Postdoctoral Fellowship, Denver FIRST

Apply now Job no: 492844
Work type: Postdoc / Research / Fellow
Location: Denver, CO
Categories: Postdoc / Fellow

The University of Denver (DU) is a top ranked university in a thriving city at the base of the Rocky Mountains. The Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at DU was created in 1976 to house one of the first PsyD programs in the country, under the then-new Vail training model (practitioner-scholar). The PsyD program is the nation’s second-oldest and has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1979. GSPP provides four specialized master’s programs: sport coaching, sport and performance psychology, forensic psychology, and international disaster psychology. The School also has a partially affiliated, APA-accredited internship consortium and in-house service clinics. All programs provide comprehensive training for applied work within an academic environment of cooperation and collaboration that fosters critical thinking and self-determined functioning; we are committed to providing cultural competence for all our students. We use our knowledge of multiculturalism and individual differences to make our program as welcoming and inclusive as we can to all students, staff, and faculty.

As a professional college, GSPP is focused on high level integration of applied practice, theory, research, and scholarship. Denver FIRST adheres to the practitioner-scholar philosophy and emphasizes real-world learning and applied research endeavors. For more information about GSPP, please consult the website:

Founded in 2014 to serve as a regional hub for forensic mental health education, practice, and consultation, Denver Forensic Institute of Research, Service and Training (Denver FIRST) fosters community and university partnerships through a host of service learning opportunities for graduate students working with underserved forensic populations in the local community.

Denver FIRST is integrated with the Masters in Forensic Psychology (MAFP) Program and the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program at GSPP, supported by core GSPP faculty under the leadership of Director Neil Gowensmith, PhD, and staffed by GSPP students. Primarily, Denver FIRST serves as a go-to setting for forensic evaluation, outpatient competency restoration, research, grants, and consultation in forensic mental health in the Denver metro area and beyond.

Recently named as the best place to live in the United States, Denver is home to a wide range of world-class museums, award-winning restaurants, trendy clubs and shopping areas, several decorated universities, and seven professional sports teams. Add to all of this one of the nations largest city park systems, 650 miles of paved bike paths, and surprisingly moderate winters and you realize why Denver is the place to be.

General Summary

We are pleased to announce Denver FIRST’s fifth annual postdoctoral fellowship position at the University of Denver. The fellowship provides opportunities for forensic practice, supervision, research, and teaching. Primarily, the fellowship offers a blend of forensic evaluation practice and academic duties.

The 12-month (4-quarter), full-time postdoctoral fellowship position will be conducted under the auspices of Denver FIRST. Each fellow will complete a minimum of 2000 hours of training over the course of the year, with at least 500 hours (25%) of that time spent in the direct provision of professional forensic psychological services such as assessment (e.g., competency to proceed, legal sanity, violence risk, and other types of psycho-legal evaluations), treatment, and consultation. Training will be supervised by a licensed psychologist, with a minimum of 2 hours of onsite, in-person supervision per week. All reports submitted to the court will be cosigned by the primary supervisor. The fellow will be formally evaluated on a semi-annual basis pursuant to a written evaluation process that outlines progress over the course of the year, including identification of strengths and limitations of each fellow’s skills as an early career forensic psychologist. The GSPP follows a practitioner/scholar model, and the fellow will be presented with numerous opportunities for both didactic and applied training, clinical work, teaching, and research.

The fellow is considered a trainee and may not be paid on a fee-for-service basis. There is one position available. The fellowship is a 12-month, full-time position with an expected average work week of 40-45 hours. Because the fellowship program is demanding, outside employment is strongly discouraged. The postdoctoral fellow will be paid an estimated stipend of $50,004.00 for the 2020-2021 training year (exact salary is TBD but is tied to the NIH postdoctoral fellow salary requirement). Additional compensation and benefits in the form of health insurance, paid vacation and sick leave, and liability coverage for program-related on- and off-site activities will be provided. Given the requirement that the fellow attend the annual AP-LS Conference, leave will be provided accordingly. Limited funding may be available for professional development activities, and authorized leave time for these activities may be possible (but is not guaranteed).

The fellow will have an office and access to various resources from DU. Each fellow will have a computer with word processing software, access to printers, e-mail, and law and psychology databases through the university library.

Certification. Upon completion of the postdoctoral training, the fellow will receive documentation clearly delineating the year the fellow participated in the training program.

Essential Functions

The goal of the fellowship is to produce psychologists with knowledge of the interaction between the law and psychology, and who are able to assume positions in a variety of settings. The fellowship emphasizes training in forensic evaluation and academia. The training program is therefore designed as an integrated experience in the practice of forensic psychology, incorporating treatment and assessment experiences, as well as research, teaching, supervision, and didactic trainings. Core didactics are provided through a structured, written curriculum with clearly defined training goals and objectives overseen by the training director. These may take the form of formal courses or a regular series of seminars. Content will include case law, ethics, and sociocultural/ethnic factors in the context of forensic assessment and treatment. Didactics will be offered in collaboration with other local postdoctoral fellowships in forensic psychology and forensic psychiatry. The requirements of the fellowship are designed to fulfill the requirements for postdoctoral psychology licensure in the state of Colorado and to satisfy Colorado statutory requirements regarding qualifications to conduct sanity and competency to proceed evaluations.

Forensic psychology encompasses a range of practice areas far broader than any single training program could address. The fellowship program at Denver FIRST emphasizes certain core competencies, while also providing for elective experiences, which are described later. It is our philosophy that a forensic psychologist can expand upon the core competencies in order to maintain a high standard of work in whatever areas are chosen for future forensic practice. For example, the ability to search for and apply case law regarding a clinical issue is broadly applicable across jurisdictions and practice areas. The fellowship program at Denver FIRST has been formally determined to meet the criteria for the American Board of Forensic Psychology (ABFP) five-year experience waiver.

Duties will include a combination of clinical experiences and academic responsibilities. Current clinical service opportunities include conducting forensic mental health evaluations through Denver FIRST. Additional clinical experiences may be obtained in line with the fellow’s stated interests (i.e., work in a local correctional facility, community corrections office, treatment agency, etc.). The fellow will also supervise GSPP students at the doctoral and/or masters level in their provision of forensic services; this supervision will, in turn, be supervised by a licensed psychologist. All activities will run concurrently throughout the training year.

Academic responsibilities will include teaching multiple graduate-level forensic psychology courses, participating in research, attending and participating in didactics, and providing trainings and workshops as opportunities arise. Toward the goal of achieving the core competencies listed above, the fellowship program provides a series of core experiences including supervised practice in forensic evaluation, didactic seminars, teaching and supervision, and research.

In a sample work week, the fellow will likely spend three days on clinical services, one day on research and teaching, and one day for didactics and supervision. This will of course vary week to week, depending on pressing duties. We strive to meet the fellow’s training interests and can carve out time for additional clinical work in various settings, research, or teaching. A typical month will likely see the fellow completing two evaluations under supervision, conducting supervision, working on research, and preparing or actively teaching a weekly course in the GSPP.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The successful fellow will be able to work autonomously. Although supervision is a consistent part of the fellow’s experience, the work of a postdoctoral fellow demands more independence and autonomy than what is found in a pre-doctoral internship program. The Denver FIRST fellowship offers a robust and complex set of training opportunities, with no set schedule or structure aside from the didactic seminar. Instead, it approximates an academic and clinical position. Therefore, time management, initiative, and organization are key.

The fellowship also demands a great deal of communication between the fellow and various professionals. Most often this comes in the form of communicating regularly with attorneys. Fellows (under supervision) will set the scope of the evaluation, gather and clarify information, present findings, and potentially testify on any of the cases on which they work.

Required Qualifications

  • PsyD or PhD in clinical psychology, forensic psychology, or a closely related discipline.
    • ABD will be considered at the time of application but applicants may have their offers rescinded if doctoral requirements are not met (or will go unmet) prior to the fellowship start date.
  • Completed or currently be in the process of completing an APA approved predoctoral internship.

 Due to the forensic nature of this fellowship, candidates must be able to pass a background check.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Document a strong history of interest, training, and experience in the forensic arena. Areas of particular interest include assessment, competency evaluation and restoration, correctional psychology, research, teaching, and supervision.
  • Prior teaching experience.

Work Schedule
Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm, with some evenings and/or weekends as required.

Application Deadline
For best consideration, please submit your application materials by 4:00 p.m. (MST) on January 6, 2020.

Special Instructions
Candidates must apply online through to be considered. Only applications submitted online will be accepted.

Salary Range:
Salary will be in line with NIH guidelines for post-doctoral fellowships.

Please include the following documents with your application:

1) A cover letter describing your fit with this position, including a statement of professional interests, experience, and training. The University is committed to building a diverse and inclusive educational environment. Please include in your cover letter information about how you will advance this commitment through your service, teaching, and research
2) A curriculum vitae
3) Unofficial graduate transcript(s)
4) Syllabi of any courses you have taught (optional)
5) Three letters of reference, at least one of which should be from a direct clinical supervisor in a forensic setting and one of which should be from your primary internship supervisor to: Neil Gowensmith, Ph.D.,
The University of Denver, Graduate School of Professional Psychology and Denver FIRST are committed to building a diverse and inclusive educational environment. We encourage knowledge of, respect for, and development of skills to effectively engage with diverse individuals and communities.
The University of Denver is committed to enhancing the diversity of its faculty and staff. We are an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of age, race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, military/ veteran status or any other status protected by law.

All offers of employment are based upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check.

Applications close:

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