Center and University Policies
Interns are employed as professional staff on a 12-month contract with a stipend of approximately $39,340. The Counseling Center is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, 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 as salaried professionals there are times when they may spend more hours per week fulfilling professional responsibilities given work demands (for example, outreach activities, record keeping, on–call coverage). These balance out during the quieter times of year given a university’s particular work flow. Interns, like other staff, must be available on-call (by telephone) a few nights a month for our emergency on-call service. Professional development funding is not typically available to interns.
Vacation and Disability/Sick Time
Interns accrue vacation time (annual leave) as stipulated in the UMPSA collective bargaining agreement at a rate of 13.33 hours/month, which equals 20 days of earned vacation time a year. All staff have 13 holidays during which the Center is closed.
Interns are asked to reserve four days of vacation time to be used at the end of the internship so that staff may prepare for the incoming internship cohort. Additionally Interns are asked to take four days of vacation during the first two weeks of July when the CC is closed to clinical services. Interns may do non-clinical work during the second week and during winter break when the CC does not provide clinical services. Interns are encouraged to take vacation time when school is not in session or during the summer. All vacation time must be approved by the Director and Training Director.
Interns are also entitled to the same sick-day benefits as regular professional employees. They accrue sick time (disability leave) at the rate of 13.33 hours a month. More information is contained in the UMPSA collective bargaining agreement.
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.
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 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 or other center activities. Please note that dissertation time cannot be guaranteed during the academic year when we have many service delivery demands. 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.
Intern Performance Concerns
In most situations, concerns involving an intern’s work performance will be addressed and resolved through the regular 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:
- 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.
- Provide the intern an opportunity to respond to the concerns or provide additional information to the supervisor
- 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
- 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.
- Communicate the decision with the intern and his/her home institution.
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:
- The intern does not acknowledge, understand, or address the problem(s) when it is identified.
- 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.
- The quality of the services delivered by the intern is sufficiently negatively
- The problem is not restricted to one area of professional functioning.
- A disproportionate amount of attention by training personnel is required to address the problem.
- The intern’s job related behavior does not change as a function of feedback, remediation efforts, and/or time.
- The intern’s behavior has a significant negative impact on the training experiences of other interns or trainees, or on the functioning of Counseling Center staff or other university community members.
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. Please review UMPSA Article 13 for additional information.
If the problematic behaviors do not rise to the level that requires immediate consideration of formal personnel action, the following procedures will be followed.
- The job performance weaknesses will be identified in writing and specific recommendations will be made.
- The intern’s progress in rectifying the issues will be closely monitored by supervisors, the Training Director, and the Training Committee.
- 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.
- If the Training Committee or senior 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.
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.
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. Following are the steps involved in a review.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Conflicts Working With Diverse Client Populations
In our APA accredited Doctoral Psychology Internship we are committed to a training process that ensures that interns develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. When interns’ attitudes, beliefs, or values create tensions that negatively impact the training process or their ability to effectively treat members of the public, the training staff and supervisors are committed to a developmental training approach that is designed to support the acquisition of professional competence. We support interns in finding a belief- or value-congruent path that allows them to work in a professionally competent manner with all clients/patients.
For some interns, integrating personal beliefs or values with professional competence in working with all clients/patients may require additional time and staff support. To complete our program successfully, all interns must demonstrate commitment and effort in developing skills that would enable them to work in a beneficial and non-injurious manner with any client placed in their care. Professional competencies are determined by the profession for the benefit and protection of the public; consequently, training staff are responsible for the assignment of clients with the goals of 1) providing appropriate care to the client and 2) providing interns with developmentally appropriate training opportunities. Interns do not have the option to avoid working with particular client populations or refuse to develop professional competencies because of conflicts with their attitudes, beliefs, or values.
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. 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.
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. As a salaried employee you are represented by the Universities of Maine Professional Staff Association (UMPSA – please review their labor relations contract).
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.
The University of Maine Nondiscrimination Policy
The Office of Equal Opportunity strives to ensure that all university community members uphold federal and state nondiscrimination laws. To that end, they work toward a campus climate that is supportive of equity through advice, education, and intervention.
The University of Maine does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, including transgender status and gender expression, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies: Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 101 North Stevens Hall, 581.1226, email@example.com.
Please visit the University of Maine’s Office of Equal Opportunity 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