Dr. William Hathaway, dean of the School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC), will continue his work representing Christian psychologists while building relationships with workers in the field from all walks of life. He’s served for three years on a non-renewable seat for the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation and has been nominated and elected to serve for another three years on a renewable seat.
“It’s a great educational experience and a chance to execute leadership in the field,” said Hathaway. “I’m able to give back to Regent’s program with the knowledge I’m picking up and ensure Christian programs are fairly reviewed.”
Only seven explicitly Christian universities are APA accredited. Hathaway has built trusting relationships with others in the organization while working with them to establish new standards for accreditation. He says the accreditation process is fair and thorough, and he’s seen people with differing personal views make a common decision based on standards.
“If Christians are part of a decision making body, we can ensure the terrain is more compatible with the Christian way of life,” said Hathaway. “We should be proactive not reactive. There are benefits of building good relationships.”
Hathaway has been able to secure internships and other opportunities for SPC students through the relationships he’s built with other board members. The accreditation board meets in Washington, D.C. for four or five days, several times per year, to make accreditation decisions and draft policy. Hathaway says making fair decisions requires thorough reading of thousands of pages of material throughout the year, but the time and energy spent reviewing other programs is worth the benefit of shaping the field of psychology and being connected with professionals.
“Psychology education requires special accreditation” said Hathaway. “It’s very important that we professionals get involved in these sorts of things at this level. It’s critical to our operations. It’s how we stay part of a field and have credibility.”
Hathaway has been with Regent University for 20 years. He brings 10 years of clinical psychology experience and holds degrees from both Christian and secular institutions. In addition to serving on the APA accreditation board, he’s also a chair of the APA’s training committee and will be helping train other institutions to prepare for accreditation.