High quality advising is an essential component of students’ success in, and enjoyment of, their educational experience at all levels of study. In order to maximize the professional training and development, every incoming student is assigned a Faculty Advisor who will oversee the student’s progress throughout his/her course of study and will deliver ongoing feedback regarding the student’s status in the program. Advisors are available to students as mentors, aids in problem-solving, career planning, and facilitators of professional growth and development.
The advisor reviews and approves the student’s academic planning and field site selections. The advisor also manages the annual student review process. The advisor holds a critical role in a student’s development of the “professional self”. This hallmark of graduate education at MSPP involves rigorous academic coursework integrated with ongoing field training. Since the ultimate tool a psychologist brings to his/her work is their own self, MSPP also emphasizes personal and professional learning and growth of students in their training. A student’s advisor (with other professors and supervisors) models, teaches and evaluates the following attitudes and attributes that a student is expected to make their own:
- An overall knowledge, appreciation, and acceptance of the ethical standards and guidelines for the practice of psychology.
- A demonstration of the capacity to work collaboratively and respectfully with others throughout all ranges of professional training experience (peers, colleagues, supervisors, patients/clients, other professionals, faculty, advisors, administrators, support staff, etc.).
- A demonstration of and willingness to assume responsibility for learning by utilizing appropriate available resources to fulfill clinical and academic responsibilities (e.g., consultation, supervision, literature, etc.).
- A demonstration of and willingness to meet professional obligations in a timely and responsible manner.
- A sustained awareness of one’s effectiveness and functioning in clinical and academic settings, as well as an awareness of one’s personal/professional impact on others.
- A receptivity to constructive commentary and/or criticism with a demonstration of a capacity to address such issues that may have been identified.
- A demonstration of the capacity for perceptiveness and empathy and a growing sense of how to use these qualities effectively in the service of others or of professional role responsibilities (i.e., in both clinical and applied work as well as in general commerce within school, field, or other work settings).
- A demonstration of the capacity to interpret accurately and reasonably the conduct of one’s self and of others.
- A demonstration of the capacity to evaluate one’s self and others honestly, fairly, and sensitively (e.g., in supervision, in classroom exchanges and exercises, during A&P conferences, etc.).
- A recognition of, appreciation of, and sensitivity to individual differences and diversity in the human experience and the relevance of such understanding for the practice of psychology.
- A desire to provide human services and to acknowledge and address both individual and broad psychosocial issues within the scope of psychological knowledge, practice, and professional responsibility.
These attitudes and behaviors, together with academic achievements and field supervisors’ evaluations, are the content for review in terms of assessment and planning. A robust and ongoing relationship with an advisor contributes to a deeper and more meaningful discussion of a student’s development.
Advising is not a confidential and/or therapeutic relationship; advisors might need to identify those issues that belong in personal therapy rather than in advising.
Assignment of Advisees
Advising assignments are made by the Department Dean or Head. Students are generally assigned the same advisor for the entire length of their course of study in the Program. Although students may request a change in Advisor, all such requests must go through the Department Dean or Head for review. A student who wishes to change advisor must complete and submit a “Petition for Change of Faculty Advisor” form to the Department Dean or Head. If approved, advisor changes will be implemented in the fall term of the following year.
Responsibilities of Advisors
Advisors have significant roles in overseeing students’ progress and can have a major impact on the development of their professional identities. As educators, advocates, evaluators, and mentors their responsibilities include:
- Making themselves available for regular contact with advisees.
- Assessing students’ academic backgrounds, strengths, training needs, and goals.
- Approving students’ registration, coursework selections, field site selections, and field training contracts.
- Managing the Assessment and Planning Conference at the end of each academic year.
- Monitoring students’ progress toward completion of degree requirements.
- Helping address problems; consulting with course instructors, field supervisors, Department Deans, Heads, the Academic Policies and Standards Committee, and/or the Dean of Students in situations where problems arise; and advocating on behalf of the student in such situations when such advocacy is appropriate.
Advisors should have regular contact with their advisees, but must at a minimum initiate contact and meet with each advisee at the following times for the stated purposes:
- Beginning of students’ first Fall semester:
- get acquainted
- review Field Education Contract and stated goals for field training
- review fall course schedule; discuss spring course planning
- Beginning of first Spring semester:
- Review mid-year Field Education Evaluation
- End of Year One in program (Must be completed by the end of summer semester):
- Review the final Field Education Evaluation
- After obtaining feedback from faculty and field placement, meet with student to hold an Assessment and Planning Conference and document this in the appropriate form
This process continues yearly throughout the time the student is at MSPP
Additional responsibilities include:
- Ensure that advisees are registered for coursework appropriate for their year of enrollment and are meeting requirements for graduation throughout their time of study in the Program
- Electronically approve each advisee’s registration each semester
- Review advisees’ evaluation/grade sheets from each course, received from MIS at the end of each semester. This will keep the Advisor informed of students’ progress, and allow for timely intervention if a problem is identified.
- If necessary, convene an Intermediate Assessment and Planning (A&P) Conference; this is usually required when some problem or difficulty has arisen academically or in the field. In such cases, the Advisor completes a Notice of Difficulty (NOD), submitting it to the Dean of Students for review and follow-up action with the appropriate parties.
- Advisors write letters of recommendation for students, when appropriate, for application to field placements, further graduate study (when applicable) and employment.
- Mentoring students on professional networking, exploration of career options, and specialized areas of study.