As part of an exciting partnership with the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), Chaminade University is gearing up to welcome its inaugural cohort for the new Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology program.
The EdD program, which is offered fully online, is designed for mental health professionals serving in educational settings and driven to build their skills as leaders, mental health counselors and scholar-practitioners. Dr. Darren Iwamoto, program coordinator, said the degree’s cutting-edge curriculum includes a wealth of hands-on experiences, including around psychological test administration.
He added the doctoral program was developed to help Hawaii meet a critical and growing need for advanced clinical professionals in educational settings. And while the Fall 2022 cohort will be restricted to Department of Education employees, Chaminade plans to open seats to the public within two years.
“We worked incredibly closely with the DOE and other key stakeholders in designing this program so it was a pure partnership from the very beginning,” Iwamoto said. “It’s about a meeting a need that’s currently a gap in the Department of Education system and the community more broadly.”
Iwamoto said the program was specifically tailored to meet the rigorous Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs academic requirements for mental health licensure. Participants also complete 600 internship hours and a dissertation that’s woven into coursework.
After finishing the 60-credit hour program, students will be fully qualified to serve as educational psychologists in Hawaii PK-12 schools or in related sectors, such as with nonprofits that deliver services to youth. Iwamoto added the doctoral degree puts a strong emphasis on cultural awareness and considering the whole student as part of a push to broaden key support systems.
“This program is all about helping students with the highest needs,” he said.
Chaminade President Lynn Babington, PhD, said the program underscores the university’s tireless commitment to meeting community needs head-on—with quality, innovative and relevant programming designed to prepare students to serve others and drive positive change.
“The COVID pandemic and its fallout have not only highlighted the shortage of mental health professionals in Hawaii, but worsened it,” Babington said. “We know the new Doctor of Education in Educational Psychology is part of the solution and look forward to seeing graduates of this program taking on the challenges they see around them and helping build healthier, happier communities.”
Coursework in the program helps students to build a strong foundation for their direct service and leadership opportunities. It includes explorations of legal, professional and ethical issues, techniques for advanced counseling and group facilitation, and special education identification and assessment.
“This program—years in the making—was made possible thanks to the invaluable support, insight and expertise of our valued collaborators at the Hawaii Department of Education,” said Dr. Dale Fryxell, dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “We are proud to be partnering with them on a multi-year effort to strengthen the psychological support framework in Hawaii’s public schools.”
In an added benefit, Iwamoto said the Department of Education was able to secure federal grant funding to cover tuition, fees and other expenses for members of the inaugural cohort. Chaminade hopes to have 20 members in the first class, and they will begin their coursework in October.