CE Program Mission, Goals, Objectives, and Student Learning Outcomes
Graduate students will be engaged learners who meet and aspire to exceed the CACREP-based professional competencies and performance standard. CE program mission, goals, objectives and student learning outcomes for graduates of the University of Nebraska at Kearney Counselor Education program are based on the eight core areas of study and Clinical Mental Health Counseling program area standards as designated by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).
CE Mission Statement
The mission of the Counselor Education Program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney is to graduate knowledgeable and clinically skilled professional counselors who are competent to work with and advocate for diverse clients in a variety of settings, with special emphasis in rural mental health. The program helps students develop a strong counselor professional identity through ethical and competent practice as well as expanding self-awareness. Thus, graduate students are expected to demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal development. (approved February 2014)
Counseling Discipline (SLO #4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14)
Graduates will have knowledge of theory and core concepts in the counseling discipline including:
Clinical Competence (SLO #5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 15, 16)
Graduates will gain the ability to perform a wide range of therapeutic services for diverse client populations in a variety of settings including:
Professional Identity and Ethical Practice (SLO #1, 2, 18, 19, 20, 21)
Graduates will possess a strong counselor identity, professionalism and ethical practice including:
Professional Practice (SLO #3, 12, 17)
Graduates will demonstrate knowledge and skills related to the operation of mental health services and various professional counselor roles.
CE Program Evaluation and Student Progress Assessment Plan
The Counselor Education program conducts systematic and continuous assessment based on program evaluation and student progress assessments. Program mission, goals, objectives and student learning outcomes are developed, assessed and revised as necessary through self‐study on a regular schedule. The results of all program reviews are distributed to the CE Program Committee and are used on numerous occasions for discussion and evaluation. This systematic program evaluation process is based on input from current and former students, program faculty, Counselor Education Professional and Student Advisory Council members (e.g., public, institutional administrators), and cooperating agencies (e.g., site- supervisors, employers). The results are used to inform program modifications and distributed to key stake holders via reports disseminated through annual program review for NCA, CAEP/NCATE, Nebraska Department of Education Endorsement, student orientation meetings, annual CE Professional and Student Advisory Council, and posted on the Counselor Education Program website. The Dean of the College of Education, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research receive all review documents. Students are made aware of the documents through Flashpoint emails, announcements in classes and are available for student perusal on the CE Program website. CE program mission, goals, objectives and student learning outcomes are measured by the following:
Student Progress Assessments
Student Progress Review (SPR)
Assessment of student progress begins during the admission and intake process. Each faculty member evaluates each prospective student they interview or observe during the intake process. Individual data is compiled for the Counselor Education Committee and Department of Counseling and School Psychology faculty to consider and discuss during the Intake Decision meetings. Areas of discussion include: performance in counseling classes taken as ‘non-degree seeking student’, undergraduate grade point average, recommendations statement of purpose, diversity vignettes responses, intake interview performance and concerns, and other contacts with the student.
Department of Counseling and School Psychology faculty members are confident that each student admitted has the potential to be successful in graduate study. To assure success, the student’s major advisor plays an important role in giving feedback to the student. Students must meet with their assigned faculty advisor. Both students and faculty members are provided with many opportunities to assess the student’s compatibility with the program and the student’s progress toward completing a graduate degree. The Department of Counseling faculty hopes that the result of this review process will produce a better match between the goals of the student and the objectives of the Counseling program.
However, admission into the Department of Counseling and School Psychology does not guarantee graduation. According to the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2005, Section F.9.) the faculty in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology have the responsibility of monitoring student progress in the areas of knowledge, skills and personal competencies /dispositions, to set standards, and to evaluate students in an on-going manner. Therefore, throughout the student’s matriculation in the Counseling program, the Counselor Education Committee conducts on-going, systematic evaluation of all degree-seeking students throughout the course of their training. Benchmarks for Assessment of Student Progress (see pg. 17) depicts a progression flowchart of the benchmark assessments from admissions into the program, progress through the program, and expectations for program completion. Personal development is particularly evaluated during Techniques of Counseling, Group Counseling, Practicum, Multicultural Counseling, Marriage and Family Counseling, Advanced Practicum and the Internship Experience. These classes require in-depth experiential components that require the student to consider self in relation to others, i.e. family-of-origin assessment in Marriage and Family Counseling.
Based on this evaluation, students who are not making satisfactory progress toward the completion of a degree may be provided with a remediation plan, placed on departmental probationary status, or removed from graduate study. Consistent with established institutional due process policy and the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) code of ethics, CACREP standards and other relevant codes of ethics and standards of practice, if evaluations indicate that a student is not appropriate for the program, faculty members help facilitate the student’s transition out of the program and, if possible, into a more appropriate area of study.
Clinical Course Sequence
Some courses are didactic and knowledge-based while others require the application of knowledge and skills. Clinical coursework in Counselor Education is sequential in nature and include CSP 885 Techniques of Counseling, CSP 865 Group Counseling, CSP 885 Practicum in Counseling, CSP 866 Advanced Practicum in CMHC and CSP 892 Internship. These courses are competency based, i.e. certain skills and knowledge must be demonstrated with the appropriate personal competencies/dispositions in a consistent manner. Students must receive at least a grade of B or higher in each of the courses included in the Clinical Course Sequence and display personal competencies/dispositions that reflect the American Counseling Association Ethical Code 2005 in order to progress to the next course in the sequence. The student is allowed two opportunities to successfully complete each clinical course. If the student cannot successfully complete a course after two attempts, he/she will be dismissed from the program and advised for alternate graduate study or career options.
For Clinical Mental Health Counseling students, CSP 892 Internship in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires completion of 6 credit hours (600 clock hours - 300 direct/300 indirect) none of which are graded until all required clock hours have been accumulated. Thus, if students extend their internship beyond one semester and enroll in smaller blocks of credit hours on the way to accumulating the required clock hours, they are awarded a grade of Incomplete for these smaller hour blocks, all of which will be graded when the total clock hours are completed. Each failure of any credit hour block of internship due to not completing hours in the allowed time period will constitute a failure of CSP 892. To avoid a first failure of CSP 892, students must complete the required clock hours of internship within 4 semesters. CSP 893 and CSP 894 Internship in School Counseling requires completion of 4 credit hours (450 clock hours) that are taken in two blocks; 2 credit hours (200 clock hours) after completing CSP 861P, and 2 credit hours (250 clock hours) after completing CSP 885. Student Affairs students will complete a 3 credit, 300-hour internship in CSP 895. Any failure of a block for which the student has been given a grade of Incomplete due to not completing hours in the allowed time period constitutes a failure of internship.
In accordance with ACA Ethical Standards and CACREP requirements, student academic performance, professional development and personal development of the necessary knowledge, behaviors, attitudes and professional competencies to practice as a counselor in training are routinely monitored and discussed during Counselor Education Program Committee meetings and in consultation with department faculty members. Counselor Education Committee minutes reflect action on a student’s progress. A formal, systematic developmental assessment process, the Student Progress Review (SPR), is conducted by the Counselor Education Committee at three strategic points in the Clinical Course Sequence: CSP 855 Techniques of Counseling & Application for Candidacy (entry); CSP 885 Practicum in Counseling (mid-program) and during CSP 892 Internship (final). The introductory and mid-program evaluations are formative assessments where students are given feedback from program faculty with which they may monitor their own progress and make necessary improvements in their academic work, clinical skills, and dispositions. The final Student Progress Review (SPR) evaluation in CSP 892 Internship is summative. In this final evaluation students are expected to have met or be at target level in any category. Students receiving a not met level in any category during this evaluation will receive a failing grade for the CSP 892 Internship and will need to repeat the course in order to graduate from the program. Students who meet expectations will be sent notification indicating rating. If students are at target no further action needed. If there are deficiencies the advisor will contact the student. Students are required to meet with advisor to discuss growth points. The advisor documents discussion to be placed in the student file.
Counselor Education Program Evaluation and Student Progress Assessments
1. COE/CE Graduate /Alumni Surveys: An email request is sent to every graduating student to complete a College of Education (COE) Graduate Exit Survey and a Counselor Education (CE) Graduate Exit Survey to gather program evaluation data regarding graduates perceived quality of preparation and satisfaction. The COE/CE Alumni Surveys are conducted 1-3 years post-graduate to assess perceived efficacy of knowledge, skill and dispositions as professional counselor in the field. The most recent results are presented in COE Graduate Exit 13F Data, CE Graduate Survey 13F, CE Graduate Survey Data 13F, CE Graduate Survey Reports 13F, CE Graduate Survey Qualitative Summary 13F. Due to new CAEP accreditation requirements, the new College of Education Graduate Survey has been revised exclusively for school professionals therefore CMHC graduates will no longer complete the COE Graduate Survey.
2. COE/CE Site Supervisor/Employer Survey: An email request is sent to every graduating student requesting that they forward the Site Supervisor/Employer Survey to their employer so that they can evaluate perceived quality of preparation and satisfaction. The email request is also sent directly to Internship Site Supervisors. The survey is conducted 1-3 years post-graduate to determine perceived efficacy of knowledge, skill and dispositions as professional counselor in the field. The most recent CE Site Supervisor/Employer Survey 13F, Site Supervisor/Employer Survey Data 13F and Site Supervisor/Employer Report 13F are provided.
3. CE Professional and Student Advisory Council: An advisory council for counselor education met for the first time in January 1999 and has been held annually since. The CE Professional and Student Advisory Board is comprised of personnel from collaborating agencies (e.g, Region 3, BHECN, UNK Counseling Care, Richard Young Hospital, Burke’s and Associates, Private Practice, Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center, central Nebraska public school districts, etc.) and current students to ensure that program objectives reflect current field knowledge and projected needs of an increasingly diverse Nebraska with unique workforce development challenges due to our rural context. Reciprocal exchange of ideas enables program faculty to receive input from professional in the field, current students, and to proactively and reactively collaborate regarding proposed changes in mission, goals and program emphasis (see CMHC Advisory Council Minutes 2014, Student Advisory Council Minutes 2014, & CMHC Advisory Council Minutes 2013). CE Program Evaluation and Student Learning Outcome Assessment results are presented and discussed (see Advisory Council Presentation 2014 & Advisory Council Presentation 2013).
4. Internship Supervisor Evaluations: Every student is required to complete an internship related to the specific program (i.e., Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling and Student Affairs). Formative (mid-term) and summative (final) evaluations are completed regarding both the efficacy and importance of skills development as perceived by the field site supervisor. These data make possible the determination of student performance and to assess the relationship between relevancy of training goals and needs in the field. CMHC Internship Evaluation Summary for 2012-13 and the CE Internship Report 13F is provided.
5. Comps Case Study Exam. All students seeking graduate degrees are required to complete a written, case study comprehensive examination. The comprehensive exam needs to be taken the semester of graduation. The student must register with the department to take comprehensive exam. Failure to pass comprehensive exam may result in dismissal from the program. Students may sit for the comprehensive exam no more than twice. The CMHC Comps Results for 2012-13 and the CE Comps Report 13F are provided.
6. Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). The Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) is an exit examination required of all Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK). Beginning in Fall 2014, the faculty replaced the locally generated objective comprehensive exam with the CPCE. Thus, all students are required to take the CPCE near the end of their programs of study. The CPCE offers a way to compare local student performance against a national sample for the eight core CACREP areas. In addition to assessing individual student outcomes, the CPCE may serve as a programmatic evaluation. The CPCE assists to ensure minimum competence of student knowledge at the beginning of internship. To be implemented Fall 2014 for new admits in CSP 892 Internship.
7. National Counselor Exam (NCE). CMHC students are strongly recommended to submit a National Certified Counselor (NCC) application and sit for the NCE. As a CACREP accredited counseling program, students in the UNK Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is eligible to take the NCE exam during the academic year in which they receive their degree two times a year, in October and April. Results of the NCE provide collective feedback that can be used by the program in developing/adapting curriculum. The UNK Counselor Education Program NCE Summary Results 2013S -2008F and NCE Report 13F are provided.
8. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Formal, systematic, developmental assessment process based on Student Progress Reviews (SPRs) and program Benchmark Assignments. The Student Progress Review (SPR) assesses the 4 CE Program objectives and 21 SLO’s. The SPR is conducted by the Counselor Education Committee at three strategic points in the Clinical Course Sequence: CSP 855 Techniques of Counseling & Application for Candidacy (entry); CSP 885 Practicum in Counseling (mid-program) and during CSP 892 Internship (final). The introductory and mid-program evaluations are formative assessments where students are given feedback from program faculty with which they may monitor their own progress and make necessary improvements in their academic work, clinical skills, and dispositions. The final Student Progress Review (SPR) evaluation in CSP 892 Internship is summative. Students are assessed on Benchmark Assignments in each CMHC course. Twenty-one SLO’s were identified and benchmark assignment rubrics created for each throughout the CMHC coursework (see Benchmark Assignment Matrix). The CE Program Evaluation Data Summary and SLO Data Reporting Form are provided.
Clinical Mental Health Counseling
CACREP Vital Statistics Program Outcomes
Students enrolled in the graduate counseling program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney can expect a quality education that prepares them for work in the counseling field. Once accepted in the program, students can expect to complete their Master of Science degree and find work in the field. The completion rate for students in the counseling program was 90% over the past year with 14 students graduating. Students in the program also consistently achieve high pass rates on the required licensing examination and are able to find work in the field. In 2013, the pass rate for the counseling licensure exam was 90% with a job placement percentage of 90%. The counseling program at UNK is dedicated to students and their future success.