Category Archives: Training Issues

Important notice to users of MyPsychTrack

APAGS recently heard about a change to the MyPsychTrack (MPT) system that could create confusion and lost data. MPT is changing to a new and improved portal (https://app.mypsychtrack.com/) on March 4th, 2016. If you are a student tracking clinical training hours on MPT, unless you logged in recently to record hours, you may be unaware of this change. To maintain all your data, you have to upload your data to the new portal by March 4th. Data logged on the old portal may not be available on or after March 4th.

There is a link on the MPT homepage that provides assistance on transferring hours into the new system. Contact MPT support if you have any questions or concerns and they will walk you through the process.

APPIC believes this will affect about 200 people who haven’t updated their MPT account since March 2015.

Please share this widely with your peers, and of course, it’s always a good practice to back up your data regardless of the system you use!

What does it mean to be a leader? APAGS will help you strengthen your competencies. (Image source: Beth Kanter on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Want to be a member of the APAGS Leadership Institute’s inaugural class?

What does it mean to be a leader? APAGS will help you strengthen your competencies. (Image source: Beth Kanter on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

What does it mean to be a leader? APAGS will help you strengthen your competencies. (Image source: Beth Kanter on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

In 2013, when APAGS wrote its new five-year strategic plan, one of our three core focus areas was devoted to leadership.

We know that to be a successful and viable discipline, we need rising generations of psychologists to be ready to lead teams, develop and evaluate programs, advocate as experts on issues of social importance, and champion interprofessional collaboration.

Our goal of increasing the number of students leading, organizing, and creating change came closer to fruition earlier this month when we released application materials for the first-ever APAGS Leadership Institute.

This Leadership Institute was the culmination of months of planning by a cross-cutting working group led by APAGS member-at-large Casey Calhoun, with consultation from members of APA’s Board of Directors as well as organizers of existing leadership academies. We are very pleased to offer this new benefit to our members who are seeking to develop their leadership skills, gain leadership experience, and network with current and future leaders in psychology.

For a year beginning this summer, selected participants will engage with mentors and their peers in a handful of virtual leadership classrooms, use partial reimbursement to attend APA’s Annual Convention in Denver (to both co-lead and participate in leadership sessions), develop a project of significant impact, and hopefully pay it forward by mentoring the next cohort in summer 2017.

We’re looking for five to seven individuals to fill our inaugural cohort. Applications are due April 1, 2016. Read more about eligibility and application instructions and download this flyer (PDF) to share with others.

Match Day: May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

APAGS hopes the odds are ever in your favor. (Source: "The Hunger Games" by duncan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

APAGS hopes the odds are ever in your favor. (Source: “The Hunger Games” by duncan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

For many of us, Match Day is reminiscent of the Hunger Games. We are entering into a lottery for our future, and that is certainly terrifying for many. For clinical, counseling, and school folks, this is the culmination of the better part of a year spent on writing applications, mock interviews, anxiously awaiting interview invitations, traveling the country, Skyping, ranking, and then waiting for the all important email on Match Day.

Today, many students will be thrilled to match; even more thrilled if they match to a top choice! Celebrations kick in and plans for next year quickly begin. For far too many others, the experience will be much different. A heartbreaking email revealing they have not matched and an invitation to participate in yet another round of applications, interviews, and a matching process.

To those who matched this year, congratulations! For those of you who did not, we have some support resources, and we stand in solidarity with you. Whatever your outcome was today, I wish you the best in your next steps.

What We Know Today

Here’s the data APPIC released this morning about the 2016-2017 internship cohort:

  • 3,725 applicants participated in the match (i.e., submitted final rankings). 3,648 of these students were from accredited doctoral programs.
  • 3,235 applicants matched in Phase I; an 87% overall match rate.
  • 84% of applicants who matched got one of their top three choices.
  • There were more available positions (3,800) in the match than applicants who submitted final rankings. At the end of today’s Phase I, 490 applicants remain unmatched, 565 internship positions remain unfilled, and 263 of those are accredited.

For individuals who did not match today in Phase I, this last point provides hope — but may be of little solace to lessen the heartbreak of not matching.  The implications of this imbalance are significant. It hits us deeply in our pockets, as an extra academic year could mean additional unplanned debt. Another year in school could mean delaying other major life events such as getting married, starting a family, or buying a house. While we certainly could look at the “silver lining” of not matching — such as a focused year to complete dissertation and gain additional, possibly specialized, clinical training — the pain and the crisis remain.

An Upswing Since 2011

Since the 2011-2012 match, APPIC has reported a yearly increase in match rates. However, it is important to understand that APPIC only provides data on students who participate in their match, and today’s data is limited to Phase I. For a complete picture of students from accredited doctoral programs who need — and who receive — internships (particularly accredited ones), we turn to data we’ve requested from APA’s Commission on Accreditation. Here’s the information we have:

Internship year Match rate of students from APA accredited doc programs to any internship Match rate of students from APA-accredited doc programs to APA accredited internships
2011-2012 83.1% 51.9%
2012-2013 88.8% 54.6
2013-2014 90.1% 57.7%
2014-2015 93.0% 60.1%
2015-2016 95.3% 68.4%

For current interns, the overall match rate looks good, with 95.3% of students from an APA accredited program matching to any internship. At the same time, we continue to see a sizable gap in students from APA accredited programs who match to APA accredited internships; a mere 68.4% match rate. We are optimistic that the match rates for accredited internships will continue to climb for the 2016-2017 internship cohort. Today’s data from APPIC shows that 72.9% of all ranking applicants from APA and CPA accredited programs matched to accredited internships (this number may look different when CoA releases their data for the 2016-2017 internship year).

Our Advocacy Efforts

For APAGS members, committee and staff, the internship crisis continues to be a grave problem. It is a crisis that remains on the top of the agenda for your APAGS leaders and other advocates within the discipline. The internship stimulus package has supported the growth of internships, and programs continue to reach out for guidance in the development of accredited internships. Champions are tirelessly advocating on behalf of students for the reimbursement of intern services through Medicaid, which could substantially change the status of this crisis along with greatly serving the public. Still, there is much work to be done.

APAGS has been working tirelessly over the past years on advocacy efforts related to the internship crisis. Here are the areas where we have focused particular energy:

  • The $3 million internship stimulus package has helped to create 157.5 accredited internship positions at 29 different sites as of January 2016.
  • We produced a video about the internship crisis, highlighting student experiences and the devastation of not matching.
  • A panel at the 2014 Annual Convention brought together students and other stakeholders to discuss the internship crisis and to explore creative approaches to end the crisis, resulting in an academic paper. Work on these ideas is ongoing.
  • We have been meeting with members of various psychology training councils to prioritize accredited internship development in places with untapped potential for growth; for example, university-based psychology training clinics, community colleges, and school districts.
  • We provide information to applicants to graduate school on how to find a program that best meets their needs, and how to interpret publicly available data about programs, including match rates.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Unlike The Hunger Games where there is only one winner, Match Day brings a winning outcome to many participants. While the odds are improving, it’s up to each of us to change the nature of this game.

  • Please encourage your program to become active in advocating for the development of an internship program.
  • Talk with your practicum sites about the value of hosting an accredited internship.
  • Share the APAGS video about the internship crisis with everyone you know, along with the administration at your school.
  • Engage your state psychological association to become involved in the advocacy efforts for medicaid reimbursement.
  • Share your experiences with us through a guest blog post.

We would love to hear your internship story and your advocacy efforts (additional ideas here). The more we can share ideas, collaborate on solutions, and raise a loud collective voice, the sooner we can end this crisis.

What rights can psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Graduate Students Have Rights. APAGS Just Spelled Them Out.

What rights should psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

What rights should psychology graduate students expect no matter where or what they study? (Image source: Julia Manzerova on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard a graduate student in psychology discuss aspects of their training or education that seemed inequitable, I could pay back all my loans.

Too often in graduate school, students come across situations in which they believe their rights have been infringed upon in some way. When this occurs, many students feel at a loss for how to advocate for themselves and what they can or should be able to reasonably advocate for. The result for many students is dissatisfaction, frustration, and occasionally leaving a training program or experience.

The APAGS Committee has honed in on this student concern over the past year and opted to move forward with creating a student “bill of rights.” This was a very detailed process that included a literature review of various student right documents from across the world, drafting lists of rights based on this literature and our own experiences, and completing many revisions with input from APAGS leaders and many outside resources.

At long last, the APAGS Committee voted in December to approve a document titled, “Position Statement on the Rights of Psychology Graduate Students.” The Committee is planning to distribute these rights across various platforms and to a variety of constituents. The Committee is even considering bringing the document to APA’s Council of Representatives for consideration as an official policy document! That’s a huge step, and we will keep you posted.

In the meantime, we hope that students, programs, and other interested parties can use this document to their benefit. Use it to advocate for your own rights and thereby create a program or training experience of the highest caliber. If you have other ideas and reactions, we would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below!

Here now is the text of our position statement, which is also available on our website.


Position Statement on the Rights of Psychology Graduate Students

Preamble

The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) deems the rights described in this document to be indispensable to the fair, equitable and respectful treatment of every psychology graduate student throughout their education and training. The protection of these rights fosters the highest quality graduate training experience. APAGS considers these rights essential, not aspirational, and we urge graduate programs to implement these rights in their unique settings and training environments. We encourage current and prospective students to utilize these rights in making informed graduate program selections and in advocating for themselves as issues arise.

1. Institutional Environment

1.1 Right to respectful treatment by faculty members, colleagues, staff, and peers.

1.2 Right to have professional and personal information handled in a sensitive and respectful manner such that personal information is only disclosed when it is deemed necessary for educational or training purposes, and that students are informed prior to any such disclosure (See Ethical Standard 7.04).

1.3 Right to affordable insurance inclusive of health, vision, dental, and mental health care coverage.

2. Program Policies

2.1 Right to publicly available, accurate, and up-to-date descriptions of costs, the availability of financial support, and the likelihood of ongoing support throughout training (e.g., percent of students with full and partial financial support during year one, year two, etc.; available funding options), to be provided prior to or immediately following the program’s interviews for prospective students (See Ethical Standard 7.02).

2.2 Right to accurate and up-to-date information from research advisors and thesis/dissertation committee members on professional factors that could impact student training, career development, and timely program completion.

2.3 Right to access and exercise formal written policies regarding leave and accommodations as they pertain to pregnancy, parenting/caregiving, bereavement, medical or mental illness, and disability.

2.4 Right to access and exercise formal written policies and procedures regarding academic and placement/internship requirements, administrative procedures, evaluation, advisement, retention, average “time to degree,” and termination (See Ethical Standard 7.02).

2.5 Right to express opinions and have representation on campus committees relevant to professional development, with voting privileges where appropriate.

2.6 Right to exemption from new graduation or program requirements, developed after admission, that might result in a delay of graduation.

3. Professional and Educational Training Opportunities

3.1 Right to appropriate professional training (e.g., teaching, research, clinical practice) in the current standards and practices of the discipline and specialty area (See Ethical Standard 7.01).

3.2 Right to be evaluated by faculty consistent with current ethical practices in employment, progression through the program, and grading, solely on the basis of academic performance, professional qualifications, and/or conduct (See Ethical Standard 7.06).

3.3 Right to quality mentorship.

3.4 Right to change advisors and committee members for professional and personal needs.

3.5 Right to receive timely, ongoing feedback on all areas of trainee competency and the opportunity to address growth areas with support from faculty.

3.6 Right to co-authorship in publications when the student has made significant contributions of ideas or research work (See Ethical Standards 8.11 and 8.12 a-c).

3.7 Right to freely communicate and collaborate with other academic colleagues.

3.8 Right to lead, assemble, and participate in organizations and activities outside the academic program.

3.9 Right to engage in self care as a routine practice throughout training (See Ethical Standards 3.05 and 3.06).

4. Work Environment

4.1 Right to fair compensation for services provided during training (e.g., graduate, teaching, and research assistantships).

4.2 Right for students providing services during training (e.g., teaching, research, clinical, and administrative graduate assistantships) to enjoy the recognitions, rights, privileges, and protections afforded to employees under state, provincial, territorial, and national labor laws.

4.3 Right to study and work in an environment free of exploitation, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on one’s student status, race, ethnicity, skin color, national origin, religion, political beliefs, economic status, age, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy or parental status, disability, medical or mental health conditions, ancestry, citizenship, military veteran status, or any other identity salient to the individual in admissions and throughout education, employment, and placement (See Principle E and Ethical Standards 3.01, 3.02, 3.03, 3.08).

4.4 Right to work under clearly expressed and mutually agreed-upon job descriptions and work or training conditions.

4.5 Right to perform only those tasks that relate to academic program requirements, professional development, and/or job duties.

4.6 Right to provide constructive and professional feedback to supervisors, directors, administrators, and staff concerning the quality and content of supervision

5. Appeals and Grievances

5.1 Right to clearly defined official grievance procedures and informal complaint procedures.

5.2 Right to whistleblower protection for exposing professional, ethical, or legal violations (See Ethical Standard 1.08).

5.3 Right to due process for any accusation of violation or infraction.

5.4 Right to be free of reprisals for exercising the rights contained in this document (See Ethical Standard 1.08).

Candice

Getting a Tenure Track Position

While there are many jobs that psychologists can do well after graduation, tenure track professorships are among the positions that many students aspire to. Getting a tenure track faculty position right out of your doctoral program is not easy, but it can be done. Here, five new assistant professors in counseling psychology share tips on what they believe helped them be successful during the job application process last year. These (now) assistant professors were asked, “What made you competitive for a tenure track job?”

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