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APSU names Dr. Valerie Leake as director for the Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology program

Dr. Valerie Leake

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Dr. Valerie Leake, secretary on the Executive Board of the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs, was recently named professor and director for Austin Peay State University’s Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Counseling Psychology program. She will begin her new role at APSU on Aug. 2.

“We are excited to bring such an accomplished person to our team and to lead this new program,” Dr. Nicole Knickmeyer, chair of the APSU Department of Psychological Science and Counseling, said.

Last fall, Austin Peay began offering the Psy.D. program – the second doctoral degree program in the University’s history – with a concentration in serving military personnel, veterans and their families. Through that program, the Department of Psychological Science and Counseling began developing a public clinic in the former Wesley Foundation Building on College Street to provide vital counseling services to the area’s military and civilian communities.

Leake will take over leading the program from Knickmeyer who spent the last academic year as the new doctoral program’s interim director. Leake earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kentucky, and she brings to APSU an extensive background in program development and leadership. She previously served as a founding faculty member and later the director of the groundbreaking Psy.D. in Counseling Psychology program at Radford University in Virginia. Radford’s program, which has an emphasis on serving rural populations, was a model for the new program at APSU.

Leake contributed greatly to the success of Radford’s program, helping it earn its initial American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation in 2012, the earliest it could be attained. In the role of director, she led the program to a seven-year reaccreditation designation, the longest period for which accreditation was granted by the APA in 2016.

While at Radford, Leake was highly successful in securing external funding to support innovative projects to advance integrated medical healthcare in rural communities. Among her numerous awarded grants were two U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants, totaling nearly $1.8 million. Leake also has an impressive record of scholarly publications and presentations in the areas of rural mental healthcare, rural veteran mental health, military trauma and career decision making and mental health among student veterans.

In addition to her academic appointments and related accomplishments, Leake has considerable clinical experience as a licensed psychologist, including as a psychologist and PTSD Clinical Team supervisor at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Her clinical and research background related to military trauma, veterans’ issues and rural mental health are well-aligned with the new Psy.D. program’s concentration in “serving military personnel, veterans and their families,” as well as with the overall mission of the program and of APSU.

In addition to serving as Secretary on the Executive Board of the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP), Leake is a commissioner representing CCPTP on APA’s Commission on Accreditation. She maintains professional affiliations with the American Psychological Association (APA), including the divisions of Counseling Psychology and Military Psychology, and The International Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress.

For information on the Psy.D. program, visit https://www.apsu.edu/psychology/psyd/index.php.

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