The program philosophy is guided by the "scholar-practitioner" training model. According to this model, a psychologist is a scholar, a consumer of research, and a highly trained professional prepared to apply extensive content knowledge and sophisticated techniques to solve clients' problems. Furthermore, the University of Arizona conceptualizes the scholar-practitioner as one who possesses considerable research competence and data analytic ability. This permits him or her to learn and skillfully apply existing knowledge to problems in accordance with work setting requirements and professional interests.
The notion of the psychologist as a scholar-practitioner is consistent with the College of Education conceptual framework, which views the professional educator as a reflective decision maker. Critically, the program’s philosophy requires school psychologists to apply problem-solving skills fairly and equitably within a multicultural and diverse society. By necessity, a psychologist practicing in this manner is capable of applying many psychological principles, theories, and research findings, as well as evidence-based assessment and intervention procedures. These are often applied in school settings but might be applied elsewhere when school-related social, emotional, and learning problems are present. In addition, the program prepares school psychologists to engage in lifelong learning and to advance the profession by conducting research, publishing or presenting scholarly papers at professional association meetings, and leading national, state, and local school psychology organizations.