Faculty Association cancels psychology master’s program

Spinnaker

Despite argument from the UNF Psychology Department, the UNF Faculty Association voted Feb. 4 to terminate the Master of Arts and Counseling Psychology program, one of only two master’s degree programs the department offers.

This recommendation then went to the desks of UNF President John Delaney and Provost Mark Workman, who both agreed with the recommendation and signed it onto the next level, the Board of Trustees Educational Policy Committee — the next meeting is March 25.

From there, the entire board will vote on the decision and make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees later this semester.

When the discussions began at the faculty association meeting, it was not a unanimous decision. The faculty voted 35-27 in favor of terminating the program that has been in a state of suspension for the last few months.

Dr. Michael Toglia, chair of the psychology department, provided the association with a one-page reasoning of its case to continue the program.

“I don’t know how many of them actually read it,” he said, referring to the outcome of the vote.

Frank Denner, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, voted to terminate the program.

Denner said 95 percent of the students who graduated from the terminated program pursued medical licensure, therefore, it was worthy of termination, as the Brooks College of Health offers a similar program — the Master in Health and Clinical Psychology.

The psychology program is also not accredited, while the similar health program is accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

But David Ysarra, director of the terminated program, said he believes Denner’s reasoning is false, as the number of alumni pursuing licensure is closer to 65 percent.

The programs are “sizeably different” in comprehensiveness and scope.

“There are needs in the community that will not be met by the graduates of [the remaining program’s] model,” Ysarra said. “Sometimes folks fail to see the forest for the trees.”

He said community employers will probably begin hiring students from other psychology departments like the University of Central Florida or the University of South Florida.

Forty students, a mix of first- and second-year students, are currently enrolled in the program, and university policy will allow them to graduate before the degree is no more.