Various undergraduate courses incorporate service learning as part of their course requirements. To fulfill the service learning component, students spend a set number of hours working at a community site related to the course material. Service learning provides students with the unique opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning. Students are able to apply the information they have learned in the classroom, develop skills related to specific employment options, and obtain exposure to the daily functions of particular agencies. In addition, students provide valuable volunteer assistance to agencies that may be either understaffed and/or underfunded.
Students wishing to extend their on-site training beyond service learning can enroll in our Undergraduate Practicum (Psych 445). This course allows students to gain supervised experience at one of more than 30 local and county agencies. Students enrolled in Psych 445 meet every other week in a classroom setting, but the majority of their time (i.e., 15 to 135 hours/semester) is spent working on site at an agency or business under the direction of a site supervisor. Site arrangements are typically made with agencies in Lewiston, Clarkston, Pullman, Moscow, and the greater Palouse region. Occasionally, arrangements are made with agencies located in Spokane and other areas of Washington.
Students gain personal, hands-on training in a field related to psychology while also providing a service to the community. They provide services to the aging and elderly; individuals diagnosed with mental illness; children of all ages and abilities in various educational, residential, and community service settings; victims of sexual assault, abuse, and domestic violence; jail inmates and juvenile offenders; and individuals with drug and alcohol addictions. Students provide case management and social work services, guardian services, support and advocacy, paraprofessional counseling services, tutoring and education, community outreach, hospice care, child care, recreational services, and program coordination. The Palouse and the state of Washington benefit greatly from our students' desire to learn and give back to the community.
Students who complete this course are often better prepared to progress to graduate school or enter the workforce immediately following graduation. Some students are offered positions at the sites where they completed their practicum appointment.