Dr. Heather Britnell
Clinical Assistant Professor, School Psychology
The University of Alabama has been ranked number one in the year’s best schools for online degrees in school psychology by STEPS (Student Training & Education in Public Service, 2022).
The School Psychology Program adheres to a scientist practitioner model which assumes that the effective practice of school psychology is based on knowledge gained from established methods of scientific inquiry. Emphasis is on the preparation of competent practitioners who are also skilled and dedicated researchers who contribute to the knowledge base in school psychology. The program prepares students to integrate theory, research, and established methods of scientific inquiry into effective practice and to engage in research and evaluation activities that contribute to both the science and practice of psychology. The program strongly supports the belief that our science informs our practice and our practice informs our science, and emphasizes the need to provide training in the development and utilization of evidence-based practice.
The program seeks to support the development of scientist practitioners who are actively engaged in the promotion of social justice and equity for all students. Implicit in these aims is the recognition that existing systems result in unequal and disparate access to educational resources and psychological services. The program emphasizes the importance of school psychologists in bridging opportunity gaps and facilitating equal access so that all students can reach their potential.
The faculty are committed to a learning environment that has a well-organized and explicit curriculum with clear expectations. There is also a strong commitment to student-faculty interactions that encourage students to identify with the field and grow professionally. In addition, the program is designed to acquaint students with the diversity of theories and practices of school psychology that allow students sufficient intellectual freedom to experiment with different delivery systems and various theoretical bases.
The atmosphere is intended to foster informal student-faculty interaction, critical debate, and respect for theoretical diversity of practice, thus lending itself to a more intense and exciting learning experience. Such a philosophy encourages and reinforces the student’s creativity and intellectual risk taking that are fundamental in the development of the professional practice of school psychology.