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School Psychology Celebrates 40th Anniversary

By Linda Abel
University Communication

APRIL 17, 2009 | The University of Wisconsin-River Falls School Psychology department is holding its 40th anniversary celebration on May 1 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Kinnickinnic Theater in the University Center.  

The celebration will host alumni from the school psychology program, past and present faculty members and students of the program, college administrators and representatives, special invited guests and the spouses, parents or significant others of each attendee. About 350-400 alumni are expected to attendthe event. After an award ceremony, food will be served and there will be time to socialize toward the end of the evening.

“The evening will consist of a brief history of the school psychology program, and the presentation of new Doug Smith Outstanding Alum Award and other outstanding student and professional awards,” said Todd Savage, an assistant professor of the school psychology program at UWRF, who is coordinating the program. “The award is given to an alumnus or alumna of the school psychology program who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to the field of school psychology and to the betterment of people.”

The Doug Smith Outstanding Alum Award will be presented for the first time this year to Sally Baas, Ed.S., an alumna of the program.

Baas, this year's recipient, graduated from the school psychology program in 1991. Prior to her work in school psychology, Baas was a teacher and a principal, then went back to school to receive her school psychology license.

Currently, Baas is a professor at Concordia University in St. Paul. She has created the Hmong Culture and Language Program, which works to preserve the culture through storytelling, gardening and art.  

“When I found out that I had received this award, I was reduced to tears and humbled that I had been selected,” says Baas. Baas was an advisee of Doug Smith, a UWRF school psychology professor who passed away in 2001. “He has made such an influence on my life and I want to honor his memory through my work and with this award,” she said.

The event will also celebrate the school psychology program's recent approval from the National Association of School Psychologists.  

“The staff and students are thrilled to have received program approval from NASP,” says Savage. “It indicates the that program meets the training standards established by NASP and the program graduates are prepared to meet the practice standards consistent with our field and as outlined by the state credentialing agencies in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Another purpose of the 40th anniversary celebration is to initiate an annual alumni event that, Savage hopes, “will in the future be planned by the recipients of the Doug Smith Outstanding Alum Award.”

Faye Perkins, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, is very proud of the program and all the faculty and students who are involved with it.

“Our graduates work with children, parents and other professionals in the school and non-school setting to help children be successful,” said Perkins. “They work with such concerns as autism, school violence, ADHD, screening and assessment and parent education. It is through their knowledge and hard work that all students receive the services that they need. Congratulations to all the faculty, staff and student who have contributed to the success of the program.”


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