TAU Establishes New School of Psychological Sciences Thursday, March 1, 2012
Renowned department with an interdisciplinary focus achieves school status
Since it was established 40 years ago with three faculty members and 30 students, Tel Aviv University's psychology department has grown to become the largest in Israel, regularly ranking in the top 100 of psychology departments worldwide. Now, in recognition of the department's scientific contribution, methodological merit, and international standing, the department formally became the School of Psychological Sciences last December.
A new building for the School will house some of TAU's most influential researchers and degree programs, allowing it to grow in new and important directions, says Prof. Yair Bar-Haim, the head of the School. "Psychology is a pivotal area of research and education on this campus," he says. "With a greater infrastructure, we can develop further, deepening our cross-disciplinary links with brain studies across the sciences."
The planned facilities will add new equipment and state-of-the-art laboratories, permit the expansion of clinic offerings to the community, increase teaching rooms, and provide space for top researchers and students from Israel and abroad.
A major player in interdisciplinary research
Prof. Yair Bar-Haim
At its core, psychology is an interdisciplinary science that draws from neurology, biology, behavioral, and even computer sciences. The field continues to mature, comprising the spectrum from pure science to practical application, says Prof. Bar-Haim.
The establishment of the School of Psychological Sciences and the recent opening of the Sagol School of Neuroscience underscore TAU's dedication to all aspects of brain research. The School of Psychological Sciences is set to play a significant role in the interdisciplinary neuroscience school, which brings together 70 groups of researchers from seven faculties.
A new Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology–Biology, with a focus in neuroscience, will be a collaborative effort between the two entities. It will also be the largest bachelor's program in the field of brain research at TAU. The program, which has one of the highest admission standards on campus, accepted 60 students for the inaugural 2011/2012 academic year.
"The new School for Psychological Sciences will play a major role in the new Sagol School of Neurosciences," says Prof. Uri Ashery, the Head of the recently inducted Sagol School of Neurosciences. "The integration of the interdisciplinary research and the joint B.Sc. program in Psychology–Biology will help to define the nature of neuroscience at Tel Aviv University and in our understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders."
Core of excellence
With its new status, the school will continue to attract some of the best minds in psychology, advancing its reputation for excellence in research and education. Leading the first-class psychological education available at TAU, students at all degree levels are able to gain clinical experience through practicum classes at up to 60 mental health organizations in the Tel Aviv area. This training program prepares graduates for roles as mental health professionals as well as legislators and policy makers.
Recently, TAU in collaboration with the Weisman Institute and Bar-Ilan University was named an I-CORE (Israeli Centers of Research Excellence) in Advanced Approaches in Cognitive Science. I-CORE, a new initiative by the Israeli government, is designed to support the country's leading research institutions. Six of the nine researchers named as TAU principle investigators of this I-CORE category are from the School of Psychological Sciences, including Dr. Roy Mukamel, Profs. Thalma Handler, Galit Yovel, Marius Usher, Nira Liberman, and Yair Bar-Haim.