Psychology Training Committee members are committed to the evaluation of all Trainees in the Psychologist Training Program at The University of Texas Medical Branch. Should a Trainee or group of Trainees feel a faculty member has been discriminatory or unfair during the evaluation process, the Trainee may choose to pursue the grievance procedure. If a Trainee is challenging a clinical evaluation, the Trainee is to initiate the grievance with the Director of Training who is responsible for supervising/coordinating the training experience. It is the responsibility of the Rotation Supervisor to document the reason(s) why the Trainee is not performing at an acceptable level.
A. Probation, Suspension, and Dismissal
The Psychology Trainee will be placed on probation if s/he receives a rating that requires "Detailed and Frequent Monitoring" on any one criteria of the Psychology Evaluation Form. The Trainee will be provided a letter from the UTMB Psychology Training Director outlining actions to be taken when they are placed on probation. Trainees who receive a rating that requires "Detailed and Frequent Monitoring" on ethical decision making or on personal issues interfering with patient therapy will not be allowed to continue seeing clients/patients and will be placed on Suspension. The Trainee will be referred to appropriate resources as a condition of continuing the Trainee training program. Trainees will be dismissed from the training program when they have two consecutive evaluation periods with a rating of "Detailed and Frequent Monitoring" in the same category.
B. UTMB Psychology Trainee Training Program Matriculation Decision
A Trainee may appeal the decision of the UTMB Psychology Trainee Training Program promotion decision and pertaining to his or her dismissal, suspension, promotion, probation, or readmission.
Psychology Trainees will not be certified as having completed their residency training program if they are dismissed from the program or were suspended from the program for more than the allotted leave time available. A letter from the Training Director will be mailed or emailed to the Trainee with conditions for completing the program if applicable.
a. After receiving an evaluation which a Trainee wishes to challenge, the Trainee should schedule an appointment with the supervisor issuing the Detailed and Frequent monitoring, stating the reason for the appointment. The appointment with the supervisor should be established within five (5) working days following the official evaluation appointment with the Training Director. In extenuating circumstances, where it would be difficult or impossible for the Trainee or the faculty member to schedule the appointment within the designated time limit, the appointment should be scheduled as soon thereafter as possible, in no case exceeding ten (10) working days from the official date of the posting.
b. Should the issue fail to be resolved in the meeting with the faculty member to the Trainee's satisfaction, the Trainee may request that a conference be scheduled with the Training Director. The conference with the Training Director should be held within three (3) working days of the Trainee/faculty conference. The Trainee conference with the Training Director will be held at such a time that the faculty member will be available to participate in the conference. The Training Director shall render an opinion regarding the Trainee's challenge of the evaluation within one (1) working day of the conference with the Trainee.
Up to this point, the grievance procedure has been informal with all information being exchanged orally. This guideline should serve to facilitate open communication between the faculty member and the Trainee without intimidating either party involved. It is hoped that the majority of Trainee grievances will be resolved at the informal level, with the inclusion of only the essential parties involved and preservation of confidentiality as no formal documentation has been generated.
1. Should the Training Director rule in favor of the supervising faculty member, the psychology Trainee has the right to appeal to the Ad Hoc Student Grievance and Appeals Committee (the Grievance Committee). The Grievance Committee is made up of up to two training team members (one whom is appointed chair), none of whom have had direct supervisory responsibility with the Trainee in question. An outside member will also be appointed to the committee with approval from the psychology Trainee and the Director of Training. This appeal represents the initial step in the Formal Grievance Procedure. The appeal of the grievance must be submitted in writing by the Trainee to the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee, stating clearly and concisely the circumstances and particulars relating to the evaluation or circumstance which initiated the grievance. The Trainee's written report to the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee must be submitted within five (5) working days following the conference with the Training Director. Failure to submit the report within the designated time will nullify the Trainee's right to challenge the evaluation in question which will stand as assigned.
2. The Chairperson of the Grievance Committee will, within three (3) working days upon receipt of the Trainee's written statement, identify the members to serve on the Grievance Committee. The committee will be formed only in the event a formal grievance is initiated.
The composition of the Grievance Committee shall be as follows. The Chairperson of the Grievance Committee will serve without vote. The three voting members will consist of up to two faculty members who are currently serving as members to the UTMB Psychology Training Committee and one faculty member identified by the chairperson as an outside member of the UTMB Psychology Training Team.
When all representatives have been identified, the Trainee and faculty member will be notified in writing of the implementation of the formal grievance procedure and informed of the members identified to serve on the Grievance Committee.
Should the Trainee or faculty member involved in the grievance question the composition of the Grievance Committee, they may request a replacement of its members. This is to insure that no members of the Grievance Committee express a bias for either party involved prior to the review of the grievance.
An effort to schedule the meeting not to exceed five (5) working days from the date of receipt of the Trainee's written statement by the Chairperson of the Grievance Committee will be made and flexibility in scheduling is designed to meet both the psychology trainee and the faculty member's schedule. A hearing date will be scheduled when all parties involved will be available and agree to the date. The hearing should be held at the earliest possible date to insure efficient remediation of the grievance, but the hearing does not have to be held within the five days described above.
The Chairperson of the Grievance Committee has the responsibility at this point to gather all pertinent data related to the grievance. The faculty member also has the right to provide the committee with a written statement regarding justification for the evaluation in question. All documentation pertaining to the grievance procedure will remain confidential and be provided only to the Trainee, faculty and Training Director involved, and each member of the Grievance Committee and should be distributed at least twenty-four hours prior to the scheduled hearing.
3. During the scheduled hearing, it is the Chairperson's responsibility to insure that the discussion and questions remain germane to the issue. The Committee members having reviewed the pertinent documentation presented by both Trainee and supervising faculty member shall have the right to question both the Trainee and the faculty member. Both parties have the right to an advisor during the hearing. At no time can the advisor address the Committee unless requested to do so. The advisor may, however, confer privately with his/her advisee during the hearing.
The number of people present during the hearing is limited to Committee members, grievant, respondent, their respective advisors and a recording secretary. Witnesses may be called into the room as needed. Deliberation of the three voting committee members will commence at the close of the exchange of information when all parties have been dismissed from the hearing. A vote of two-thirds of the total membership of the Committee is required to finalize its conclusion.
The written conclusion of the Grievance Committee shall be presented or emailed within one (1) working day to both the Trainee and faculty, who shall accept or reject it in writing or email to the Chairperson of the Committee within one (1) working day of receiving it.
4. If the conclusion of the Committee is rejected by either party, it may be appealed to the Medical or Agency Director of The University of Texas Psychology Training Program. An appeal to the Medical or Agency Director shall be made in writing not to exceed one (1) working day after rejecting the decision of the Grievance Committee and should clarify in detail why the decision should be overturned in the case there was a procedural error. It must include a copy of the written appeal submitted to the Grievance Committee, the written conclusion of the Committee and any additional comments of the Trainee or faculty related to the Committee's decision.
The Medical or Agency Director has the right to question any party involved as s/he deems necessary, including any member of the Grievance Committee before reaching a final decision on the matter. The Medical or Agency Director shall render his or her written decision within one class day of receiving the appeal. The decision of the Medial or Agency Director shall be final.
It should be stressed that the time limits stated in the above procedure serve to facilitate execution of the grievance process as quickly and efficiently as possible and are meant to facilitate the process though the timelines are not required to be strictly met when all parties agree.