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New TAMIU Graduate Psychology Option Incorporates Service-Learning Posted: 10/13/16

New TAMIU Graduate Psychology Option Incorporates Service-Learning


Dr. Cieslicka
Dr. Anna B. Cieślicka  

An innovative Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) alternative graduate program provides students an opportunity to serve the community and deepen their degree experience.

The Master of Science in Psychology, non-thesis track, replaces the traditional thesis with an internship service option with approved community partners. Students get to link their academic knowledge to a practical experience.

College of Arts and Sciences’ department of communication and psychology associate professor Dr. Anna B. Cieślicka said the MS Psychology, non-thesis track program was created in response to student requests.

“This change was motivated by student needs. Specifically, by creating a non-thesis track, we appeal to a wider range of candidates interested in the Program, but who might not necessarily be research-oriented, or interested in pursuing a thesis project. Instead, students are guided to integrate a service-learning experience with academic knowledge. They engage in activities addressing community needs -- defined through collaboration between community partners, students, and faculty. In short, the students’ learning is based on the principle of learning through reflecting,” Dr. Cieślicka explained.

The service-learning activities are coordinated through the University’s Service-Learning Center (SLC), directed by Dr. Marcela Uribe.

“These activities provide a basis for critical reflection that link students’ community service experience to their knowledge of the discipline of psychology, and promote their academic, civic, and personal growth. Internship students meet with faculty and SLC staff to discuss service experiences and observations. They maintain a weekly reflection journal to identify their feelings and thoughts about the experience, process their observations, and derive broader discipline-related insights,” Cieślicka added.

“Finally, post-service reflection promotes students’ appreciation of their broadened understanding of community issues through their service-learning experience. It also helps them assess the degree to which they’ve accomplished learning and serving goals and identify future implications,” she noted.

The Service-Learning Center has identified a full spectrum of community partners that also benefit from the student service provision, said SLC director Dr. Uribe.

“For many partners, the students provide much needed help that can make a critical difference in staff and resource allocations, allowing partners to explore or engage in expanded interests particular to each partner.  Partners and graduate students…we all benefit,” explained Dr. Uribe.

For additional information about the non-thesis alternative MS in Psychology, contact Dr. Cieślicka, director, MS in Psychology program, at anna.cieś

Information is also available online at

For information about TAMIU Service-Learning, contact Dr. Uribe at

Registration is underway for Spring 2017.  Classes begin Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017.