In addition to meeting the APPIC membership criteria for Doctoral Psychology Internship Programs or Postdoctoral Training Programs, consortia programs must demonstrate evidence of the following:
A consortium is comprised of multiple (more than one) independent agencies that have joined together to offer a well-rounded, unified psychology training program. A formal written agreement among the agencies in which lines of responsibility and financial commitments are delineated creates the consortium. The trainees (a) physically work at the multiple sites (or some combination thereof), and/or (b) obtain training from one primary site with some experience at or exposure to aspects of the other setting(s) that their primary site does not offer. Agencies within a consortium complement each other rather than duplicate strengths and weaknesses.
What is the purpose or rationale for a consortium? How can that purpose be assured?
The purpose of a consortium is to pool the resources of more than one site to enhance and ensure the quality of training provided to interns and/or postdoctoral fellows. Consortia agencies each have a unique training objective that, when combined with other sites in a consortium, enhance and complement the overall mission of the consortium. In some cases, isolated agencies within a consortium cannot meet certain APPIC criteria for an internship or postdoctoral fellowship (e.g., they lack breadth of training experiences or resources to fund more than one trainee or licensed psychologist, etc.), but are able to contribute to a comprehensive training program when various types of resources are combined.
Together (but perhaps not independently), the sites are able to meet APPIC requirements, which include:
- provide breadth of training experiences;
- increase exposure to a variety of service delivery options;
- maximize trainees' exposure to a range of theoretical and professional orientations;
- enhance trainees' experiences with diverse populations;
- increase exposure to broad-based and diverse professional resources; and
- provide efficient mechanism for ensuring trainee interaction and collegiality.
When should a program be considered a consortium or several independent sites?
Consortia should have a clearly articulated mission that can only be met by a consortial arrangement and a unified perspective on training. Regular, ongoing communication and direct interaction should occur among licensed psychologists serving as training directors at each site. The purposes of these communications are to (a) monitor training needs and remain responsive to training issues as they arise, (b) ensure adequacy of individual sites at providing quality training experiences, and (c) consider means by which needs unique to the consortium can be met.
- Regular, ongoing, meaningful formal and informal communication and direct interaction occurs among trainees in a consortium (and may not occur among independent sites). Trainee meetings occurring at least monthly are recommended.
- Resources are shared among agencies to benefit trainees and the overall training program, such as staff expertise, research opportunities, university privileges, journal libraries, in-services, and unique supervision opportunities.
What are the minimal documentable criteria needed for a consortia?
In order for a group of agencies to comprise a viable consortium arrangement, the following minimal criteria must be met:
- One primary Consortium director (or CO-directors) responsible for (a) coordinating efforts of the agencies; (b) ensuring maintenance of training standards among individual sites; and (c) maintaining regular, formal and informal contact with trainees via electronic mail, phone, fax (available on a daily basis), and formal substantive meetings (scheduled at least monthly). The director should be available at one or more of the training facilities at least 20 hours per week.
- Each agency has at least one clearly designated, appropriately credentialed doctoral level staff psychologist who is responsible for the integrity and quality of training and present at the agency for a minimum of 20 hours per week.
- Regular, ongoing informal contact among trainees across sites (i.e., availability of frequent contact via technology such as electronic mail, phone, fax, videoconferencing).
- Regular, formal, scheduled contact among trainees (i.e., didactic face-to-face meetings at least monthly).
- A formal plan outlining the didactic activities and procedures provided in the training program.
- Assurance of trainee contact with more than one supervisor.
- A written consortia contractual agreement delineating:
- the nature and characteristics of the participating entities;
- the rationale for the consortial partnership;
- each partner's commitment to the training/education program, its philosophy, model, and goals;
- each partner's obligations regarding contributions and access to resources;
- each partner's adherence to central control and coordination of the training program; and
- each partner's commitment to uniform administration and implementation of the program's training principles, policies, and procedures addressing trainee/student admission, financial support, training resource access, potential performance expectations, and evaluations Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology; Committee on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association);
- due process procedures including notice, hearing and appeal.
Can a site be both free standing and part of a consortia? Or must it be one or the other?
Consortia sites must make a commitment to one model of training (i.e., they cannot be a free-standing internship or postdoctoral fellowship, and member of a consortium). This ensures that adequate attention to important and unique consortia issues remain focal to all agencies within the arrangement, and minimize internal competition for trainees, role and responsibility confusion among participants, and other sources of potential conflict of interest.
If an established consortium accepts a new member into the consortium, what impact does that have on their APPIC membership?
Consortia should have the flexibility and ability to add new members (or omit existing members) when necessary to sustain their mission. New applicant agencies should apply directly to the consortium, which should have established membership criteria consistent with their mission statement and in compliance with APPIC criteria. The consortium must notify APPIC in writing within 60 days of adding a new member to the consortium, omitting a current member, or other major change. If the internship consortium has been an APPIC Member for less than 3 years, the change will be reviewed by the APPIC Doctoral Membership Committee. If the internship consortium has been an APPIC Member for 3 years or longer, the change will be reviewed by the APPIC Doctoral Membership Review Committee. Changes for all APPIC Member Postdoctoral Consortia will be reviewed by the APPIC Postdoctoral Membership and Review Committee. The Committee will then decide whether the change(s) warrants having the consortium reviewed at an earlier date than the normal, formal three-year review cycle for non-APA accredited programs. Consortium programs maintain their APPIC Membership during the review process. Only non-APA/CPA accredited programs need to have a formal review.
New applicant agencies should submit a formal request for consideration that includes a clear description of:
- the goals and objectives of the training activities;
- the plan, location, and sequence of direct service experiences;
- the training curriculum; i.e., the content, duration, and frequency of the training activities;
- a supervision plan, including the person responsible, number of hours devoted to supervision per week, and on-going availability of the supervisor; and
- how the psychology training program is integrated into the larger organization.
Agencies should be added to the consortium based on careful and thoughtful consideration of variables such as:
How the applicant agency contributes to the unique mission of the consortium - for example, does it offer experiences
- that are not otherwise available in the consortium (e.g., a diverse population or clientele); and/or
- in a setting or area that presents unique service-delivery needs (e.g., rural locale)?
Does the agency agree to the requirements of the consortium -- for example,
- supervisors' representation at board meetings (if applicable);
- trainees' attendance at regularly scheduled consortium meetings;
- continuous annual selection and hiring of trainees, with no more than one year on inactive status; and/or
- other consortium procedures and practices deemed necessary to maintain ongoing APPIC membership?
Sites that are added to existing APPIC-member consortia may not represent themselves as an independent APPIC member. Further, consortia members are listed only once in the APPIC Membership Directory; each agency is not listed separately or as separate members. Independent membership in APPIC is wholly and completely contingent upon successful review by the APPIC Membership Committee. If a site existing within an APPIC member consortia wishes to apply for independent membership, it can retain its status in the consortium while its application is being considered. If approved as an APPIC member, the site must resign from the consortium (i.e., it cannot be an independent member and part of a consortium simultaneously).
If two or more sites within an existing APPIC-member consortium wish to leave and create a new consortium, they are subject to review by the APPIC Doctoral Membership Committee or Postdoctoral Membership and Review Committee. Their prior status as APPIC members based on their relationship within a consortium is not sufficient to warrant continued membership status.
Do consortia internship programs have different needs from single site programs in regard to the computer internship match program?
The selection task of consortia is complex, and consortia have unique needs regarding intern selection. Specifically, because the consortium is an APPIC member (and not individual sites within the consortium), interns are placed with the consortium (and not an agency within the consortium). Some consortia (especially the larger ones) have many programs within their training purview. To provide the best match for both applicants and the consortium, applicants may be asked whether they have an interest, either "yes" or "no", in each rotation, site or program. However, they may not be asked to rank order their level of interest in rotations, sites or programs within a consortium.
What can APPIC do to encourage and support establishment of consortia programs?
APPIC may consider some flexibility in the requirements of consortia to attract and recruit participation of agencies in unique contexts. For example, in many rural, sparsely populated states, the availability of freestanding internship and postdoctoral training sites is minimal at best, although novel training and professional development opportunities are immense. In such states or regions, multiple moves or rotations for trainees are not feasible. Rather, unique and innovative formats for cross-setting training and collaboration can occur through monthly meetings, cross-agency professional and trainee case presentations, virtual communication via the internet, embedded within a consistent philosophy of training.
APPIC can serve a valuable service to potential consortium training directors by offering training at various professional conferences. The training can focus on situations in which consortia are desirable training options, procedures for establishing and maintaining successful consortia programs, guidelines for ensuring quality training and adherence to APPIC standards, etc.
APPIC may consider appointing a member to the board who is concerned primarily with consortia programs, or who is available to serve in a consultative role for new or ongoing consortia programs. APPIC may consider having someone from a consortia program as a member of either the APPIC Doctoral Membership Committee or the APPIC Doctoral Membership Review Committee.
What are the special needs of consortia programs and how can APPIC respond?
Consortia programs are unique in their need to ensure coordinated and consistent training experiences among trainees at different agencies. An APPIC board member responsible for providing guidance and consultation would be useful.