Where should the balance be between “scientist” and “practitioner” in Australian undergraduate psychology?
Provost, SC, Hannan, G, Martin, FH, Farrell, G, Lipp, OV, Terry, DJ, Chalmers, D, Bath, D & Wilson, PH 2010, 'Where should the balance be between “scientist” and “practitioner” in Australian undergraduate psychology?', Australian Psychologist, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 243-248.
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The scientist–practitioner model of training in psychology has been widely influential in the development of undergraduate curricula in Australia. The model had its origins in post-war America and has formed the basis for accreditation of psychology courses in Australia since the late 1970s. Recently a reconsideration of the model in Australian undergraduate psychology was argued for, suggesting that the absence of significant practical skills development in most curricula is detrimental to the discipline's graduates and their employers. The authors agree that the need for some practical skills development in undergraduate curricula is becoming increasingly important for psychology. Many of the exemplars of curriculum revision provided, however, are impractical and are unlikely to make significant contributions to Australian programs. There is an urgent need to consider the graduate attributes desired for 3-year and 4-year trained psychology graduates who will go on to employment without completing postgraduate study. Curriculum innovation to enhance graduates' employability will flow from this development, and will be likely to incorporate information technology solutions, rather than placement experience. This process is entirely compatible with the scientist–practitioner model of training and education in psychology.