PCSAS is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors (the Board), all appointed by the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS) Executive Committee to serve staggered, three-year, renewable terms. Five seats are filled by Clinical Scientists representing member programs in APCS. The remaining seats are filled by individuals representing four other stakeholder communities: a Public Representative; a current or recent clinical science Doctoral Student from an APCS program; a current or past Chair of a psychology department with an APCS clinical science program; and a Basic Psychological Scientist from an area other than clinical. The current Board members, with their seats, current affiliations, and terms are as follows:
The on-going operations and business affairs of PCSAS are managed by an Executive Director appointed by the PCSAS Board of Directors. The Executive Director, along with the Board President, is the official public voice of PCSAS, representing the organization in its internal and external relationships with applicant programs; the media; and state, federal, professional, and public entities.
On May 25, 2016, the PCSAS Board of Directors announced the appointment of Alan G. Kraut, former Executive Director of the Association for Psychological Science, as PCSAS Executive Director, replacing the retiring Richard McFall who had served as PCSAS’s founding Executive Director since 2008.
Applications for PCSAS accreditation are reviewed and evaluated by a nine-member Review Committee (RC), a standing committee defined in the PCSAS by-laws. Its members are appointed by the Board to serve staggered, three-year, renewable terms. RC members are chosen on the basis of their scientific qualifications; areas of expertise; and educational, professional and administrative credentials. In keeping with CHEA policies regarding equal opportunities to serve on governing bodies, selection of RC members is made without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other factors not directly relevant to qualifications for this service. Board members are eligible to serve on the RC. The goal in selecting individual RC members is to create a composite committee that is representative of the cutting edge in psychological clinical science, with the collective breadth and expertise to evaluate the quality of applicants’ doctoral education and training programs.
To the extent that the RC’s ability to evaluate programs is limited, due either to the review workload or to the special nature of candidate programs, the RC is empowered, with Board approval, to enlist ad hoc reviewers to assist in reviews. However, the role of ad hoc reviewers is advisory. They may be invited to attend and speak at review meetings or portions thereof, or may participate by phone or other electronic means, but they are non-voting participants. The ED also attends RC meetings as a non-voting participant, serving as the RC’s executive secretary, assigning cases to reviewers (in consultation with the RC Chair), organizing all RC activities, and handling all correspondence with applicant programs and other relevant parties.
PCSAS started accepting applications for accreditation June 1, 2009 and to date has accredited 35 programs. Current Review Committee members, with affiliations and terms, are as follows:
The Board of Directors has sought the support, advice, and counsel of distinguished psychological scientists on a variety of critical issues PCSAS faces as a new accreditation organization from funding and organizational issues to educational and scientific issues. The Board formalized this advisory role by creating an Advisory Council. The Council will grow slowly over time, but to date, these distinguished scientists have agreed to serve on the Advisory Council:
The RC has sole responsibility for all accreditation decisions and actions by PCSAS on specific applicant programs. All official decisions and actions by the RC require a quorum of at least six (6) members. A favorable accreditation decision requires that at least five (5) RC members vote in favor. Only RC members who are present throughout the review of a given program’s application are eligible to vote on that program’s accreditation decision. Votes on accreditation, whether categorical or in the form of ratings, are by confidential ballot.
RC meetings are not open to the public. The proceedings are not recorded, and reviewers are required to keep the proceedings confidential. RC reviews and decisions must be free from any outside influences that would undermine their integrity. RC procedures include protections, patterned after those of NIH, against unwarranted influences due to conflicts of interest. Ordinarily, RC decisions are final, although in rare cases of factual or procedural errors, the RC may elect (by a vote of at least 3 members) to re-review a program’s original application, without amendment, at the next opportunity. (See the Appeal Policy for more specific details about appeals.) Normally, a program that received a negative decision would need to “revise and resubmit” its application, based on the RC feedback, for future consideration.
Only the Executive Director is empowered to communicate on behalf of PCSAS regarding the review process, the evaluations, or the outcomes. These communications are done in a manner that protects the confidentiality and integrity of the process. Following each RC meeting, the Executive Director assembles the relevant review materials and drafts correspondence informing applicant programs of the RC’s evaluations and decisions.
The PCSAS Board does not have the authority to interfere with, or override, the RC’s accreditation decisions regarding individual applicant programs. While respecting the autonomy of the RC’s reviews and decisions, however, the Board must exercise its continuing responsibility to oversee and protect the integrity, fidelity, aims, and viability of PCSAS. The Board is responsible for setting and maintaining the general aims, principles, criteria, procedures, and policies to be implemented by the RC. The Board also is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the RC’s performance; for appointing RC members; for revising the aims, principles, criteria, procedures, and policies as appropriate; and for informing CHEA, doctoral programs, relevant organizations, and the public at large of its oversight and quality control activities. To ensure the transparency of PCSAS accreditation, the Board is expected to issue an annual report of the organization’s activities and any policy or procedure changes to interested institutions, programs, and agencies. To promote continuous quality improvement, the Board also is expected to seek periodic feedback and evaluation from the institutions and programs with which it has dealings.