Today I write to you from sunny Wollongong, where I am attending the April HODSPA (Heads of Departments and Schools of Psychology Association) meeting where all the heads of psychology from around Australia meet to discuss critical issues for the discipline and profession of psychology.
It has been great to catch up with colleagues from around Australia and to share our combined concerns and interests for our schools and departments. Some of the important areas of discussion has been around the new APAC requirements. For those of you who are not familiar with the process, we teach psychology to a very strict standard with rigid compliance requirements, and our compliance with these standards gets assessed every 5 years. For the first time in a long time, the compliance requirements will change to allow us to be more flexible and creative. This change will come into place next year and affect us in our next accreditation round.
On the back of the new accreditation requirements, there was also much discussion around the indigenisation of the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum. Mem Mahmut gave a talk about his work around collecting ideas of ‘best practice’ from around the world to advise us on how to do this in an effective, authentic and sensitive way. Mem has been a visitor to our school in the past, and I caught up with him over lunch and reinforced our support and commitment to his work. I am looking forward to having him visit again later this year.
The afternoon discussions revolved around how we can provide opportunities to make psychology students more work-ready. What are the skills that psychology students need after 3 and 4 years of study to enter the workforce, given that many students don’t go on to clinical professions? What are the work-ready skills that our PD students need given that less than 1% of STEM PhD graduates go on to full-time academic careers? How can we make our students more future-proof, confident and employable as they move into the workforce? This is an exciting time to study Psychology as the discipline and profession changes and reinvents itself to be more adaptable, creative and responsive to the needs of the individual and society. These are discussions that we will continue in our school and I value your input and feedback.