Graduates' Evaluation for CACREP

Program Graduates' Evaluation of the Counselor Education Program

May 2011

May 2002

Introduction

This assessment was developed as part of the requirements for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation. Our program graduates are a valuable source of feedback about our program. As one of only four schools in New York State with CACREP accreditation, conducting periodic surveys not only enhances programmatic planning efforts but also helps to ensure continued CACREP accreditation. This particular survey was conducted as a follow-up to the survey of graduates conducted in Spring, 2000, to correct an omission of graduates who had also been undergraduates at SUNY Plattsburgh. For the earlier survey, a list of Counselor Education Program graduates who graduated during the period including May 1995 - December of 1999 was requested from the alumni office. Unfortunately, unknown to the research team at the time the survey was distributed, the alumni office only identified to the team those program graduates who were not undergraduate students at SUNY Plattsburgh. The majority of program graduates during this period of time were undergraduate students at Plattsburgh State. Therefore, the majority of program graduates were not included in the study.

Sample

A list of 125 Counselor Education Program graduates who were also undergraduates at SUNY Plattsburgh, and had graduated from one of the Counselor Education's three programs during the period including May 1995 - December of 1999, was requested from the alumni office.

Methodology

The surveys were mailed to 125 Counselor Education Program graduates. 43 of the 125 program graduates sent surveys, or 34%, returned completed surveys. 5 of the returned surveys were from graduates of both the Student Affairs and School Counseling programs. 1 respondent was a graduate of both the Community Counseling and School Counseling program. 9 respondents were graduates of the Student Affairs program only. 7 respondents were graduates of the Community Counseling program only, and 18 graduated from the School Counseling program.

Survey

Summary of Results

Respondents were asked to use the following scale to answer the survey questions:

5 Very significantly

4 Significantly

3 Somewhat

2 Very Little

1 Not at all

0 No opinion or does not apply

A. The Counselor Education Program at SUNY Plattsburgh has contributed to my knowledge and skills competency in:

Knowledge
Question Mean Median Mode Range
1. human growth and development 4.1 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
2. social and cultural foundations of counseling 4.2 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
3. helping relationships 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
4. group counseling 4.4 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
5. career and lifestyle development 4.0 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
6. appraisal instruments and methods 3.7 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
7. research and program evaluation 3.6 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
8. professional orientation 4.3 4.0 4.0 2 - 5

 

Skills
Question Mean Median Mode Range
1. human growth and development 4.1 4.0 4.0 3 - 5
2. social and cultural foundations of counseling 4.1 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
3. helping relationships        
4. group counseling 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
5. career and lifestyle development 4.2 5.0 4.5 2 - 5
6. appraisal instruments and methods 4.0 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
7. research and program evaluation 3.6 3.0 4.0 2 - 5
8. professional orientation 3.5 4.0 4.0 2 - 5

 

The Counselor Education Program contributed to my becoming a professional counselor able to help clients:
Question Mean Median Mode Range
9. develop their resources 4.4 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
10. resolve problems of adjustment 4.4 5.0 4.0 3 - 5
11. make decisions 4.4 5.0 4.0 3 - 5
12. facilitate personal growth 4.4 5.0 5.0 3 - 5

 

The Counselor Education Program contributed to my:
Question Mean Median Mode Range
13. understanding counseling processes, theories and models 4.7 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
14. skills in the effective use of counseling methods 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
15. ability to effectively apply basic processes of counseling 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
16. ability to effectively apply basic processes of consulting 4.1 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
17. understanding the diverse needs of ethnic and cultural groups 3.8 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
18. ability to recognize, assess and intervene in suicide risk situations 4.3 5.0 4.8 3 - 5
19. ability to effectively employ consultation procedures 3.9 4.0 4.0 2 - 5

 

The Counselor Education Program contributed to my becoming a professional counselor able to help clients:
Question Mean Median Mode Range
9. develop their resources 4.4 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
10. resolve problems of adjustment 4.4 5.0 4.0 3 - 5
11. make decisions 4.4 5.0 4.0 3 - 5
12. facilitate personal growth 4.4 5.0 5.0 3 - 5

 

The Counselor Education Program contributed to my:
Question Mean Median Mode Range
13. understanding counseling processes, theories and models 4.7 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
14. skills in the effective use of counseling methods 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
15. ability to effectively apply basic processes of counseling 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
16. ability to effectively apply basic processes of consulting 4.1 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
17. understanding the diverse needs of ethnic and cultural groups 3.8 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
18. ability to recognize, assess and intervene in suicide risk situations 4.3 5.0 4.8 3 - 5
19. ability to effectively employ consultation procedures 3.9 4.0 4.0 2 - 5

 

The Counselor Education Program contributed to my:
Question Mean Median Mode Range
20. consideration of legal issues in counseling 4.0 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
21. consideration of ethical practices in counseling 4.6 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
22. awareness of self in the counseling process 4.7 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
23. commitment to professional growth 4.7 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
24. commitment to personal growth 4.7 5.0 5.0 4 - 5
25. commitment to the counseling profession 4.6 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
26. commitment to providing leadership to the profession 4.2 5.0 4.0 2 - 5
27. awareness of professional organizations 4.3 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
28. overall development of a professional identity 4.3 5.0 5.0 2 - 5
29. knowledge of my current professional environment 4.0 5.0 4.0 2 - 5

 

Suggestions for revision, addition, or deletion of program objective:
  1. Additional supervised training in each theory, as well as more demonstration would be helpful.
  2. Overall excellent.
  3. Excellent courses in suicidology, evaluation of tests and measurements, and in preparing me for counseling skills.
  4. HIV/AIDS related courses, counseling, release importance, homeless overview- techniques, barriers, outreach skills.
  5. I would encourage students in the school counseling program to work on high school graduation requirements. I felt unprepared for my internship and my first job. The reality is that schools expect you to know graduation requirements- school counselors are expected to be the experts.
  6. I found the program priceless. I especially notice the differences in education I received as I meet with counselors and interns whom underwent programs at different colleges.
  7. Plattsburgh provided me with an excellent education and the skills I learned are used almost on a daily basis.
  8. I do not recall taking any course in human development while in the program- although it was a part of some courses like counseling theory.
  9. School violence awareness and proactive ways to decrease it.
  10. Program needs to offer Human Sexuality to meet most learning requirements.
Additional comments about your experience in the program:
  1. I wouldn't be doing a job that I love without it!
  2. The counseling program allowed me to explore my own identity and grow as a person.
  3. I have nothing but praise for the Plattsburgh Counseling Program. All my professors were highly dedicated skilled people who truly influenced who I am as a professional and as a person in general. There is not a day that goes by where I do not utilize my knowledge or an example I obtained from Plattsburgh State. If I never said it before, THANK YOU ALL PROFESSIONAL AND SUPPORT STAFF!
  4. I truly enjoyed the clg. program and learned a lot. I felt competent in my skills. My school clg. internship was not at all helpful to me. If anything it hurt me since _______ believed in the school counselor _________. He was excellent on the computer. He shared a bit of that knowledge with me. He gave me no direction or guidance otherwise. I felt I was between a rock and a hard place- with no place to go for help. I got through the internship but do not feel competent as a school counselor. This makes me very ill since I really don't have the time/money to re-do an internship. I wish I had an answer since I would like to pursue this career.
  5. 1) I'm grateful that I was encouraged to take the NCC exam. It has made a huge difference for me. Although there are three counselor ed. programs in the Albany area, the NCC helped me stand out among applicants for school counseling positions. 2) I would encourage anyone who wants to work in a school to take Suicidology. When you have a student threatening to harm themselves, you need to know what to do.
  6. I encourage the counseling program to add into cultural counseling the aspects of poverty, especially in rural settings, on counslees and counselor perspectives, problem-solving, and needs/wants. I learned the numerous differences needed when counseling with an impoverished youth population.
  7. Overall, I thought the program was excellent! My only suggestion is that the research component could be beefed-up a bit for those interested in going on for a Ph.D. or becoming researchers.
  8. It's an extraordinary program. I miss the faculty a great deal- what a wonderful group of people.
  9. More frequent visitations by my supervisor to my practicum and internship settings would have been beneficial.
  10. I was able to mature both professionally and personally with the assistance of my professors.
  11. The longer I've been in the field, the more I realize I wasn't trained to be a school counselor, but a mental health counselor in a school. The program must change to reflect the reality of the profession.
  12. Thoroughly enjoyed my time at Plattsburgh. Wished I had gotten more out of the tests and measures course!

B. This part applies only to graduates of the Community Counseling Program.

5 Very significantly

4 Significantly

3 Somewhat

2 Very Little

1 Not at all

0 No opinion or does not apply

B. The Community Counseling Program contributed to my ability to:
Question Mean Median Mode Range
1. work in a variety of community settings 4.3 5.0 5.0 3 - 5
2. apply developmental models to clients 4.1 5.0 4.0 3 - 5
3. apply remedial models to clients 3.8 3.0 4.0 3 - 5
4. understand the nature of psychopathology in relation to human development 4.6 5.0 5.0 4 - 5
5. assess the major forms of mental disorders 4.6 5.0 5.0 4 - 5
6. use systems approach to analyze family patterns 3.8 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
7. use systems approach to analyze inter-agency patterns 3.8 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
8. use systems approach to analyze intra-agency patterns 3.8 4.0 4.0 2 - 5
9. develop treatment models for affecting changes in individual clients 4.1 4.0 4.0 3 - 5
10. develop treatment models for affecting changes in couples 3.4 3.0 3.0 2 - 5
11. develop treatment models for affecting changes in families 3.5 3.0 3.0 2 - 5
12. produce clinical psychosocial histories 3.9 5.0 4.0 2 - 5
13. construct clinical assessments 4.0 5.0 4.0 2 - 5
14. develop client psychosocial histories 4.0 5.0 4.0 2 - 5

 

 

Suggestions for revision, addition, or deletion of program objectives:
  1. Internship at CVPH Mental Health Unit was particularly helpful.
  2. General overview of different pharmacological medications for MH and HIV/AIDS. When I got to see what people are expected to take and the numerous side effects that occur, I was surprised. Its important to stress people have choices as to take or not to take meds.
  3. Include an elective/course addressing issues of supervision in a professional environment!! Continue to develop the adventure based counseling casework!!
  4. Need more comprehensive instruction for assessments.
  5. Judging by some of these items, I'm guessing there's been more focus on "treatment models, psychosocial histories and assessments" since I graduated in _______. I would have appreciated more of this information. Perhaps I should take a course now.
Additional comments about your experience in the program:
  1. Bringing in providers in the field to speak about their experiences was always helpful. Plattsburgh State grads doing so is also very motivational. Would also make myself available to do so if ever needed.
  2. The counseling program provided the necessary foundation that has prepared graduates to practice/counsel successfully and professionally.

C. The data for the student affairs section were unusable because of a typographical error in the numbering scale.

Suggestions for revision, addition, or deletion of program objectives:
  1. Would like to have had more instruction on history of higher ed, higher ed and the law, more functional areas of student affairs, etc.
  2. Perhaps encourage or require teaching experience (e.g. teach an undergraduate course). Explore role as instructor to a greater extent. {My experiences as a college counselor (1 year) provided an excellent source of knowledge and skills, and it would've been helpful to teach as well}.
  3. In addition to theory, include more "real world" practice.
Additional comments about your experience in the program:
  1. Doing this program part-time over a number of years produced a lack of continuity and intensity. I had some difficulty "investing" in the program one course at a time.
  2. I use my knowledge of Student Affairs when providing group counseling and individual counseling to college bound Juniors and Seniors and their parents.
  3. My graduate assistantship through __________ as a ___________was paramount to my experience as were my internship and practicum experiences.
  4. My role as a ________(2 yrs.) helped tremendously in the application of student affairs theories and concepts.
  5. It was/is a great program. I had a wonderful experience and would not hesitate to recommend it to someone.
  6. Excellent experience.

D. The data for the school counseling section were unusable because of a typographical error in the numbering scale.

Suggestions for revision, addition, or deletion of program objectives:

 

  1. Two courses that could have been/should have been required as part of the school program: 1) counseling adolescents, 2) something specifically related to post- high school planning, such as an overview of colleges, military, vocations (already covered very well), alternative programs, etc.
  2. As previously stated, I think students would benefit from having a working knowledge of graduation requirements when they complete the program and I would suggest making suicidology a required course.
  3. I did need to learn the New York State High School standards required for high school graduation on my own. I feel that it's vital to expose students intending to work in high schools to these requirements.
  4. In question #1, I marked "very little", but this is because I chose to focus on Grades 6-12, not a shortcoming of the Counseling program.
  5. I strongly suggest that all school counselor candidates be required to have practicum/internship experiences at both educational levels- elementary and secondary.
  6. Master scheduling component.
  7. More emphasis on school counselors as leaders. Use the Education Trust's stuff! I received no information on comprehensive guidance (i.e. Gysber's stuff). This is where the profession is at!
Additional comments about your experience in the program:
  1. I felt as if additional work within the "Counselor in the Schools" course could have been helpful. I enjoyed the course very much, in reality however, there is so little time in school to do everything. Perhaps a more realistic look at what "should" be done and what "could" be done would better prepare counselors for the real thing...Does that make sense?!!!
  2. I had a super experience in the counseling program and attribute a lot of that to Mary, Don, Ken, and Rich! If I can be a resource in any way, I'd be glad to be a resource in the ________ area.
  3. The program was excellent in most aspects; however, I do not believe I knew enough of the practical, day to day details involved in the profession. I think graduation requirements for h.s. students should be made clear to us before we graduate.
  4. I use much of what I learned at various times throughout the school year. For example, the mechanisms for teamwork when meshing with a Building Evaluation Team of diverse staff members. We all need to work together to assist on at-risk student work through his/her obstacle(s). I also use the information when leading a group of high school peer counselors.
  5. Limited experience as a school counselor was disappointing. In my experience, I found school not at all interested in true counseling- only a band-aid approach to "fixing" behavior problems in the classroom. The SUNY program represented an ideal model of school counseling- I feel that few school counselors have the luxury of doing this work.
  6. My internship as a guidance counselor was an important feature of my education in this track. It helped me to better understand the inner workings of the guidance dept. and of course, learn through application of methods, theories, etc.
  7. I have been very pleased with my preparation at Plattsburgh. I believe it is a far superior program to many others in NYS. I firmly believe that the internship and practicum are the greatest learning experiences, but the full 60 credit hour program covers the bases completely as well.
  8. My internship experience at the 7-12 grade level did not provide me with the tools/skills needed to gain a solid base needed for effective counseling at the secondary level- this was due to absence of my site cooperating school counselor and little knowledge, direction, or responsibilities provided to me by her.
  9. My training was to act as a mental health counselor in a school. This is not the way education works. Get some teachers who've worked as school counselors in the recent past. I was not trained for the job I have. Counseling is a part of the job, but just a part. Students should learn about Special Ed., educational theory, working with teachers, and especially the New York State standards. None of this was covered in the program.
Additional items:
  1. Your current salary (or most recent):
    a) 3 respondent reported salaries below 20,000
    b) 1 respondent reported a salary of 20,000 to 24, 999
    c) 0 respondents reported a salary of 25, 000 to 29,999
    d) 5 respondents reported salaries of 30,000 to 34,999
    e) 13 respondents reported salaries of 35,000 to 34,999
    f) 7 respondents reported salaries of 40,000 to 44,999
    g) 9 respondents reported salaries of 45,000 to 49, 999
    h) 2 respondents reported salaries of 50,000 to 59, 999
    i) 0 respondents reported salaries of 60,000 to 69,999
    j) 1 respondent reported a salary above 70,000
  2. Are you currently employed full-time or part-time?
    40 respondents reported being employed full-time and 5 reported being employed part-time.
  3. If you were actively seeking employment as a counselor after graduation, how long (months) did it take you to find a counseling position?
    Mean= 5.3
    Median= 3.0
    Mode= 2.0
    (Range: 0.5 - 18)
  4. What computer or internet technology skills do you think counseling students should be competent in?
    a) Microsoft Word and the ability to search for information online.
    b) Career programs, PowerPoint, Microsoft word, internet search engines, i.e. Google.
    c) Basic use of internet, email, spreadsheets, word processing
    d) ExPan, Collegeview, myrodd.com
    e) All...esp. helpful would be the ability to design database for client records.
    f) Microsoft Works, basic internet searches
    g) Word processing, internet search
    h) As many as possible (PowerPoint for presentations)
    i) Word processing, internet search
    j) Microsoft Works, basic internet searches
    k) All...esp. helpful would be the ability to design database for client records.
    l) Email, internet research
    m) Microsoft Word, scheduling programs for master scheduling, e-mail, publisher, internet research, keyboarding
    n) WWW design, e-mail, data management systems, Microsoft PowerPoint
    o) Basic knowledge of Microsoft Word, would be helpful to also have Excel, ability to surf the Internet for research purposes
    p) Much more focus should be placed on this especially for obtaining latest research.
    q) Microsoft
    r) Email, search engines (yahoo etc...), Word and Excel experience helpful.
    s) General computer knowledge
    t) Extensive- we were not well prepared. Much of this was done on our own.
    u) Microsoft office- internet (for research)
    v) As much computer knowledge as possible!!
    w) Use of comprter as research tool. Job search skills.
    x) Student affairs should be up-to-date across the board.
    y) Word processing, possibly spreadsheet (Excel)
    z) Use of internet, web site design and maintenance
    aa) Word processor, spreadsheet database...a basic "package" such as "MS office" or "Lotus Smartsuite"
    bb) Internet searching and research skills, word processing, school-based network knowledge
    cc) Know everything about computers. You use those skills on a regular basis.
  5. Are you certified as a National Certified Counselor (NCC)?
    24 responded "no".
    22 responded "yes".
  6. Do you possess any other professional certifications or licenses?
    35 responded "no".
    12 responded "yes".
  7. If yes, please list them:
    a) CT and NY Certification
    b) NYS School Counselor Permanent Certification
    c) Elementary Teacher
    d) Peer Mediation Trainer, CPR and First Aid, AACCAA safety certification (coach for varsity cheerleading)
    e) I did not renew my NCC because it had provided me no real benefit professionally.
    f) Licensed Mental Health Counselor, State of Florida
    g) I was 3 credits shy of obtaining my LPC in VA. My human development coursework was not accepted.
    h) Commonwealth of Mass. Licensed mental health counselor
    i) Certificate in Fund Raising management from Indiana University.
    j) Permanent teacher certification.
    k) Certified Rehab counselor
    l) (in process of pursuing California license)
    m) School counselor certification
For New York State Counselors:

8. Do you support the licensure of mental health counselors in New York State?

Yes=27
No= 1

 

9. Are you interested in applying for licensure should licensure become available?

Yes=22
No= 4

 

 

10. Do you feel being licensed as a mental health counselor would make any difference in your employment or career advancement opportunities?

Yes=21
No= 7

 

Comments:

a) I could work full time in a school/part-time in a private practice.
b) It would expand our community counseling program.
c) Being recognized as a profession would greatly enhance one's hiring ability, salary, and billing capabilities for 3rd party reimbursements. Private practice as well.
d) My situation is somewhat unique. I entered the counseling profession at age 44. I expect to retire from the ______at age 62 after 18 years with the agency. If I were younger and just beginning a counseling career, I would definitely see the benefits of licensure to me personally. In the meantime, Master's level counselors at the ______ would definitely receive more respect from professional peers and aware clients if there was licensure equivalent to an MSW.
e) Not in my present employment. But would open doors for changes in employment.
f) This bill completely ignores school counselors. If mental health counselors support legislation mandating counselors in all schools (the Ortiz bill), I will support theirs. The fact that this survey makes no mention of the Ortiz bill says a lot about the program's focus.
g) If I were not in a school, I do think it would make a difference.
h) No- for current employment, but may be useful for future aspirations of pursuing private practice.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about counselor education at SUNY Plattsburgh please contact:

Dr. Julia Davis, Chairperson
Office: Ward Hall 106A
Phone: (518) 564-4179
Email: jdavi004@plattsburgh.edu