Feature

School psychology is a much more complex field than most people realize. It encompasses many diverse topics — assessment, crisis intervention, school climate and the complexities of child development, to name a few — and touches on numerous disciplines, including child psychology, developmental psychology, childhood education and cognitive science.

As incoming editor of School Psychology Quarterly, Shane Jimerson, PhD, wants submissions to reflect that range.

“There is tremendous opportunity across the various areas of psychology and education to advance scholarship in and inform the practice of school psychology,” he says. “I’d like to encourage that breadth.”

For Jimerson, that means not just focusing on the topics du jour — bullying and diversity, for example — but on any and all areas salient to the social, emotional, behavioral and academic development, competence and well-being of school children.

Jimerson himself has broad training in these issues. The University of California, Santa Barbara, professor completed doctoral studies in both school psychology and child development, and he considers himself an applied developmental psychologist — a scientist interested in the complex interplay of the different environments children inhabit over time and how early influences affect their later development. His own research, for instance, has examined the developmental trajectories of students over time, to better understand how early influences at home and school may affect their later personal adjustment and academic outcomes. “It’s important that researchers consider how their work applies in practice,” says Jimerson. “I’d like to see authors discuss the implications of their scholarship for realworld school settings.”

Jimerson also encourages international submissions and readership. International collaborations can advance the field’s understanding of how different cultures influence children’s development in school environments, and help psychologists in the United States better appreciate challenges faced by students from particular cultural groups, he notes.

Also important for the mix are articles discussing the policy implications of research for school practice, says Jimerson. And he wants more submissions from early career psychologists — a group he values for their energy, enthusiasm and drive.

“Early-career scholars typically bring the state of the science with them — cutting-edge methodology and an understanding of the contemporary literature in specific areas,” he says. “They have a tremendous amount to contribute.”


Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N.Y.