Overview

Student Qualifications

Internship Application

Objectives for Internship Experiences

General Range of Activities and Time Allocation

Additional Structured Learning Experiences

Internship Activities for Experienced School Psychologists

Internship Credit Registration

Appropriate Internships Settings

Number of Different Settings Per Internships

Internship site approval

Specification and Contracting of Internship Experiences

Site Supervision of Internship

University Supervision of Internship

Internship Evaluation

Appeal Process

Overview

The internship is an essential component of the doctoral program in school psychology.  The internship is the culminating training experience to prepare individuals to function as independent professionals.  An internship provides students with the opportunity to take substantial responsibility for carrying out professional functions as school psychologists in the context of appropriate supervision.  Furthermore, the internship facilitates the further development and integration of knowledge and skills gained from didactic instruction and practicum work. 

Although there may be exceptions, the internship occurs primarily apart from the training program and is administered primarily by the internship setting. Nevertheless, the internship must consist of supervised experiences that will increase the student’s knowledge and skill level.  It is the responsibility of the student to present an internship plan that provides for new experiences.  Intern supervision is the joint responsibility of the University and internship supervisors.

The internship is further defined by its length and placement in the overall training sequence. 

Students spend a calendar year (or two years half time) at an internship setting approved by the School Psychology faculty.  The Ph.D. program endorses standards for internships as developed by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs (CDSPP).  Students are expected to select an APPIC-approved internship or an approved experience within a school or clinic setting which clearly meets the rigorous standards set forth by the profession and summarized under Guidelines for Defining Supervised Experience in an “Organized Health Service Training Program” in Psychology.

During the past 7 years, our program has had 23 interns.  All students applying for an internship have been able to obtain one and all have been paid internships.  Five of 23 students have been placed in APPIC sites, 14 in APA-approved sites, 1 in a school site that would meet CDSPP standards, and 2 have had half-time positions for 2 years.

Questions concerning internship should be directed to the Internship Coordinator, Dr. Stewart Ehly, Kit Gerken, 358 LC, 353-5335; or email stewart-ehly@uiowa.edu.

Student Qualifications

In order to apply for internship the student must have:

  1. Successfully completed all required course work.
  2. Successfully completed the Preliminary Research Project or its equivalent.
  3. Successfully completed all required practicum experiences and submitted appropriate documentation of these experiences

In order to begin the internship, the student must have:

  1. Successfully completed the comprehensive examinations as indicated by a satisfactory rating on the exams.
  2. Successfully proposed a dissertation topic as indicated by committee approval of the first three chapters of the dissertation.

Internship Application

The application for Internship must be completed by the student and submitted to the Director of Training/Program Coordinator for review. Students must submit this form by November 1 prior to the internship year. The faculty will review the student's application and inform the student whether or not he/she is eligible to apply for an internship. The student may submit a completed Internship Approval form along with a detailed Internship Plan anytime after November 1 and a review of the request will be conducted within 30 days. A detailed internship plan must accompany all requests for internships but additional information is required for non APA-accredited internships. The decision to approve a site is dependent on many factors. Students are strongly encouraged to select an APA or APPIC approved internship or an approved experience within a school setting. Many academic and clinical positions require applicants to have completed an APA approved internship.

Objectives for Internship Experiences

The internship is intended to provide experiences relevant to the following areas:

  • Knowledge of the organization and functioning of public schools, mental health centers, or other agencies
  • Familiarization with psychological service delivery procedures
  • Familiarization with the various roles and functions of school psychologists, special and regular educators, school administrators, other pupil service providers, and appropriate health care professionals
  • Refinement of communication and consultative skills and the ability to engage in team efforts
  • Refinement of assessment and diagnostic skills
  • Refinement of direct intervention skills
  • Further development of research and evaluation skills
  • Effective utilization of community and institutional resources
  • Continued professional growth through in-service training, self-study, and supervisory evaluations
  • Continued development of an understanding of ethical and legal issues in psychology and education

General Range of Activities and Time Allocation

The internship should provide experience in a range of assessment, direct intervention, and consultation activities conducted with and for children, adolescents, and/or their families. Additional activities may include research, supervision, education, and administrative functions. Students who complete their internship at an APA/APPIC approved site may simply participate in the structured rotations, specific activities, and supervision arrangements that have been defined as part of that site's program accreditation.

For students who secure internships at sites that are not accredited by APA/APPC, the following range of activity and time allocation guidelines should be carefully followed in developing and completing the internship:

  • At least 10% (approximately 180 hours) of the intern's time should be spent in each of these primary activities: assessment, direct intervention, and consultation. However, the intern should spend no more than 50% (900 hours) of the time in any one activity.
  • At least 40% of the intern's time must be spent in direct client contact.
  • A minimum of two hours each week must be spent in regularly scheduled formal, face-to-face individual supervision of intern.
  • The intern may spend up to 30% (approximately 540 hours) of the total time in secondary professional activities: research (e.g., dissertation), supervision (e.g., providing supervision), education (i.e., learning activities), and administration.

Additional Structured Learning Experiences

Because the internship is a training experience, it should include additional structured learning activities. These include:

Research: Participation in research activities is not required as part of the internship. However, up to 30% of the time may be spent in research activities if this is permitted by the sponsoring internship agency. These may include only the following:

  • Dissertation Research - If the dissertation topic is not in keeping with the program of the internship agency, then the research activities should not impinge on that 75% of the intern's time devoted to direct service to the agency, nor should it impinge on any other activities of the agency and its staff.
  • Participation in on-going research projects carried out and/or supervised by a professional employee of the internship agency.

Scheduled Learning Activities: An average of two hours a week (in addition to two hours of individual supervision) must be spent by the intern in scheduled learning activities. These may include the following:

  • Case conferences
  • Seminars dealing with professional issues
  • In-service training
  • Observing other agency units in delivery of services
  • Meetings with professionals other than school psychologists (e.g., persons from other disciplines or other agencies)
  • Professional conventions

If the internship site does not have a minimum of two interns at the internship level of training during the applicants training period, arrangements can be made for interns from two different sites to meet for seminars dealing with professional issues. These seminars can be conducted by the University of Iowa supervisor if the students are participating in captive internships or by an approved University supervisor near the internship site. All of these arrangements must be made prior to the start of the internship.

Internship Activities for Experienced School Psychologists

Interns with at least two years of full-time experience in the delivery of school psychological services may request approval of an internship that allocates up to 50% of total internship hours to secondary activities, including supervision, education, research, and administration.

Internship Credit Registration

Full-time interns register for 1 credit each semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) (7P:437: Internship in School Psychology), for a total of 3 credits for the internship. For a part-time internship, students register for 1 credit for each of six semesters over two consecutive years.

Appropriate Internships Settings

The internship setting is one in which psychological and educational services are provided primarily to children from 3 to 21 years of age. The setting may be a school (public or private), clinic, or hospital, provided that (a) interns are involved in the full range of professional activities, (b) a diversity of clients are served, including a wide range of children, handicapped or non-handicapped, (c) appropriate agency supervision is available, and (d) the student uses a title such as 'intern' or 'resident' or similar designation of trainee status.

Students occasionally desire to fulfill part or the entire internship requirement by working for the school district or mental health agency in which they are presently or have been employed. Such internship arrangements are strongly discouraged because objective supervision and appropriate learning experiences are frequently compromised when a former employee is cast into the role of intern with the new goals of both learning and service delivery. Students wishing to complete an internship in a setting in which they are or have been employed must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the school psychology faculty that they will be functioning in a new capacity that is essentially that of a trainee.

Number of Different Settings Per Internships

The total internship experience may occur in more than one setting (e.g., a consortium) provided that all internship placement criteria are met in each setting and that all internship experience requirements (e.g., hours, supervision, range of activities) are completed satisfactorily.

Each internship agency must have a professional psychologist who is clearly designated to be responsible for the integrity and quality of the internship experience (e.g., chief psychologist, director of training). This person may or may not serve as the intern's primary supervisor. The site-based internship supervisor and his/her colleagues are professional models and provide evaluations of professional skills for a critical period in an intern's training. Thus, the first requirement for internship sites is that the supervisor must have adequate time and authority to directly work with the intern.

Internship site approval

Internship site approval is based on an evaluation of the written internship plan that specifies the range of activities offered to interns and the availability of qualified supervision. The School Psychology core faculty reviews written internship plans that are submitted by individual students. This faculty must approve the internship plan prior to any formal or contractual agreement between the intern and the site.

Specification and Contracting of Internship Experiences

The internship agency and intern prepare the written internship plan that explains the objectives and content of the internship. This plan includes:

  • Clearly stated expectations for the nature of the experiences offered in the agency.
  • Clearly stated expectations for the quality and quantity of work by the intern.
  • Specification of supervisory responsibilities of the agency.
  • An outline of specific planned experiences for the intern that takes into consideration the student's educational background, experience, or professional goals.
  • Specification of salary, reimbursable travel, holidays, and other benefits.

Once approved by all parties, this written plan functions as a contract among the intern, the university, and the internship agency to ensure successful completion of all internship requirements.

Site Supervision of Internship

Internship supervision in the agency is the primary responsibility of the field supervisor, who acts as a liaison between the intern and the University of Iowa program.

The field supervisor is a doctoral level, field-based psychologist who is licensed as a psychologist by the Board of Examiners in Psychology. Furthermore, this person should have demonstrated teaching or supervisory skills and worked for at least four years as a psychologist delivering psychological services to children/adolescents or young adults , including one year in his/her present setting.

The field supervisor may be an employee of the internship agency or an affiliate (e.g., consultant) of the agency who carries major responsibility for cases being supervised. When internship supervision is provided by an affiliate, then a regular staff member in the agency must be ultimately accountable to the intern and university (e.g., chief psychologist).

University Supervision of Internship

As stated earlier, intern supervision is the joint responsibility of the training institution and the professional staff of the internship agency. Internship experiences should, therefore, reflect the connection between training program, the internship setting, and the needs of the intern. To insure this connection, communication with field supervisors and other staff at internship sites occurs on a frequent basis and through several activities.

As needed, the program coordinator will submit to the internship agency a copy of this handbook describing criteria for internship placements.

Prior to beginning the internship, intern supervisors and interns will meet with School Psychology faculty, if possible, to discuss the general goals and specific objectives of the internship, to review the terms of the internship contract, to arrange for a site visit to the internship setting by a university supervisor, to establish dates and procedures for evaluation, and to address specific questions or issues related to the internship. This format will be modified for distant internship placements.

The field supervisor will inform the university supervisor of the specific program that has been established for the student internship and that this will reflect, in part, the needs stated in the guidelines outlined in this handbook.

At the midpoint of the internship, the university supervisor will meet with the intern and the field supervisor to review the intern's progress and revise the intern's contract for the remainder of the placement, if appropriate. Again, this will be modified for distant placements.

There is one Department faculty member assigned to the internship course. This person will serve as the university liaison with the internship setting. The intern field supervisor, and university supervisor confer jointly at least two times each year. This may occur through phone contacts for distant internships.

Internship Evaluation

The overall evaluation of internship activities is based on the written information obtained from the field supervisor, intern, and university supervisor.

At the completion of each university semester, intern supervisors are required to provide the university supervisor with a written evaluation of the intern's performance. This evaluation includes two parts: a standard intern evaluation form developed by the training program to be completed by the supervisor, and an open-ended evaluation by the supervisor in reviewing general areas of the intern's performance specified in the internship plan. The latter evaluation is typically accomplished by means of a letter sent to the University supervisor. Copies of the program's standard intern evaluation form are available from the program coordinator.

Interns are required to keep a written record or log of internship activities and reactions to and evaluations of those experiences. This summary of activities is submitted to both the university and field supervisors at the end of each semester. In addition, at the end of each semester the intern and supervisor discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the internship experience. The final written summary of this discussion is prepared by the intern and submitted with the final log of internship activities at the end of the internship year.

Appeal Process

In the event that a student wishes to appeal an evaluation that has been given by the field intern supervisor, procedures for appeal should be followed in the internship setting first. The intern should also inform the university supervisor of the decision to appeal an evaluation.

In the case of disagreement over a grade from the university supervisor, procedures for student grievances at the University of Iowa should be followed.