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APA Internship - Center and University Policies

Counseling Center Administrative Policies and Procedures

Intern Contracts

Interns are employed as professional staff on a 12 month contract. The Counseling Center is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm with a half hour reserved for lunch.   Interns are expected to be in the building during those times unless their duties take them elsewhere.  Staff, including interns, work a 40 hour work week, though many interns find they need to work 42-44 hours a week in order to complete the minimum hours needed for internship given the number of vacation hours they receive and in order to fulfill record keeping responsibilities.   Interns are required for some evenings and weekends in order to participate in prevention and community outreach activities. Interns, like other staff, must be available on-call (by telephone) a few nights a month for our emergency on-call service.

Information about the benefits received by interns can be found here.

Vacation and Sick Days

Interns accrue vacation time on a monthly basis totaling one month (20 days) of vacation in addition to holidays.  While vacation may be taken at any time during the year, interns are advised to reflect on their plans for the year following internship and save vacation days accordingly.  Permission for time off is obtained by coordinating with the Director and Training Director.

Interns are entitled to the same sick-day benefits as regular professional employees. Click here for more information about sick day benefits.

Whenever an intern plans to be away from the office, s/he must notify the front desk staff of his/her whereabouts and the reasons for her/his absence.

Professional Development

Interns are encouraged to participate in professional societies and associations and to attend workshops and professional meetings. Professional development time may be granted by the Director if the activity is seen as a benefit to the development of the Counseling Center. Otherwise, accrued vacation time must be used for these activities and must be approved by both the Training Director and Director of the Center.   The Center pays for Interns to attend the Training Colloquium sponsored by the three APA doctoral-level training programs in Maine held each September and also typically attend other trainings held for all staff at the Center.

Dissertation Time

The Counseling Center training staff will do all we can to support and encourage interns’ dissertation work. However, such work must not interfere with the intern’s responsibilities and commitment to the internship. Interns are expected to remain in residence during the internship and balance their schedules so excessive time is not spent on the dissertation or other activities at the expense of clinical activities. Please note that dissertation time cannot be guaranteed during the academic year when we are clinically busy.   There is often a significant amount of time for such activities during semester breaks and the summer.  Any released time in support of dissertation requirements must be cleared with both the Training Director and the Director of the Center.

Interns wishing to conduct research on campus will be required to bring their work before the Institutional Review Board of the University of Maine.

 

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE COUNSELING CENTER
INTERN PERFORMANCE EVALUATION PROCESS AND PROCEDURES

 Psychological Interns are considered employees of the University of Maine who provide professional services to the students and staff of the University. Psychological Interns are also students at their home school; however, as employees of the University of Maine they are subject to the same employment policies and procedures of other members of the University of Maine Professional Staff Association bargaining unit.  Interns receive one-year, fixed-length term appointments.  In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, they serve a probationary period of one year.

EVALUATION  PROCESS

 A detailed description of the regular Intern Evaluation Process can be found on the Intern Evaluation Process document.  This process actually is initiated prior to the start of internship when the “Intern Self-Evaluation and Internship Goal” form is returned to the Training Director in the summer, signed by both the Intern and his/her home school adviser.  In mid-September, this form is reviewed by interns supervisors and distributed to senior staff.  Formal evaluations occur in the Fall and Spring semester to review goals, progress and intern job performance.  At these times, any problems or concerns are identified and when appropriate, remediation procedures are developed.  In addition to usual University staff employment policies, interns are expected to fulfill certain Minimum Performance Standards to successfully complete the internship (see Minimum Performance Standards form).  Ratings on the Minimum Performance Standards are included in written evaluations at the end of each semester and at the conclusion of the internship.  At least two written summaries of intern performance, including Minimum Performance Ratings, are mailed to the home University in January and at the conclusion of the internships.  A copy of each evaluation is provided to the intern and placed in his/her official personnel file.

A primary aim of our pre-doctoral internship is to maximize an intern’s personal and professional growth and development. Psychological Interns receive much more training and evaluation than is common for other professional employees.

As an extension of the intern graduate training program, we have a responsibility to:

  1.  Provide appropriate clinical opportunities.
  2. Assess the progress of each intern in the performance of their professional activities.
  3. Provide feedback and training.
  4. Report back to the home institution our impressions and evaluations.

Toward this end we recognize the need to establish procedures and provide guidance to help facilitate personal and professional growth during the internship year in a timely and regular fashion.  The development of our intern evaluation forms, formal evaluation meetings, and Minimum Performance Standards are attempts to meet these responsibilities.  We are committed to help each intern develop and improve these skills as fully as is possible.  The job performance criteria and process for reviewing and evaluating an Intern’s performance within the Counseling Center is consistent with Article 13, Evaluation, of the collective bargaining agreement. In addition to the criteria identified as part of the University of Maine System’s Professional Employee Performance Evaluation Form, the following criteria also apply to individuals appointed as Psychological Interns:

  1. The ability to acquire minimum professional skills in order to reach an acceptable minimum level of competency.
  2. The ability or willingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one’s repertoire of professional behavior.
  3. The ability to manage personal stress so that it does not interfere with professional functioning.

Intern Performance Concerns

In most situations, concerns involving an intern’s work performance will be addressed and resolved through the regular evaluation process (see Intern Evaluation Process) and communication with the involved supervisor, the Training Director and/or Director, or through review by the Training Committee.  The basic steps that are to be followed include:

  1.  The supervisor or a staff member of the center will identify and appropriately document the job performance related concerns.  Some concerns may be addressed and resolved through informal discussion with the supervisor, relevant staff members, and/or the Training Director.
  2. Provide the intern an opportunity to respond to the concerns or provide additional information to the supervisor;
  3. The supervisor, in consultation with appropriate administrators, will work to determine the appropriate response.  The response could range from informal discussions to clarify and confirm expectations and performance standards to formal disciplinary action. In addressing performance concerns, The University of Maine will follow a course of progressive and/or corrective discipline;
  4. If an issue is referred to the Training Committee, the Committee (without its intern representative present) will evaluate the concern and offer its recommendation.  If any disagreement is expressed over the recommended course of action, a joint meeting including the intern in question, the Training Director, and the Director of the Counseling Center will examine the issue.  The outcome of this meeting will be a reaffirmation or revision of the previous recommendation.
  5. Communicate the decision with the intern and his/her home institution;

Problematic Behavior

We recognize that developmental stresses are inherent both in the transition from graduate school to internship, as well as during the course of internship.  Thus, difficulties during an internship are not unexpected, and in most cases will be resolved through the process outlined above.  However on rare occasions, despite the assistance and supervision provided, an intern may not be able to meet Minimum Performance Standards or fulfill the criteria listed above. Problematic behavior may be defined by one or more of the following:

  1. The intern does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem(s) when it is identified.
  2. The problem is not merely a reflection of a skill deficit which can be rectified in the short term by additional academic or didactic training.
  3. The quality of the services delivered by the intern is sufficiently negatively affected
  4. The problem is not restricted to one area of professional functioning.
  5. A disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required.
  6. The intern’s job related behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts, and/or time.
  7. The intern’s behavior has a significant negative impact on the training experiences of other interns, the trainees or the staff of the center.

If it is determined that an intern’s job performance does not meet the criteria and standards identified above, and/or it is determined that the interns behavior has been identified as problematic, options for remediation or sanction will be considered.  Responses to problematic behavior may include: verbal warning, a letter of counseling sent to the intern and placed in the personnel file; a written warning; work schedule modification; suspension of direct service activities; administrative leave; or dismissal from employment and the internship. While in most cases the procedures listed below will be followed, in cases of extremely problematic behavior that carries real or strong potential for significant distress or harm to students, staff, or colleagues, movement toward dismissal may proceed directly, following the policies and procedures covered by the current labor contract for professional employees of the University of Maine.  If the problematic behaviors do not rise to the level that requires immediate consideration of formal personnel action, the following procedures will be followed.

  1.  The job performance weaknesses will be identified in writing and specific recommendations will be made.
  2.  The intern’s progress in rectifying the issues will be closely monitored by supervisors, the Training Director, and the Training Committee.
  3.  The progress made in rectifying the identified issues will be reviewed within the time limits identified in the remediation statement.  If the issues have been rectified or sufficient progress is being made to the satisfaction of the Training Committee or staff, as a whole, no further formal action will be taken.
  4.  If the Training Committee or staff, as a whole, determines that there has not been sufficient improvement in the intern’s job related behavior or performance, the intern may be subject to formal disciplinary action.  Following the imposition of discipline, an intern’s job performance will be closely monitored by the Training Committee/staff with particular attention to the identified concerns.  Any disciplinary action taken will be communicated to the Intern following the due process steps identified earlier.  Such action will also be conveyed in writing to the Intern and the home school.
  5.  The Training Committee or professional Counseling Center staff, as a whole, may also recommend in writing any of the following procedures:
    • Continue a documented plan to achieve improved job performance.
    • Additional disciplinary action.
    • Modifying the Intern’s work expectations so that he/she is not permitted to continue engaging in certain professional activities until there is demonstrated evidence that the job related behavior in question has improved.
    • Advise the Director of the Counseling Center that the intern does not appear likely to successfully complete the internship if the job related behavior in question does not improve.
    • Recommend to the Director of the Counseling Center that the intern’s employment be terminated.
  6. If the intern wishes to challenge the plan for achieving improved job performance, he/she may, within five working days of the receipt of the formal notice of the plan, provide clear reasons to the Training Committee why he/she believes the action is unwarranted, and ask for a review.
  7. A review panel will be created consisting of the Training Director, one staff member selected by the Training Director, and one staff member selected by the intern.  A hearing will be conducted in which the challenge is heard and evidence is presented.  Within ten working days of the review, the panel shall communicate their recommendations to the Director of the Counseling Center.
  8. Within five working days of the receipt of the recommendations, the Director of the Counseling Center will accept or reject the review panel’s recommendations and/or provide alternative recommendations.  The Director of the Counseling Center will make the final decision regarding the action relative to the job performance improvement plans to be taken.
  9. An Intern may also exercise his/her rights to file a grievance under Article 15 of the collective bargaining agreement.  The Intern may also have rights to pursue claims or complaints under University policy or through outside agencies.
  10. Once a final decision is made, the intern, the home university and other appropriate parties will be informed in writing of the action taken.

INTERN CONCERNS

  1. Concerns or problems expressed by any intern about any aspect of his/her internship experience will first be addressed through informal discussion with relevant staff.
  2.  If the problem or concern cannot be resolved through informal discussion, it may be brought to the attention of the Training Committee for its study and recommendations.
  3.  An Intern may also exercise his/her rights to file a grievance under Article 15 of the collective bargaining agreement.  The Intern may also have rights to pursue claims or complaints under University policy or through outside agencies.
  4.  As described above, if a disagreement still exists, the Intern will meet with the Training Director and Director and a final recommendation will be made.

 

Other Policies Relevant to Interns

 Please visit the website of the University of Maine’s Office of Equal Opportunity (click here) for information on the following policies:

•    Accessibility – Commitment to People with Disabilities
•    Accommodating Individuals with Disabilities
•    Complaint Procedure for Internal Complainants
•    Complaint Procedure for External Complainants
•    Consenting Relationships
•    Equal Opportunity Policy
•    Non-Discrimination Notices to be used in University publications
•    Reporting Harassment
•    Search Procedures
•    Sexual Harassment Policy
•    University of Maine System Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact Information

The Counseling Center
5721 Cutler Health Center
Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1392 | Fax: (207) 581-4975
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System