In This Issue

University of Missouri SASP chapter spotlight

Leadership roles restructured to include a faculty advisor, EdS co-chair, PhD co-chair, historian, and six committee representatives

By Sarah J. Beyers

In the summer of 2009, the University of Missouri (MU) School Psychology faculty and students decided to charter a Student Affiliates of School Psychology (SASP) chapter. For the past three years, the MU SASP chapter has grown into a recognized student organization on campus and has been working to increase leadership skills of School Psychology graduate students. In its first year of operation, the MU chapter became a MU student organization and provided the initial structure of the chapter today. This groundbreaking year laid the foundation for future executive boards with evolution in mind. Over the last two years, the MU chapter restructured it committees to best meet the needs of our students. What makes the MU chapter unique is our organization of leadership roles. The executive board is composed of a faculty advisor, an EdS co-chair, a PhD co-chair, an historian, and six representatives for the following committees: program relations, professional development, recruitment, public relations, and the first year cohort.

Co-Chairs

The two overarching co-chair positions each represent our two degree tracks (PhD and EdS) and oversee our five committee chairs, the first year representative, and the historian. The co-chairs also serve as the liaisons between students and the faculty by attending biweekly faculty meetings. The EdS chair is the school psychology representative on the department’s student organization: Graduate Student Network. Similarly, the PhD chair is the student representative for the APA.

Furthermore, the co-chairs also serve as official organization leaders with our campus student organizations department. For two years in a row, the MU chapter has received travel grants to assist students to travel to national conferences for professional development and networking opportunities. Recently the co-chairs have also secured general funding to provide additional intervention and professional materials for student use in practicum placements.

Professional Development

The MU chapter professional development committee has provided over fifteen professional development seminars to our graduate students on a range of topics, from working with traumatized children to obtaining an internship. The professional development chair also serves as our student representative to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and works to provide additional support at the annual NASP conference.

Program Relations

The program relations committee provides social events and pairs first years with a mentoring tree. The mentoring tree links students throughout all years of the program with similar advisors or research interests together for additional mentoring and support. In addition, the program relations chair also schedules academic support groups, which enable students to come together to discuss program requirements and the most efficient way to navigate our program. This past year the MU chapter held its first ever school psychology football tailgate to encourage alumni participation in the chapter and foster informal networking within the program.

Recruitment

The recruitment committee assists faculty with organizing and executing our fall informational preview and our program interview day. In addition, the chair also designs and sends promotional flyers about our program to psychology, education, and human development undergraduate programs throughout Missouri and neighboring states.

Public Relations

The program relations committee organizes School Psychology Awareness Week and serves as our student representative to the Missouri Association of School Psychologists. The PR committee also helps the MU chapter to be involved in community projects. For example, this past holiday season our SASP chapter collected over $250 in supplies for a local early childhood center for disadvantaged students and families.

First Year Representative

Since elections are held in the spring, the MU chapter has made an effort to include the first year students by having them nominate a representative in the fall of their first semester. This allows them to learn more about the SASP executive board and share any concerns they may have while navigating the program.

Historian

As the chapter grew, a need arose for a central secretarial role and a designated person to promote the chapter on campus. The historian position was developed to fill this need. The historian’s responsibilities include taking minutes at meetings, posting minutes to our blackboard site, and compiling and disseminating SASP NEWS, the chapter’s monthly newsletter, which highlights student happenings in the program. As the chapter grows, this position will also be responsible for developing and maintaining the MU SASP Facebook page to reach out to more students and alumni.

Faculty Advisor

The faculty advisor oversees meetings and provides faculty updates to students. The faculty advisor acts as a mentor to the chapter and has provided unconditional support and guidance in the development of the executive board.

Future Directions

In three short years, the MU SASP chapter has made tremendous progress in defining a student organization committed to leadership, professional development, and camaraderie. However, there is still a determination for more. In the future, the chapter envisions establishing a stronger connection with MU school psychology program alumni. While we celebrate our accomplishments, we are forever looking ahead for future MU school psychology students.

About the Author

Sarah Beyers is a fourth year doctoral candidate in the school psychology program at the University of Missouri. She has been involved with the University of Missouri SASP chapter since its inception in 2009.