The Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) has a three-fold mission of scholarship, education for practice, and service. GSAPP offers doctoral students specialization in three major areas of professional psychology: Clinical, Organizational, and School Psychology. The tenured and tenure-track faculty are evaluated for reappointment and promotion based on teaching, scholarship, and service.
Rationale for Creating a Clinical Track in GSAPP:
Through their research and theoretical writings, tenured and tenure-track faculty members are engaged in expanding the knowledge base upon which professional practice rests. These faculty members teach the courses that provide foundational knowledge for doctoral students concerning the scientific and theoretical underpinnings of professional practice. This instruction gives students in learning the large body of literature that underlies and informs practice. However, classroom instruction alone is not sufficient to prepare one to be a practitioner of professional psychology. A great deal of “hands on” instruction closely supervised by exemplary models of professional practice is essential for the student, along with being steeped in research and theory. Those who teach these applied courses need a different repertoire of skills than those tenured and tenure-track faculty who teach the more traditional academic courses at GSAPP. The activities that make one an expert practitioner are not for the most part the skills that make one a successful academic. Although the practitioners who provide supervision to students have a scholarly appreciation of the literature, research is not their primary responsibility and, therefore, they would not fulfill the criteria for reappointment and promotion. However, that does not diminish the centrality of their role.
The practice courses at GSAPP focus on diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders of childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and intervention and consultation in the schools and in a range of organizations. Students learn how to conduct psychological assessments consistent with the setting in which they work, to plan interventions based on these evaluations and to assess the impact of treatment. Two of the major on-campus settings in which students practice these skills are the Center for Applied Psychology and the Psychological Clinic. In these settings and other settings in the community, GSAPP graduate students learn their applied skills under the close supervision of doctoral level psychologists. These psychologists are hired for their clinical expertise rather than for their research skills.
At present, visiting faculty, instructors, part-time lecturers (PTLs), and those with staff titles fill such roles in GSAPP, and the results are less than ideal. Instructors are limited to annual appointments not to exceed a total of four years, regardless of the instructors’ quality or the school’s need. Many do not feel that they are an integral part of the school since their term is limited and they have no long-term stake in the school’s success. Similarly, visiting faculty and PTLs do not provide continuity and consistency from year to year. Those with staff titles are unable to participate in faculty governance. In all of these cases, there is no opportunity for career growth. Hiring appropriate clinical practitioners is a challenge due to the fact that these people are typically fully engaged in roles as service providers in the community and most often have leadership positions in the agencies and programs that employ them. Clinical faculty appointments would create flexibility, allowing people to move in and out of their faculty role as needed, and allowing GSAPP to hire individuals who fit the changing needs of the training programs.
The educational programs at GSAPP would therefore be enhanced by the ability to attract and retain those practicing in clinical areas, who can bring clinical practice to the school. The roles of clinical faculty in GSAPP would complement but would be very different from that of tenured and tenure-track faculty. The clinical faculty would focus on clinical practice and training, while engaging in research, but not at the same rate or of the same kind one expects of tenured and tenure-track faculty. The combination of these two types of faculty, the researcher and the clinician, will result in an optimally-balanced educational program and thus graduates would be well trained for professional practice, and eminently marketable to potential employers.
Expectations for Clinical Faculty:
Clinical faculty members would be expected to supervise students in the delivery of clinical services to various populations, supervise undergraduate students in entry-level clinical and research activities, teach graduate courses where appropriate, provide in-service lectures to clinical staff and provide training for professionals from the community seeking to upgrade their skills. In addition, clinical faculty would be expected to engage in clinically-based scholarship which might take the form of articles, book chapters or presentations at professional meetings.
Details of Clinical Faculty Appointments:
Term of appointment: Appointments of Clinical faculty would
normally be made for periods of three years, and would be renewable.
Criteria for Appointment and Reappointment: Initial appointment would be based on the appropriate terminal degree and demonstrated experience as a superior clinical teacher and clinical supervisor. Certification in one’s specialty area would be required as appropriate. Subsequent reappointments and promotions would be based on excellence in clinical practice; effective teaching, particularly teaching that utilizes the faculty member’s clinical practice; and service. Clinical faculty would be hired, reappointed, or promoted to the titles of Assistant Clinical Professor, Associate Clinical Professor, or Clinical Professor. As Professor II emphasizes the traditional forms of research and scholarship, there is no Clinical Professor II.
Evaluation of Clinical faculty: Evaluation would take place in the third and final year of each three-year contract. Chairs should also meet with each clinical faculty member annually.
Voting Rights: Clinical faculty may participate in departmental meetings and vote on all issues with the exception of tenured or tenure-track appointments and promotions.
Practices at Peer Institutions:
A variety of mechanisms are used in peer clinical psychology programs to meet this need. As Rutgers already has well-established clinical tracks in Pharmacy and Nursing, it seems logical to simply extend the use of that clinical track to GSAPP.
Requirements Relating to Accreditation:
The American Psychological Association expects good clinical teaching and supervision by psychologists with appropriate credentials.
Benefits to School and Students; Conclusion:
Due to the fact that students are seeing clients with very compelling
human concerns, they require close and intensive guidance from experienced
practitioners to ensure that the client’s needs are met while the student
is simultaneously being taught the best of current treatment methods. The
educational goal of GSAPP is to train graduate students for professional
practice. Tenured and tenure-track faculty alone cannot provide all of
the training needed to best prepare our students for clinical practice.
The use of visiting faculty, instructors, part-time lecturers, and staff
titles has proven to be unsatisfactory, in the sense that such appointments
do not provide the continuity or stability of staffing. In order to attract
and retain the high quality clinical faculty that GSAPP needs, an attractive
and stable clinical track must be developed. Utilizing both the traditional
tenured and tenure-track faculty and Clinical faculty will provide
students with the combination of foundational knowledge and practitioner
training that will make them most competitive upon graduation.