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Community Connections

The Portland State University motto is Let knowledge serve the city. In fact, the University is considered a model for community outreach and student engagement in community- issues.

The Department of Psychology upholds this tradition through four strategies:

(a) Community-based learning courses
(b) Practicum and internship experiences
(c) Applied research opportunities
(d) Edith Sullivan Memorial Speaker Series
(e) Psychology Brownbag Brainstorming Series

Moreover, the graduate program culminates with the student’s own independent research (i.e., master’s thesis, dissertation), which is intended to integrate their classroom, research, and community experiences.

Additional information:

Recent community partners: Click here for a list of community organizations which have served as research or teaching partners or in which students have completed practica or internships.

Are you a community member interested in a PSU Psychology Student for a Community Project? Members of the community interested in working with PSU Psychology Students should visit the Professional's Guide to Psychology Practicum and Internship Experiences.

Community-based learning (CBL) classes

CBL Classes blend classroom instruction with opportunities for students to practice newly acquired skills in community settings under the supervision of experienced faculty. In these courses, students become engaged in civic responsibility through self-government and administration of the course itself. CBL courses vary widely in structure from one week intensive courses organized around an applied project, to year-long courses requiring students to complete a consultative project in a community organization. All community-based learning courses involve a project that is directly related to the course content and that provides students with an opportunity to apply the concepts learned in class to assist a community partner in solving an important social, organizational, or educational issue.

Practicum and Internship Experiences

Practicum and internship experiences provides students with the opportunity to:
(a) apply their acquired skills and knowledge in community settings,
(b) work under supervision of, and in collaboration with, a practicing professional in the field, and
(c) interact with target populations in an applied setting. These opportunities provide students with experience in applied settings where they can integrate concepts and techniques learned in their program and utilize their expertise to help solve “real world” problems.

Practica consist of time-limited experiences (i.e., often one quarter) for students who want to “sample” professional work in a particular discipline or setting (e.g., mental health, social policy, industry).

Internships consist of 6-month to 1-year placements in community agencies, organizations, and industry, which offer students a venue and context for honing skills acquired during their doctoral training.

Read the undergradute practicum guidelines.

Applied Research

Applied research consists of faculty-student collaborations around topics relevant to members of our community. Research projects reflect some of our most dynamic relationships with the community. They offer a venue for our graduate students to hone the craft of applied research while answering relevant and timely questions that result in measurable improvements in policy and practice for our community partners.

For descriptions of specific areas of interest, please visit our faculty pages.

Edith Sullivan Memorial Speaker Series

The Edith Sullivan Memorial Speaker Series honors the memory of Dr. Edith Sullivan and her contributions to the PSU Department of Psychology. The series is funded by a donation from Dr. Sullivan’s family to the Department of Psychology. Speakers are internationally recognized scholars in their professional fields whom are invited to Portland to share their expertise with psychology faculty and students as well as the university community. Speakers will be announced campus wide as well as through psychology faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate e-mail lists.

Psychology Brownbag Brainstorming Series

The Psychology Brownbag Brainstorming Series provides a forum for faculty and students to discuss community-based research projects with members of the community, as well as other departmental colleagues. Presenters include graduate students working on applied research projects, faculty members presenting their own research, faculty members presenting professional development topics, community partners who are engaged in collaborative work with faculty, and community members discussing opportunities for our students. Brownbag speakers will be announced through psychology faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate e-mail lists.