The Department of Educational Psychology consists of 12 full-time academic staff members, two control technical assistants, two departmental administrators, and a number of teaching/research assistants and student tutors. Part-time lecturers teach in the distance education programme and also offer expertise in the practical training components of the BEd (Honours) and MEd programmes in educational psychology. In addition, two postdoctoral fellows are currently associated with the Department.
The Department offers two education modules on the undergraduate level, focusing on child development, learning theory and the philosophy underlying educational psychology, inclusive education and supportive classrooms. In this manner the Department contributes to the training and professional development of undergraduate teachers-in-training. In addition, the Department offers an Advanced Certificate in Education: Special needs education, that is delivered as a distance education programme. This programme is however being phased out and no new students are currently enrolled for this programme.
On postgraduate level the Department of Educational Psychology offers an honours in educational psychology that is accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in two categories, being counselling and psychometrics. On a master’s level the Department offers the MEd (Educational Psychology), which is also accredited by the HPCSA, for the training of educational psychologists. The practical training in the said postgraduate programmes takes place in the Department where we have state-of-the-art facilities for practical training in educational psychology. In addition to the training facility situated in the Department, students are also trained in a range of sites, providing them with the opportunity to gain practical experience in diverse settings in South Africa.
Besides the MEd in Educational Psychology, students who select to specialise in learning support can apply for the MEd (Learning Support, Guidance and Counselling). The Department is also involved in the training of master's degree students in Early Childhood Intervention (M ECI), a web-based programme that brings together students from nine professional disciplines. Curriculum innovations include pre-packaged case study materials on CD-roms, web-based interactive discussions, peer assessments and portfolio-based, dynamic assessments. On a doctoral level, students from various academic disciplines apply for PhD studies in the field of either Educational Psychology, or Learning Support, Guidance and Counselling.
In terms of research, the Department of Educational Psychology has become a leading department in the national arena and beyond. Staff members (of whom six are rated by the National Research Foundation) are actively involved in funded research projects across an array of topics related to educational psychology. The underlying philosophy of a positive, asset-based approach to healthy development and functioning informs the various projects. To this end, staff and students are involved in research projects focusing on lifelong learning, development, well-being and resilience in interpersonal, family, school and community contexts, conducting research in assessment, innovative psychotherapeutic interventions, inclusion, HIV&AIDS and vulnerability, and trans-disciplinary educational psychology.
In addition to individual research projects, the Unit for Education Research in AIDS (ERA) resides in the Department and leads groundbreaking research in this area. Furthermore, several of the staff members of the Department are involved in research within the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being, conducting research across faculties with scholars in this field. Several other projects in the Department involve inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations, as described in the sections on research projects.
Besides the Department’s focus on excellence in teaching and learning, high impact research contributions and internationalisation, staff members are involved in various community engagement initiatives, which in turn informs both their research, and teaching and learning practices. More information about community initiatives is provided in the section on community engagement, partnerships and collaboration.