Internship Policies and Procedures
Evaluation, Due Process, Problem Resolution, and Administrative Review
Due Process – General Guidelines
Due process ensures that decisions about training fellows are reasonable and not arbitrary or personally based. It requires standards and procedures which are employed in an appropriate and consistent manner, with adequate documentation and appropriate appeals procedures. General due process guidelines include:
1. The program will present expectations for professional conduct and standards for evaluation in writing at the beginning of the training period. This includes specifying procedures for evaluation, problem resolution, and adjudication of grievances/complaints.
2. Evaluations will occur at meaningful intervals and in accordance with documented procedures. The DI Clinic training program provides global written evaluations twice a year; informal feedback occurs more frequently.
3. The program will provide fellows with clear feedback regarding any concerns or difficulties, and allow fellows to consider and respond to this feedback.
4. As a general practice, the program will seek input from multiple sources when making decisions or recommendations regarding training problems.
5. Whenever appropriate and feasible, the program will develop a remediation plan to assist fellows in addressing performance issues or concerns. The plan will include suggested action steps and a time frame for improvement.
6. Actions taken by the program (sanctions, requirements, etc.) will be appropriate in light of the severity and implications of problems which have been identified, and the resources — individual and systemic — which are available for addressing these problems.
7. Any adverse action taken by the program may be appealed to the Executive Director of the Danielsen Institute or to the Human Relations department at Boston University.
8. The program will keep written documentation for all problem resolution and administrative review processes, and it will provide a written summary, including a rationale, to fellows who are involved in these processes.
Evaluation is an essential element in the learning process. Through mutual reflection and feedback, staff and fellows offer each other perspective which can inform often informs professional practice and professional development in meaningful ways. Given this, the DI Clinic training program seeks to be a feedback-rich program.
The DI Clinic training program approaches evaluation from a developmental perspective. This includes:
– recognizing and building upon specific strengths and interests
– identifying specific areas for growth and strategies for cultivating such growth
– encouraging frequent and recurrent feedback in all directions
– viewing evaluation and feedback as part of a larger learning process
– whenever appropriate and feasible, approaching difficulties as learning opportunities
– viewing professional development as an on-going process
We also acknowledge that formal evaluation also serves other important functions such as confirming required levels of competence, identifying problems which require attention, or identifying failure to meet expectations or standards. These functions highlight the importance of well-grounded assessments and due process.
Evaluation is both a formal (written) and informal process at the Clinic. Informal feedback occurs throughout the year as training fellows and staff share perspectives, concerns, and suggestions. Feedback mechanisms include discussions of individual learning goals in supervision and “check-in” meetings in seminars. Formal, written evaluations of training fellows occur two times each year, typically in early winter and then again near the end of the training year. These evaluation cycles include feedback to training fellows from the training staff, and feedback from fellows to the staff. During these cycles, DI staff evaluate fellows in relation to our training program goals and objectives as well as any unique or particular learning goals which have been identified. At the same time, training fellows have an opportunity to evaluate and comment upon supervision and the overall training program. As necessary or appropriate, staff also complete evaluation forms required by particular academic programs.
During evaluation cycles, supervisors and supervisees review and discuss their respective evaluations. Each party also has an opportunity to add written comments or responses to the evaluation form. Once the forms have been reviewed and signed, copies are distributed to the supervisee, supervisor, and Director of Training. The Director of Training reviews all evaluations. Training Directors for specific programs (e.g., practicum training, advanced social work training) review the evaluations for students in their programs. Other clinic administrators, e.g., the Clinic Director or Executive Director, may review evaluations for quality assurance. Issues which require additional attention may be referred for problem resolution or administrative action (see below).
Anonymous program evaluations are required from all fellows during the evaluation cycles. These forms solicit input on various components of the training program. Program evaluations are reviewed by clinic staff, and ratings/comments may be shared and discussed in all clinic meetings.
During evaluations, fellows and supervisors/training staff provide each other with feedback which may include areas of concern. As in any professional interaction, staff and fellows are expected to consider feedback and make adjustments as appropriate and possible. If difficulties or problems emerge and are not resolved through these interactions, then either party may refer the matter for problem resolution or administrative review.
Problematic performance and/or behavior typically involves one or more of the following issues:
– non-professional or otherwise inappropriate interactions
– failure to make reasonable adjustments after receiving feedback
– behaviors which negatively impact client care or training efforts
– failure to comply with clinic procedures and work-related expectations
– failure to uphold organizational or professional ethical codes and expectations
– failure to demonstrate professional competencies, which include both specific skill sets and more general attitudes and qualities
The range of possible actions for fellows with performance or behavioral issues includes, but are not limited to, the following options:
– Verbal feedback and/or verbal recommendations. This may occur via normal training interactions or special processes such as problem resolution or administrative review.
– Written feedback and/or recommendations via evaluations or administrative procedures.
– Required participation in problem resolution meetings, with an expectation of follow through on mutually agreed upon action items.
– Schedule modification, which might include changes in duties, reductions in work, or participation in additional or supplemental training activities. Examples of supplemental activities include reading assignments, written work, role playing or other exercises, additional supervision, or required therapy with an independent licensed professional.
– Probation, which involves a time-limited period during which a fellow will be closely monitored and during which certain changes or improvements must be demonstrated.
– Suspension of clinical work.
– Being placed on administrative leave from the training program.
– Dismissal from the training program.
A similar range of actions may apply to staff members as determined by appropriate Clinic administrators and applicable Boston University Human Resources Policies and Procedures.
Problem Resolution (PR) and Administrative Review (AdR)
Special procedures for problem solving and administrative review of performance problems or grievances are summarized below. The DI Clinic recognizes and adheres to other relevant legal, ethical, and institutional guidelines.
Problem Resolution (PR)
Problem resolution (PR) refers to formal, structured procedures designed to explore and collaboratively address difficulties or concerns which have been identified by training fellows or clinic staff. PR has the singular focus of clarifying concerns and identifying mutually acceptable action plans for resolving those concerns. Matters which are deemed too serious for PR, or which cannot be resolved through PR, will be referred for administrative review. Staff or fellows who are involved in PR but are not satisfied with the outcome may request an administrative review. In general, fellows and staff are encouraged to raise concerns directly with the person(s) involved before initiating PR. However, if for some reason this is problematic, fellows or staff may identify concerns through the PR process.
PR involves the following steps:
– The fellow or staff member who has identified a problem or concern will communicate this to the Director of Training (TD) or Director of Clinical Services, who will serve as facilitator of the process.
– The facilitator will keep a written record and provide all directly involved parties with a written summary at the end of the process.
– The facilitator will speak with all the directly involved parties and others who might have relevant or useful perspectives to share.
– The facilitator will prepare a “Problem Statement” which will include several specific sections (see below).
– The facilitator will arrange a problem resolution meeting with the directly involved parties and others who may be helpful in working out a solution. This meeting will be arranged in a timely matter, typically no more than 2 weeks after a problem has been formally identified.
– In the meeting, the facilitator will guide the discussion and seek to facilitate the construction of a mutually acceptable action plan for resolving the problem(s) which have been identified. .
– The facilitator will keep notes on the proceedings and produce a written summary for participants afterwards.
– If the meeting produces an acceptable problem resolution plan, all parties will have a chance to enact the plan with oversight by the facilitator. If the facilitator or any of the directly involved participants are not satisfied with the outcome of the process, or with the follow-through on the resolution plan, they may request another PR meeting or ask for an administrative review.
The problem statement for the PR meeting will:
– provide a sufficiently detailed description of the original problem and related concerns which have emerged during the exploration of the problem;
– identify the staff and fellows who are involved in the problem(s) and what their respective roles are;
– summarize the views of the involved parties regarding the problem(s);
– summarize efforts already made to address the problem(s);
– identify other context, history, or information which might inform the discussion;
– identify strengths and resources which might be engaged;
– Identify goals for the meeting.
Administrative Review (AdR)
Administrative review (AdR) refers to a formal administrative process for exploring and adjudicating grievances, performance problems, or other issues which may require administrative action. Similar to problem resolution, AdR includes exploration of difficulties and identification of options for addressing these difficulties. Unlike problem resolution, AdR involves direct adjudication by authorized DI Clinic administrators who will oversee fact-finding efforts and determine outcomes.
Administrative review may be initiated in several ways:
– If the fellow(s), staff member(s), or facilitator(s) involved in a Problem Resolution process are not satisfied with the outcome, they may request AdR.
– If the Executive Director determines that an issue or problem is potentially serious enough to require administrative intervention, he/she may initiate AdR.
– If a fellow or staff member feels she/he has a serious grievance which requires administrative intervention rather than problem resolution, she/he may request AdR.
The AdR process involves the following elements:
1. The Executive Director, or his/her representative(s), will keep a written record and provide all directly involved parties with a written summary at the end of the process.
2. The Executive Director, or his/her representative(s), will speak with all directly involved parties and others who might have relevant or useful perspectives to share. Any records from problem resolution or other efforts to address the concerns at hand will be reviewed. Fellows and staff have the option of having an ally/support person present during AdR interviews or discussions.
3. The Executive Director, or his/her representative(s), will consult with colleagues and other professionals as he/she deems necessary.
4. The Executive Director, or his/her representative(s), will draw from the range of possible actions (see above) and determine the processes and administrative actions through which the situation will be addressed. These processes and actions will be enacted in a timely matter, typically within 2 ½ weeks after a revi has been initiated.
5. Staff and fellows who are employees of Boston University have access to appeal procedures and other resources as defined in the University Human Resources Policies. These options include a) the right to appeal any AdR outcome to the University Provost; b) the option of consulting with Human Resources personnel for support and guidance; and c) the right to make use of all university policies and procedures for addressing grievances and concerns, including complaints about sexual harassment or discrimination. Additional information regarding university policies and procedures is made available to all new employees at employee orientation and on a continuing basis through the Office of Human Resources.
6. Fellows who are training at the DI Clinic as student clinicians have the option of appealing any AdR outcome to the Executive Director of the Danielsen Institute and/or to the appropriate administrator(s) in their school or program (who may then advocate for the fellow with DI Administrators).
7. When a training fellow is involved in AdR, the Executive Director or his/her representative(s), will communicate with the school or program with which the fellow is associated as indicated and appropriate.
 If the problem involves the Director of Training, or one of his/her individual supervisees, then the Director of Clinical Services will step in to serve as facilitator of the process, with support from the Executive Director.
 If the Administrative Review involves the Executive Director, or one of his/her individual supervisees, the Director of Clinical Services and/or the Director of Training will serve as the Administrative Reviewer, in consultation with the Director of Training, Director of Clinical Services, and Director of Finance and Administration (and the Provost’s Office if indicated).
The Danielsen Institute will document and permanently maintain accurate records of the intern’s training experiences, evaluations, and certificates of internship completion for evidence of the intern’s progress through the program, as well as for future reference and credentialing purposes.