Preparing budding psychologists for the field today is different from training them 10, five or even one year ago. Among today's concerns: How can psychologists be recognized as integral members of health-care teams as the Affordable Care Act is implemented? What is the best way to train and evaluate students using a competency-based approach? And, how can supervisors integrate all levels of training, from doctoral to internship to postdoctoral?
These are just some of the questions Michael C. Roberts, PhD, hopes to address as the new editor of Training and Education in ProfessionalPsychology (TEPP), a journal published by APA and the Association of Psychology and Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.
"I see this journal as working toward creating a stronger evidence base for education and training," says Roberts, a clinical child psychologist at the University of Kansas. "It's not enough to have opinions and great ideas. We have to evaluate what we're doing and create a strong empirical base for outcomes to help us do what we do and try to get better."
As editor, Roberts aims to shed light on the discrepancy in numbers between internship positions and applicants, building on the momentum gained when APA passed the internship stimulus package in October. "Internships are in a precarious place," he says. "TEPP will need to focus more on providing information resources for internships in the future."
To change that, Roberts is encouraging internship directors, postdoctoral program faculty and other psychologists in supervisory positions to evaluate and write about their experiences for the journal — regardless of their authorship experience.
He plans to ease the publication process for new authors by encouraging them to pair up with experienced writers. He also wants to quickly provide helpful feedback for all authors, and ensure edits remain true to the authors' voices. "I don't view the editor as a gatekeeper, but more as a door opener," he says.
Roberts joined the University of Kansas faculty in 1991 to launch its clinical child psychology program, which he directed until July. He brings to his new role experience in education and editing, including work with the interorganizational Health Services Psychology Education Collaboration and most recently as chair of APA's Board of Educational Affairs and editor of Professional Psychology: Research and Practice. His terms for both ended in December.
"As an editor, you get to see things that are percolating and zeitgeists and trends as they start to develop, and I think that's exciting," he says. "But you can also start soliciting and putting out calls for papers, and that helps shape the next generation."