Student Input in Clinical Program Governance and Role of Student Representatives

Feedback from students on all aspects of clinical psychology training is essential in order to maintain and enhance the quality of training. Students will gain the most from their years in training if they are active in helping to shape an effective learning community.

Benefits of being active in program governance.

Students who participate and contribute actively in the program gain valuable administrative experience. Their contributions can be recognized in letters of reference for internships and post-graduation employment. They may gain a sense of empowerment as they see that their efforts contribute to continuous maintenance and improvement of quality in clinical psychology training.  They may learn about issues in training that will be helpful in their own later role as instructor, supervisor, or administrator in training programs. They may gain satisfaction from serving as advocates for their fellow students.

Student representatives and their role.

One of the ways for students to participate is to serve as a student representative.  One student represents Years 1-2 and another student represents Years 3 and up in the program.  The main functions of the student representatives are as follows:

  1. Act as a liaison between the graduate students they represent and the Program administration. This liaison role includes summarizing and presenting student views to the Clinical Executive Committee (CEC), and also includes communicating information received through Executive meetings back to the students. Representatives can make use of various communication methods to accomplish this liaison work (e.g., the clinical graduate students' listserv, the clinical program listserv, meetings, surveys, phoning trees, etc.).
  2. Participate as voting members of the CEC.
  3. When communicating student views (including suggestions, concerns, etc.) to the DCT and/or the CEC, student representatives will keep the sources of such views anonymous so that all students will feel free to express any concerns to the program administration through their representatives.
  4. Participate in review of draft policies, announcements, agendas, and other communications within the clinical program.

    Selection or election of representatives.

    The method of selecting a student representative (whether by volunteering, appointment by a student organization, or direct election) is normally left to the respective classes of students. The term of office is one academic year (September to August), renewable for one additional year.

    Other ways of introducing input from students.

    This list is intended to offer options for enhancing student participation and input; not all of these will be implemented at any one time.

    1. Individual meetings between DCT and each student in the program, to assess progress and obtain feedback on program issues
    2. 'Town hall' or community meetings of the entire program to discuss issues openly - once a year or once a term.
    3. Discussion of issues on e-mail listservs.
    4. Evaluation forms for classes, practica, and research supervision.
    5. Student committees to address issues of concern to students and make recommendations to faculty.
    6. Program evaluation surveys with responses compiled anonymously.