academic course work.
- To help students gain new understandings and competencies as community social psychologists while contributing to a field setting. Students participate in community placements for 10-12 hours per week as well as attend an on-campus seminar designed to support their applied work.
Nature of the Work for CSP Practicum Placements
- Interventions that are broader than individual level/clinical approaches; should be prevention and/or empowerment focused.
- Work that involves some student initiative beyond being an extra pair of hands and not just clerical or technical work like data entry or PC support.
- Contact with multiple relevant constituencies such as consumers, clients, organization staff, and workers, and seeing life from the perspective of community members.
- Work that is based in the community (broadly defined) that the practicum project is designed to serve.
- If the overall placement has links within the university but serves the local community, the daily work of the practicum should be based in the community outside the university.
- If the community of interest most relevant to the student’s professional development is the academic setting (e.g., student affairs, res life), then the “community” can be defined as an institution of higher education (students, faculty, staff).
- If the practicum project is focused on change within an organization (e.g., organization development), it should involve contact with different constituency groups throughout the organization.
- Some sort of “presence” within the organization.
- If an organization has its own physical space, this would mean having a physical location for daily work as well as invitations to participate in central organizational events, meetings, and informal gatherings.
- With coalitions or collaborations that do not have a single physical location, there should be some ways for students to participate and contribute to coalition-related activities beyond formal coalition meetings. These might include (but not be limited to) participation in the coalition-related activities of a particular coalition member organization or group.
- Students should not receive any wage or salary compensation for the practicum work.
Supervisor & Organizational Commitment
- Commitment by on-site supervisor to provide at least one hour of individual supervision per week.
- Supervisor commitment to do bi-annual evaluations of student progress toward the student’s learning goals.
- Supervisor commitment to meet with the practicum instructor three times during the year (typically twice on the UMass Lowell campus and once at the practicum site) and to participate in additional meetings as deemed necessary by supervisor or practicum instructor.
- Supervisor commitment to provide guidance geared both at directing the specific project tasks but also at the student’s professional development in a more holistic manner.
- Organizational commitment to support the practicum project and learning goals of the student.
- Practicum supervisor who is someone that students could/would not normally have contact with in their academic work (i.e. not a university faculty member).
- Practicum supervisor with whom there is no conflict of interest or dual-role relationship.