Practicum and Internship Site Supervisors’ Evaluations of the Counselor Education Programs

Summer 2011

By Dr. Beverly A. Burnell

Introduction

This assessment was developed as a means of acquiring feedback from the practicum and internship site supervisors who provide invaluable learning opportunities for our students in the latter semesters of their programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and Student Affairs Counseling. The data from the assessment are also provided to our accrediting organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Conducting periodic surveys not only enhances programmatic planning efforts, but also helps to ensure continued high quality preparation and national accreditation of our programs.

Sample and Method

Practicum and internship supervisors from the academic years 2008–2011 were invited to complete a survey assessing the degree to which the supervisors felt our students were prepared for their field experiences. The supervisors were professionals working in schools, colleges, and community mental health settings.

Seventy-two professionals who had served as practicum and/or internship supervisors from 2008–2011 were invited to complete a 36-item survey. The Counselor Education Department received 46 completed surveys for a response rate of 64%.

Results

The following stem and 4-point scale introduced the first 35 items on the survey.

Based on your experience with student of the SUNY Plattsburgh Counselor Education Department, please indicate the extent to which our programs prepared our students for their field experiences. Please use the following scale:

4 = well-prepared; 3 = adequately prepared; 2 = poorly prepared; 1 = unprepared; 0 = unable to evaluate*.

Item Mean Supervisor Rating
1. A commitment to personal and professional growth 3.6
2. A commitment to his/her profession 3.6
3. A commitment to collegiality 3.7
4. A commitment to accountability/program evaluation 3.4
5. A commitment to professional leadership 3.3
6. A commitment to a professional identity 3.4
7. A commitment to high ethical standards 3.8
8. A commitment to professional organizations and activities pertinent to his/her work 3.6
9. A commitment to ongoing professional development 3.5
10. A commitment to the professional environment in which he/she works  
11. A commitment to supervision and feedback 3.5
12. Knowledge of individual counseling theories 3.6
13. Knowledge of group counseling theories 3.4
14. Knowledge of assessment/appraisal processes 3.4
15. Knowledge of career/lifestyle development counseling theories 3.5
16. Knowledge of effective counseling relationships 3.6
17. Knowledge of consultation processes 3.4
18. Knowledge of data analysis 3.3
19. Knowledge of conducting and applying research 3.3
20. Knowledge of human growth and development 3.4
21. Knowledge of working with specific populations 3.3
22. Knowledge of multicultural/pluralistic characteristics of diverse cultural groups 3.5
23. Knowledge of applying current and emerging technological resources for counselors 3.4
24. Skills and techniques in individual counseling theories 3.5
25. Skills and techniques in group counseling theories 3.3
26. Skills and techniques in assessment/appraisal processes 3.3
27. Skills and techniques in career/lifestyle development counseling theories 3.5
28. Skills and techniques in effective counseling relationships 3.6
29. Skills and techniques in consultation processes 3.4
30. Skills and techniques in data analysis 3.3
31. Skills and techniques in conducting and applying research 3.3
32. Skills and techniques in human growth and development 3.5
33. Skills and techniques in working with specific populations 3.3
34. Skills and techniques in multicultural/pluralistic characteristics of diverse cultural groups 3.5
35. Skills and techniques in applying current and emerging technological resources for counselors 3.3

Practicum and Internship Site Supervisors also responded to the open-ended question:

36: What would you most like us to know about the students of our program and/or your experiences with them?

Survey of Field Supervisors- June/July 2011
Responses to Open-ended Question #36

  • Maturity commitment and work ethic are the most important qualities in any education.
  • Our interns have been well prepared, enthusiastic and dedicated to the Counseling Program and the profession. All ratings of “3” will become “4” with actual work experience. I’m looking forward to our next intern this fall.
  • What I would say is that there is an enormously wide range of preparedness. It isn’t here are the good and here are the better - it is getting to be here are the great and here are the how did they get through the program! The middle seems to be falling out but I’m not sure why this is happening. On the bright side – the great are really impressive.
  • The students from your program are very well prepared and are an immediate benefit to the services we provide while completing their internship. The only suggestion I could make is further training in skills and techniques in specific theories of the student’s interest.
  • I know that the solicited and synchronous support she received from [name of professor] throughout her internship was vital to her integration and processing of some incidents/questions that came up here. I see that despite having little contact with [name of professor] we were working collaboratively. One of my colleagues, who is a social worker, said she would have expected more of an orientation to home-based, family based service. Thanks for the opportunity to supervise.
  • Interns I have had are generally well prepared; some more knowledge of managed care and crisis readiness could be focused on prior to internship, but can also be developed on site.
  • The only negative issues with interns that I didn’t meet [name of professor], I had no interaction with him. My experience with an intern was mostly positive until the end when she was overwhelmed with a number of stressors.
  • I have had other interns from different Universities; this was my first experience with PSUC. I was very impressed with the caliber of student intern. It was a pleasure to have them involved with our students and staff.
  • Hard working and very eager to do excellent work.
  • We have had a couple of practicum students and I have had one intern – they’re great! It wasn’t too long ago when I was where they are at – it is fun and easy to work with them because I have an idea of what they’re looking for! I must say - you do a wonderful job at preparing your students J
  • Our last practicum/internship student (name given) was outstanding and greatly contributed to the successful outcomes of our program this past academic year.
  • Our students have been a great asset to the staff here at the [name of site]. They have contributed a great deal to the…program while here, particularly to the [name of program].
  • We’ve hired several. Communication, collaboration, and teamwork skills are tested within our program.
  • While about half the students have excellent preparation and personal character for real world settings, the other half have been wholly unprepared for real world clinical settings. They either do very well or are overwhelmed.
  • I find it difficult to have the student full time part of the year, and one or two days a week during the remainder of the year. I would like a full time student both semesters J
  • My last intern was wonderful. He took his internship experience seriously and will be a true asset to any school district that is lucky enough to hire him.
  • It has been a privilege to supervise such dedicated and committed students. Thank you!
  • We have been very fortunate to have awesome practicum and interns at [name of site]. I look forward to working with future students.
  • I have had several excellent practicum students from your program. Excellent counseling skills. Future high school counselors should develop skills in academic counseling for at-risk students, learn about how schools and agencies can work together, scheduling and more scheduling, and should be visiting area colleges, as many colleges as possible, and work on writing reference letters and critiquing college application essays.
  • The student I supervised seems adequately prepared – to – well prepared for the profession of school counseling.
  • Students come to me ready to work and utilize their knowledge and skills in a professional capacity. I enjoy the process and collaboration!!
  • Students have been well prepared. The few internships students I have supervised have been able to fully assume their internship duties within a few weeks of starting. I circled threes only because lately I have had more students for the job-shadowing field experience. Those are not expected to be as knowledgeable.
  • Plattsburgh has done a wonderful job preparing students to intern the school counseling field. Often times “real life” situations are more complicated than classroom learning.
  • I still feel there needs to be more experience prior to internship in the school. Also the coursework seems to be at times not geared toward school counseling. Lots of emphasis seems to be placed on developing and learning about the comprehensive school counseling program instead of the practical things that happen, (Classroom lessons, group and individual counseling – it is different with kids!! J) Each intern I have had has said there needs to be more of the practical and less of the theory or ideal. Thanks for taking the time to enlist our input.
  • Professional boundaries and clinical dilemmas in professional relationships seem to need a bit more attention. We are very pleased with the overall quality of student interns working in our programs.
  • I have been fortunate to have worked with great interns from PSU. They are eager to learn and grow. I would like to see them finish a portfolio. Thanks
  • A pleasure to work with them!
  • Strengths: Counseling skills, knowledge of ASCA Standards- interns who I’ve supervised have been strong advocates for and extremely knowledgeable/helpful of the process of aligning our program with standards. Excellent resources of information and true leaders!!
  • [Student name] was one of the strongest students we have ever had here. I am not in a position to assess whether that is attributed to [her] personality and work ethic or the influence of Plattsburgh. Based on our experience with her, however, your program is preparing graduate students very nicely.
  • When working with the counselor education students, what I have noticed is a lack of enthusiasm for the experience. Although many would state that they have a dedication to the profession, when given the opportunity to show that enthusiasm, most of my students hide away in their office and work on the internet even when asked to run individual and /or group sessions with clients. Many students are able to define ethics but when it comes to professional ethics such as professional attire, punctuality and good use of time there seems to be some problems.
  • As far as knowledge and techniques related to different populations and cultures, I have found that all of the graduate students under my direction have no education related to the older adult population. When asked, students note that they are taught child, adolescent and some younger adult but somewhere the education stops. This makes a practicum or internship experience difficult to fairly evaluate because I am placing students into situations that they are completely unfamiliar with. There is also a need to really educate students in the beginning of the practicum or internship experience and this takes a lot of time that could be used for more clinical experiences. I believe that the counselor education program trains students well in regards theory, individual therapy in the younger client, and group therapy. In regards to professional leadership, students will present to this site the great ideas as their role yet have a greater difficulty with professional identity when the job is not as glamorous as anticipated or expected. As an elder care clinician, I would like to see a greater emphasis placed on addressing the older adult and even the elder adult. Psychotherapy is still taking place in nursing home environments and in mildly demented clients. An older adult psychotherapy class could really be interesting and could address issues such as mental health and changes as the body ages, medications in the older individual, dementia, and counseling individuals with sensory deprivation. Great hands on learning could be accomplished and would prepare students for a site such as [name of site].
  • Student affairs students have limited exposure to administrative functions/realities for higher education.
  • I have ongoing concerns that the outpatient community mental health setting is not always a good fir in regard to the face-to-face visit requirements. So far we have been able to provide the necessary units in conjunction with your [??] in providing f/f opportunities; however, I think it creates an extra burden for the student, which is sometimes out of their control.
  • Recent interns have been motivated and appreciative of their learning experience at [name of agency]. They have worked well as team players. They have utilized supervision and have shown a strong commitment toward helping [program] participants toward reaching their life roles.
  • I have one student intern. She was an older student who had professional experience prior to her internship. Her work experience prepared her for her internship at [school].
  • We have been extremely pleased with the student from your program – we find their level of basic competence to be excellent and we love working with them.
  • Please note that I have had, and our office has had, only one counseling student intern. As well, his was not a counseling internship (practice) but rather focused on multiculturalism and social justice education. So questions (some) are not applicable or perhaps differently applicable in this type of internship, That said, my/our experience with our counseling student intern was very positive; valuable not only to the student (I believe) and our staff/office, but very definitely to the “clients”- the students and campus we serve. Although some areas of preparation were rated lower, student was very well prepared (problem ethic & knowledge base in key areas as well as profession maturation/commitment) to come into a new & different situation and both learn from it and contribute to it.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

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

Dr. David Stone, Chairperson
Office: Ward Hall 104A
Phone: (518) 564-4178
Email: stoneda@plattsburgh.edu