Psychology Graduate Handbook

Welcome and Overview

Welcome to the UHV Master’s program in Counseling Psychology, Forensic Psychology, and the Specialist in School Psychology Program at University of Houston Victoria (UHV) in the School of Arts and Sciences. The Psychology Department at UHV has been offering educational, informational, and cultural opportunities to students.

This handbook contains policies specific to the Forensic Psychology, Specialist in School Psychology, and Counseling Psychology Program’s that supplement those found in program specific handbooks, course syllabi, the UHV Catalog, and the UHV Student Handbook. Please become very familiar with this handbook. Students are responsible for knowing the material in the Handbook and using it as a guide to academic and nonacademic policies and procedures within the Psychology Graduate program.

The information in this handbook is updated annually. Changes may also be made throughout the academic year. If a change occurs, an announcement will be posted on the psychology website located on the Arts and Sciences webpage; students will also be notified via e-mail.

Congratulations on your decision to advance your education. The faculty and staff are here to help you reach your goal!

The information below is general to Graduate Programs in Psychology as a whole (Please review either the Counseling Psychology, Forensic Psychology or Specialist in School Psychology Handbooks for specific program requirements).

Criminal History Acknowledgement

Occupational License HB 1508

As outlined in the Texas Occupations Code, Section 1, Chapter 53, Sections 53.151 – 53.152 (amended in 2017 by HB 1508), if you are currently enrolled in an educational program that may prepare an individual for an initial occupational license as defined under Texas Occupations Code Section 58.001, in accordance with state law, please be advised of the following:

  1. An individual who has been convicted of an offense may be ineligible for issuance of an occupational license upon completion of the educational program.
  2. Each licensing authority that may issue an occupational license to an individual who completes an educational program must establish guidelines that state the reasons a particular crime is considered to relate to a particular license and any other criterion that affects the decisions of the licensing authority.
  3. Local or county licensing authorities may issue additional guidelines related to criminal history. Applicants should contact their respective local or county licensing authority for more details.
  4. A person may request a criminal history evaluation letter regarding the personal eligibility for a license issued by a licensing authority under Texas Occupations Code Section 53.102.

Students are encouraged to review all applicable eligibility requirements related to the respective occupational license. Questions related to eligibility requirements should be directed to the applicable licensing authority.

Academic Regulations and Grading

Communication

Effective communication between the Psychology Program faculty and students is critical for success in the program. To facilitate communication, the program keeps a database of addresses, phone numbers, and email for all students, as well as recent graduates. Students should remember to keep their information updated through myUHV and Student Records.

Electronic Mail

It is a program expectation that all students will maintain and access their UHV email accounts on a frequent basis. Program communication is handled almost completely through email; therefore, having your correct UHV email address on file with the program is imperative!

Change of Program

Psychology Graduate Students wishing to transfer between Graduate Psychology programs must apply for admission to the new program and will be considered with other applicants entering in the Fall semester.  They are not guaranteed acceptance into the new program. Repeated switching between programs is strongly discouraged as it often delays your desired completion date and disrupts the continuity of your professional skill development.

Any student wishing to complete degree requirements for two Psychology Graduate programs must fully complete one program before applying for a second Psychology graduate degree program. As a UHV alumnus, you are only allowed to transfer up to 50% your previous programs courses to the new program’s degree plan if you are accepted.

Professional Development

Throughout the academic year each program may offer additional opportunities for professional development or social interaction with program members. Details regarding these events and attendance requirements will be given to students with advance notice. Students are also encouraged to attend regional/national conferences, either to present research findings or to participate in the professional activities of peers and colleagues. Attendance at professional conferences is also a great way to develop and refine thesis projects, if desired. The Department also has a chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology and School Psychology Association (SPA), in which graduate students are encouraged to join and participate in the above-mentioned organizations. In addition, students are encouraged to join professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), American Counseling Association, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), Texas Association of School Psychologist (TASP), Texas Association of Psychological Associates (TAPA), and Texas Counseling Association (TCA).

Review of Student Progress

Student progress will be reviewed on a regular basis with the intention of identifying students who may need remediation to continue in the program. Continuation in the Counseling, Forensic or Specialist in School Psychology program requires satisfactory academic performance, appropriate personal attributes, and ethical behavior. In addition, students must demonstrate the acquisition of appropriate clinical and professional skills. All students are evaluated annually and as needed for academic progress and professional behavior and development. A student who fails to meet minimal criteria will be asked to sign a probation agreement that specifies the remediation terms for continuation in the program. Dismissal from the program will result if the student fails to follow the terms of the agreement. See the below information for more detailed information concerning the program’s expectations regarding appropriate personal attributes.

Appropriate Personal Attributes for the Graduate Psychology Programs

Responsibility

  • Shows a pattern of reliable attendance in classes and at practicum/internship obligations.
  • Shows a pattern of completing class projects and other program requirements on time.
  • Shows a pattern of a good effort when working on university tasks.
  • Shows a pattern of accepting responsibility for mistakes.

Respect

  • Shows a pattern of respect for others and sensitivity to others.
  • Does not engage in a pattern of offensive practices.
  • Does not act in a hostile manner- name calling, intimidation, abusive or threatening behavior, sexual harassment, attempts to humiliate or ridicule others, repeated expression of racist, sexist or other prejudicial attitudes.

Personal Problems

  • Shows sufficient insight and judgment to know the limits of ability to avoid harming clients or potential clients.
  • Is not a danger to self or others.
  • Is not too distressed to be effective in the skills required for Counseling, School, and Forensic, or testing.
  • Is able to conform to the demands of the tasks involved in the program's education.
  • Exhibits no impairments that may lead to inability to conform including substance abuse, delusions, and poor reality testing among other conditions.

Integrity

  • Shows a pattern of integrity and honesty.
  • Does not show a pattern of deception and lying.
  • Does not cheat or engage in plagiarism.

Self-Presentation and Professional Demeanor

  • Shows a pattern of good personal hygiene and grooming, as well as site-appropriate professional attire.
  • Shows ability and potential to develop appropriate professional etiquette.

Probation and Remediation

Forensic, Specialist in School Psychology, and Counseling Psychology students are expected to maintain adequate progress in their respective programs of study. In case of probation and remediation concerns, please review your program’s policy concerning probation and remediation procedures located in each specific program’s handbook.

Behavioral probation

Students' academic and professional development is of the utmost concern in the psychology graduate programs, as is the welfare of both students and the public.  Usually, concerns about student behavior or conduct issues can be resolved constructively between the student, an instructor, or advisor.  However, in cases where behavioral issues are persistent or are of a nature which interfere with student development or put others' development or welfare in jeopardy, a more formal probationary process may become necessary.  The goal of behavioral probation is to create a more formal structure to assist the student's academic and professional development while ensuring the safety of all concerned: the student, colleagues, and members of the public.

In this case, the following process should occur:

1.  The student will be invited to a meeting with the program director and members of the graduate faculty in writing, including the purpose of the meeting and specific incidents which triggered the need for the meeting. For instance, a student might be sent a request to meet with graduate faculty after a practicum supervisor stated that the student was engaging in the following unprofessional conduct: cursing in front of clients, wearing inappropriate attire, or failing to attend mandatory meetings with their supervisor.

2.  The student will be informed that information gathered in the meeting could possibly result in sanctions for the student, including being placed on behavioral probation. The probation would involve remediation work designed to assist the student in the area(s) of concern found to be valid by the committee. The student will be informed that, once the findings are assessed, the Committee may instead decide that no sanctions are warranted.

3.  After the meeting with the student, if a sanction is warranted, including behavioral probation, the student will be informed in writing of the sanction and the remediation. That student has the right to appeal the findings to the Chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences. If the student meets with the Chair and is dissatisfied with the outcome, the student may appeal to the Dean of Arts and Sciences. 

Practica and Unsatisfactory Performance

Practicum is an integral piece of all three of the graduate programs. During practicum, students have to apply skills learned in their academic courses, as well as demonstrate positive personal attributes and interpersonal relationships. Students who demonstrate unsatisfactory performance at midterm will be subject to a clinical review and plan for improvement with the university practicum supervisor. At that time, the practicum supervisor will inform the program director about the unsatisfactory behavior and plan for improvement. Students who obtain a letter grade of U for the semester will automatically be placed on behavior probation and receive a remediation plan. If a student obtains two cumulative U letter grades for two semesters of practica then the student’s admittance to the program will be withdrawn.

Unethical Behavior and Academic Dishonesty

Due to the high degree of morality and ethical conduct of the psychology profession, unethical behavior and academic dishonesty of any form, such as plagiarism or cheating, will not be tolerated and is considered unacceptable behavior of graduate students in Psychology. Any student engaging in unethical behavior and/or in direct violation UHV’s Academic Dishonesty policy, as noted in the UHV Student Handbook, will be subject to reasonable and appropriate sanctions as outlined by University policies. Please see UHV Student Handbook for further information.

Degree Plan Advisors (from University Catalog)

You are responsible for all requirements of the catalog under which you will have graduated. During your first semester of attendance at the university, the School of Arts and Sciences staff advisor will initiate your degree plan. The degree plan advisor will work with you and your Faculty Advisor to complete a plan for approval. You will sign the plan. The Faculty Advisor and appropriate School Dean also sign when approving it and the Office of Admissions validates the degree plan before it becomes an official document. You will receive a copy when the process is complete, ordinarily during the same semester in which the process began.

The original degree plan is kept on file electronically in Student Records and you and the school of your plan will each receive a copy. Since the degree plan represents your commitment to complete the requirements and the University’s commitment to hold you accountable for meeting those requirements, it is a very important document. In order to change it in any way, secure a substitution form from the Department of Arts of Sciences. The Faculty Advisor and School Dean must approve the change and Student Records validates it before it becomes official.

Please note that if you interrupt enrollment for more than one calendar year, you will need a new degree plan upon your return to UHV.

Your Degree Plan/Student Advisor for the Graduate Psychology Programs:

Jennifer Reeder, Academic Advisor
ReederJ@uhv.edu
(361) 570-4237

Your faculty advisors are listed below:

Counseling Psychology:

A - J: Dr. Catherine Perz, perzc@uhv.edu

K - Z:  Dr. Brent Lang (Program Director), langb@uhv.edu

Forensic Psychology:

A - L: Dr. Rebecca Heron, heronr@uhv.edu

M - Z: Dr. Karen Parsonson (Program Director), parsonsonk@uhv.edu

School Psychology: 

Completing first year coursework: Dr. Melanie Lemanski, lemanskim@uhv.edu

Completing second year coursework: Dr. Elise Hendricker, hendrickere@uhv.edu

Completing internship: Dr. Shannon Viola (Program Director), violas@uhv.edu

Withdrawal

The University policy on dropping courses and/or withdrawal from the University can be found in the current Student Handbook. Deadlines for dropping classes with a W can be found in the University Calendar.

Timely Completion

UHV graduate students must complete their program within 7 years after formal admission. Course credit, either transfer or from UHV, may not apply to any graduate degree if at graduation the course credit is more than 10 years old.

While part-time study is permissible, we encourage part-time students to take a minimum of 6 hours per semester to ensure they are meeting program deadlines for graduation.

Graduate Psychology students who have not enrolled in classes for a one-year period must reapply to their program to gain admission status.  They may or may not be accepted for admission.

Academic Appeals

The procedures for sanctions and appeals described below are intended to provide resolution as early, expeditiously, and amicably as possible, with as limited involvement and as little disruption to the learning process as possible. Since the institution exists to serve the educational needs of students, individually and collectively, it is not an antagonist in any process of sanction or appeals. Rather, its interest lies in ascertaining the truth of the matter at hand, in attempting to reach a just resolution, and in viewing the process as a learning experience, both for the student and the institution.

Grade Appeal

Faculty members have the qualifications, responsibility, and authority to evaluate students' performance and to assign grades. They are expected to exercise great care and objectivity, to be receptive to students' inquiries about grades assigned, and to be receptive to the advice of their colleagues in instances of disputed grades. Faculty members may change a final grade, once recorded, only by timely, written notification to the Registrar, ordinarily with the approval of their Dean. Otherwise, a grade may be changed only by the chief officer or chief academic officer of the institution in accordance with duly established procedures as described below.

Within School Grade Appeal Procedure

Students who believe that a grade assigned is inaccurate or unjust should first see the instructor of the course. If students remain unsatisfied or prefer not to see the instructor, they should contact the academic school secretary to determine the appropriate administrator in the academic school who manages grade appeals (e.g., Chair, Program Coordinator, Dean, Assistant Dean, or Associate Dean). (In the case of the Graduate Psychology programs, the appropriate administrator is Dr. Rick Harrington, Chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences, who may be contacted at HarringtonR@uhv.edu.) These individuals will attempt to resolve the matter using the academic school's established procedures. The appropriate administrator may handle the case, or after consultation with the instructor, convene a divisional committee to review it. If the change of grade is warranted, the instructor will be advised.

It is assumed that most grade appeals can be settled in this manner. 

University Grade Appeal Procedure

Students who remain unsatisfied should contact the appropriate administrator in the academic school who manages grade appeals (e.g., Chair, Program Coordinator, Dean, Assistant Dean, or Associate Dean). These individuals will attempt to resolve the matter informally and, at the student's request, determine whether the case should be referred to the Provost Office for review and advisement. The following conditions will apply:

  1. The appeal must involve a terminal grade for a course or program.
  2. The appeal must be for reasons other than simple disagreement about the relative merits of the student's performance: i.e., cases to be heard by a university-wide committee should relate ordinarily to charges of arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory treatment rather than issues of academic judgment.
  3. The appeal must, in the Provost's opinion, involve a palpable issue and evidence capable of sustaining rational argument.
  4. The appeal must be initiated by the end of the next long semester after the grade in question has been assigned.

Formal Grade Appeal Procedure

If the four conditions noted above are met, the student should petition the Provost in writing, specifying the action requested and explaining the basis for the request. Any documents or material considered relevant should be cited or submitted. Upon notification of the relevant parties, the process will unfold as follows:

  1. The Academic Council will examine the appeal and supporting evidence, and will determine whether a hearing is needed to address the appeal.
  2. If a hearing is determined to be unnecessary, the Council will deliberate and reach a judgment on the appeal.
  3. If a hearing is determined to be advisable or if the student or the instructor involved requests a hearing the Council will establish a meeting time when the relevant parties can attend.
  4. The student and the instructor involved may be asked to appear separately or together, at the Council's discretion.
  5. The student may bring one person to witness the hearing, but that person is not to participate unless called upon. (If the person is to be an attorney, the Provost must be informed in advance).
  6. The student may have others submit testimony in person or in writing.
  7. The instructor involved may also have others submit testimony.
  8. Following the hearing(s), the Council will deliberate and reach a judgment advisory to the Provost.
  9. The Provost will then inform the student, instructor, and School Dean of the decision.
  10. If the decision is that the grade should be changed, the instructor will be asked to change it.
  11. If the instructor is unwilling to change the grade, the Provost will instruct Student Records in writing that the change is to be made.

Application for Graduation

UHV does not automatically award a degree when you complete your scholastic requirements. To be considered as a candidate for a degree, you must submit an application for graduation through myUHV by the published deadline, regardless of your plans to participate in the commencement ceremony. You can file an application either during the semester prior to, or during the semester in which you plan to graduate. It is suggested that students apply for graduation one semester prior to their intended graduation date. The application will trigger a detailed review, revealing any requirements left to complete. If you applied for graduation in any past semester but were disapproved, you must re-file an application for graduation.

There are typically two commencement ceremonies per year, one for Spring and one for Fall. At the present time, Summer semester graduates participate during the Fall ceremony. You should contact the Jag Station bookstore to obtain information on caps, gowns, rings, and invitations.

You must be on track to complete all requirements toward your degree in the semester for which you plan to participate in the commencement ceremony. If all requirements for graduation cannot be met during the current semester, you may be denied participation in the commencement ceremony. For information concerning eligibility to participate in one of the ceremonies, please contact Student Records, 361-570-4368 or 1-877-970-4848 ex. 4368.

Title IX: Sexual Misconduct

The University of Houston System including UHV seeks to provide an educational environment free from sex discrimination, including non-consensual sexual contact, sexual assault, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence and stalking. We encourage you to report any sexual misconduct to UHV Title IX Coordinators (361-570-4800; University West 117).  If you report any sexual misconduct to us, we are required to share that information with our Title IX Coordinators.  For more information, go to the Title IX website.

Special Accommodations

The University of Houston System complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, pertaining to the provision of reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids for students who have a disability. In accordance with Section 504 and ADA guidelines, the University of Houston-Victoria strives to provide reasonable academic adjustments / auxiliary aids to students who request and require them. If you believe that you have a disability requiring an academic adjustment/auxiliary aid, please contact the UHV Office of Disability Services; Cheryl Worley, Manager; University North, Suite 214 -H; Office – (361) 570-4287; Fax – (361) 580-5504; worleyc@uhv.edu.

Alumni Relations

The Alumni Relations department is responsible for building relationships between alumni, current students and friends of the university and preserving their connection to the institution. Alumni Relations offers a variety of value‐added opportunities including networking events such as various educational, cultural and sporting events. In addition, UHVconnect, a web‐based community, is a free tool for students and alumni. Additionally, there is a Facebook page and Twitter account to follow if you would like to stay connect with alumni events. For more information, please call (361) 570-4369 or visit the Alumni Relations website.

Graduate Psychology Faculty

Counseling Psychology Program Faculty

Brent A. Lang, Ph.D.
Director of the Counseling Psychology Program
Assistant Professor

Rick Harrington, Ph.D.
Professor

Catherine Perz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Forensic Psychology Program Faculty

Karen Parsonson, Ph.D.
Director of the Forensic Psychology Program
Assistant Professor

Rebecca Heron, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Specialist in School Psychology Program Faculty

Shannon Viola, Ph.D.
Director of the Specialist in School Psychology Program
Associate Chair, Graduate Social and Behavioral Sciences Programs
Associate Professor

Elise Hendricker, Ph.D. 
Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division
Associate Professor

Melanie Lemanski, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor