Advisor Policy and Multiple Relationships

Advisor Policy

For the most part, we expect that a student will stay with the advisor he or she began working with at the start of the program.  In some cases, however, students will elect to change advisors for various reasons, including a shift in research interests, dissatisfaction with an advisor, or personal considerations.  It is also possible that an advisor may decide a change is in the student’s best interests and may initiate the process. 

When a student or faculty member decides there is a need to change advisor or advisee, he or she should follow the steps outlined in the PBS “Advisor-Advisee Change Policy” in the Department’s Graduate Program Policies and Procedures document.  Note that at one point in the Departmental policy, the graduate student is instructed to meet with the program head about an advisor change.  If that part of the process is reached, the next steps for changing one’s advisor in the Clinical Program are:

  1. Notify the Director of Clinical Training (DCT), who will remind the people involved of the process and will try to mediate if the problem is personal.  If the DCT is one of the principals, the mediator will be the clinical member of the Personnel Committee.
  2. At the next scheduled faculty meeting, the faculty will review the request.  Faculty who are willing and interested in working with the student will discuss the best possible choice of advisor, given the student’s research interests and specific needs for methodological guidance.  An advisor will be appointed by the end of the meeting, or as soon as possible.
  3. In the course of the review, if there seems to be a pattern in changing advisors either by a particular faculty member or by a particular student, broader issues will be discussed in a constructive spirit of collegiality.

Multiple Relationships

Although we expect that students will primarily work with their research advisor, we also encourage students to collaborate with other faculty in a number of arenas. For instance, faculty members from inside and outside the clinical program may serve as thesis or dissertation committee members. In addition, all cohorts have a cohort faculty advisor. Moreover, faculty members often serve as clinical supervisors in the PSC. Therefore, we anticipate that faculty will often have multiple professional roles (e.g., advisor, instructor, clinical supervisor) with students. We also expect that students are likely to have multiple relationships with one another, in that they may have multiple roles in their relationships with other graduate students (e.g., friends, colleagues, supervisors, supervisees) or undergraduate students (e.g., across teaching and research assistantships). Consistent with APA guidelines, we recommend that such multiple roles be considered and discussed to ensure they do not unduly bias or otherwise impact the students (see