Argosy University Blog

Spotlight on Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology – Argosy University, Dallas


The Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology degree program at Argosy University, Dallas offers a variety of experiences beyond just getting your education. We have an official mascot – Underdog. Why - because in our field we often support those who have very unique needs and are often seen as the expected loser in a legal issue. We wear the cape with pride.

This program teaches more than just the behavior expected of criminals. We teach why those behaviors may become criminal behaviors and we use a multidimensional approach to understanding forensic psychology. Here are a few of the important components of our program:

We offer a Field Placement to students who attend on campus in the blended format. We offer comprehensive Examination Preparation Workshops.

Our graduates work in a variety of fields including Juvenile and Adult Probation, local police departments, recovery agencies, court ordered treatment agencies, and the criminal justice field. Some of our graduates go on to doctoral programs.

Dr. Debbra Jennings is the Chair of the program and teaches several of the courses. She brings years of experience in evaluation and intervention, program development, and teaching. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychology-Law Division – Division 41 of the American Psychological Association, the Dallas Forensic Group, and the National Association of School Psychologists.

Come see what we are all about. Visit a class to experience the energy. Dr. Jennings can be reached through her email at

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Argosy University, 5001 Lyndon B. Johnson Freeway, Heritage Square, Dallas, TX 75244 © 2017 Argosy University. All rights reserved. Our email address is
See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Help Your Pet Shed Unhealthy Weight


Are you killing your pet with kindness? We’re not talking about the compassion that motivates us to vaccinate our pets, or keep them warm in cold weather. Kindness that can be harmful to pets comes in the form of an overabundance of food and treats. The all too common result is a pet that becomes overweight or even obese.

A 2014 survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found 52.7 percent of dogs and 57.9 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. This translates to nearly 80 million dogs and cats in America with a weight problem. Dr. George Banta, Chair of the Veterinary Technology department at Brown Mackie College — Akron and Dr. Mary Jo Wagner, Attending Veterinarian at Argosy University, Twin Cities, offer useful information for pet owners.

How can you tell if your pet is overweight? “It’s not the number of pounds, it’s how the animal carries the weight,” says Dr. Banta. “The number on the Body Condition Score is more important than pounds.” The Body Condition Score offers a way to assess the condition of an animal, usually on a scale from one to five, taking into account height, weight, and relative proportions of muscle and fat.

With a little knowledge, you can use sight and touch to figure your pet’s general condition. “When looking down on a dog or cat from above,” says Dr. Banta, “the body should slim to a discernible waist. An animal is too thin if you can see the spine or ribs; however, you should be able to feel them beneath the fur.” An animal of ideal weight will also display a pelvic tuck when viewed from the side.

“Just like humans, when animals overeat, they face increased risk for health problems like diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and cancer,” continues Dr. Banta. In fact, these risks also include a shortened life expectancy.

Many owners feed pets according to the manufacturer’s suggested amounts; however, this instruction may not be right for your pet. “These guidelines are meant to cover all animals of a certain weight range,” says Dr. Wagner. “An owner must consider the age and activity level of each pet. The more active they are, the more calories they will burn in a day.”

Metabolism rates vary in animals the same way they do in people. Metabolism is the body process in which food is broken down for energy; another factor that affects the amount of food a pet needs. Dr. Wagner advises owners to keep an eye on body condition to judge whether a pet is eating properly. “If your pet shows signs of being overweight, simply cut back the amount of food given at each meal. Then weigh the pet in two or three weeks to see if it has made a difference,” she says.

Choosing the right food for your pet is important as well. Different brands of pet food contain varying amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and calories. “As a general rule, young, active dogs need high protein food,” says Dr. Wagner. “Older dogs need higher fiber to keep the gastrointestinal (GI) tract moving.” Ingredients listed on the package appear in descending order of volume; the first item on the list is most abundant in the food.

Most of us love to give treats; however, many of us don’t realize how many we offer each day. “A 40-pound dog is one quarter the size of a 160-pound person,” Dr. Wagner says. “They have smaller stomachs. Look at calories in everything your pet eats. After that, it’s simple math.”

“Table scraps are a definite no. Zip, zilch, nada,” says Dr. Banta. “They are not good for two reasons. First, foods like chocolate, caffeine, grapes and raisins can be toxic to dogs. Second, the high fat content associated with table scraps, especially holiday trimmings, can lead to the onset of acute pancreatitis, which can be fatal.”

He recommends offering a kibble of food or a carrot instead of a cookie. If you must give cookies, try breaking them in half. “Pets do enjoy treats as a reward; however, attention from you is also a reward. It’s important to praise animals. In some ways, spending time with them is better than a treat,” Dr. Wagner says.

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My First Time Presenting at a Conference


By Douglas Mays
Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology, 2014 Graduate
Argosy University, Online Programs

In January of 2014, I was contacted and told I had been nominated to present at the 2014 Spring Argosy University, Online Programs Virtual Conference. My first reaction was one of flattery, which was quickly followed by that old familiar anxiety. I remember attending Residency I with fellow doctorate student Jim Seward and interacting with students in Residency II. They seemed so far ahead of us. Some could talk about their dissertation in great detail. Most espoused their relief at having successfully completed their comprehensive examination. Jim and I looked at one another and voiced in unison that we obviously were not worthy.

To present or not to present?

During one particular workshop, we were introduced to the concept of imposter anxiety, which resonated considerably with both of us. Surely it would soon be revealed that we were sorely lacking in the ability, knowledge, and intellect to complete this program.

As I briefly contemplated whether or not to accept this nomination, I was reminded of something the College of Behavioral Sciences Assistant Dean, Dr. Teresa Collin-Jones, explained during Residency regarding dissertations. She reminded all of us that once we completed our study, our committee would be our advocates and we would be the expert in our particular areas of study. I took a deep breath and agreed to present at the virtual conference.

Thankfully, I had an opportunity to gain some exposure to the conference platform before the virtual conference, and Dr. Aragon and others were incredibly helpful. On the day of the conference, I listened with patience and apprehension for my turn to present. As the various presenters preceded me, I realized I was in the company of some talented colleagues. I also realized I had something of benefit to contribute.

An opportunity to share knowledge with others

When I was introduced, I realized this was an opportunity to share with others the story not only of my research, but also of what I believed to be an important piece of the larger body of research with respect to by topic. It is always hard to self-assess your own presentation. In the end, I felt it was of interest to the attendees. I hope it precipitated some thought regarding my topic related to empathy amongst the several hundred attendees. For myself, it was a very new and valuable professional experience. It seemed a bit of a rite of passage between being a student and becoming a doctor.

Argosy provides so many opportunities. This possibility of presenting research to colleagues was among the experiences I value most. For those out there who are extended such an opportunity, I encourage you to take it. It will help you further distill your own understanding of your area of expertise. For those attending virtual conferences, the experience will provide insights which may have not been as easily obtained. In the end, the purpose of research is to add to the existing body of knowledge. When called upon, presenting research is as much of a responsibility as it is an honor. I hope that those who have this opportunity will embrace it. It was, for me, one of the most fulfilling moments of my professional life to date.

Final thoughts

Presenting at the 2014 Spring Psychology Virtual Conference cemented my goal of developing an article of my research for submission to a professional journal. It seems the natural next step with respect to sharing my research with the broader professional community.

I suspect without my experience during the conference, my enthusiasm likely would have remained somewhat diminished. I suspect other doctoral students will find the support and encouragement of their dissertation committees and will also seed such a goal in their minds. If you are given the opportunity to present, I believe your zeal for pursuing publication will likely increase. And so, I again encourage those offered to seize the opportunity.

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  • Date


  • 2018

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