Michael D. Smith, Psy.D.
Department Chair, Associate Professor | Psychology
I’m very proud to say I’ve been a licensed clinical psychologist for more than twenty years and I still set aside several hours a week to work with children, adolescents and their families. There’s great satisfaction in helping people to live life a little easier and more successfully.
But I believe it’s the combination of my clinical background and teaching that really fulfills me. Those two careers enable me to share real-world experience in my classroom every day.
I always knew I wanted to be a psychologist. But a practicum at a school for kids with severe emotional problems made up my mind. That hands-on experience showed me exactly how I could make a difference, and inspired much of what I do today at Susquehanna.
It’s exciting to be able to offer undergraduates practical opportunities to apply their classroom learning. This is something we do especially well at Susquehanna, and something that is often lacking at other colleges and universities. Susquehanna psychology students conduct their own research, do practicum placements in real-life work settings, and have summer internships.
The students here expect to interact with the faculty. They look to us as mentors who can guide them in terms of career development. When I can help students land a psychology-focused service-learning project, internship, or practicum, I know it will really help them stand out in the job market or on their graduate school application.
A lot of people think about psychology and they envision someone like Dr. Phil. That’s just not so. Psychology is a science. Even though it may touch on the social and cultural aspects of our world, it is research-based. At Susquehanna, we think about human behavior in a data-driven way. That’s the philosophy we instill in our students, and that’s the reason our graduates are able to step into a variety of jobs and succeed.
We guide students so they become critical thinkers and problem solvers. We also emphasize writing and communication skills. These are skills that will serve students well no matter what career they pursue.
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