Every year, the faculty of the Department of Graduate Psychology and Counseling spend time during departmental meetings, throughout each school year to discuss the findings of the follow-up surveys with our current graduates, their onsite supervisors, past-graduates and employers of our graduates, as well as observations we have personally noted throughout the program. Surveys are conducted using Class Climate which uses a confidential method of collecting results and compiling for easy analysis. These findings guide us in our discussions on how to best modify and improve our counseling programs. Due to these conversations, observations, and discussions, the following major changes were made in our Counselor Education Programs to be implemented during the 2018-2019 school year.
After receiving feedback from students who felt that they needed more time to process the information for the important core classes GDPC600 and GDPC610, the Counseling Education Core Faculty decided to move these two courses from their traditionally taught in-the-summer intensive course slots to the regular 16-week format semester. This longer period of time would allow students more time to process, assimilate, and practice the information taught in these classes in a more effective way. The extra time to learn the material in both these classes, which involve the complexity of not only working with multiple clients at once, but also taking a systems-paradigm approach, would be a notable advantage for our students. Below are links to view the comparison between the two schedules.
Previous Course Sequence 2018-2019 New Course Sequence
Significant changes made in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program to note:
1) GDPC630 Personality Assessment was removed and replaced with GDPC676 Theories of Personality with the thought that learning about the theories of personality would be a better fit for the tasks required of professional counselors and a better first step before learning how to administer and interpret psychological instruments that measure personality. This class has been placed in the Year-One, third semester, summer slot.
2) Due to a request to provide a class in Sex Therapy, the program is now offering GDPC604 Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy as an elective. This class will be offered in the fall semester in a student’s second year in the program. The elective of GDPC686 Intervention & Diagnosis with Children & Adolescents is the other elective that continues to be offered during this same semester. Students may pick which one they want to take.
3) EDRM611 Applied Statistical Methods I was removed from the program requirements in order to allow students to have an extra three credits to take an elective class more in line with the therapeutic intervention needs of their professional goals.
Significant changes made in the MA in School Counseling program to note:
1) A new course, SPED610 Instructional Design for Special Education was added to the School Counseling program. This new class will strengthen the School Counseling program by including a course that will instruct future school counselors how to best develop courses and interventions for children with disabilities within a school system.
2) EDRM611 Applied Statistical Methods I was removed from the program requirements in order to allow students to have the extra three credits to take SPED610 Instructional Design for Special Education which is more in line with the therapeutic intervention needs of their professional goals.
During the school year 2012, the Counselor Education Core Faculty evaluated ways to enhance the development of our counseling education students’ professional identity and allow them opportunities to demonstrate and showcase the knowledge and skills learned along this program. During the 2013-2014 school year, the Counseling Education Core Faculty decided to ask that all counseling education students develop a professional portfolio. We are all pleased to see how the portfolio has given our students the opportunity to discuss and showcase projects, presentations and other experiences in their coursework, gives them a place to file all their practicum and internship forms/hours, as well as aid them in demonstrating how their professional growth as a counselor has developed.
During this school year 2017-2018, the Counseling Education Core faculty began their quest to address and integrate the new CACREP 2016 Standards into our Counselor Education Programs, that has led to a significant change in one of the main sections within the Professional Portfolio. This change entails the implementation of a new section entitled Capstone Project: The Case Presentation and consists of an overarching assignment that guides students to apply and integrate important program competencies in a practical way, to a real case they personally worked with either during their Practicum or Internship experiences. The assignment will: 1) give students an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to case conceptualize and intervene as professional counselors on a chosen case, at the end of their program, and 2) inform the core faculty in Counselor Education how well we are doing as a program, in teaching our students the knowledge, skills and competencies needed as we train them to be competent, well-prepared professional counselors.
The Professional Portfolio Manual, which is used to guide all our counseling education students in this endeavor, can be viewed by here. These changes in the Professional Portfolio requirements will be implemented in the school year 2018-2019.
Updates in our Counseling Center Facilities and Resources
We are proud to have a fully functioning counseling center housed within the halls of our department that not only provides our students with the opportunity to counsel clients under supervision, but also provides them with the experience of what it is like working in a counseling setting, managing cases, taking on clients, making case management decisions, and working closely with their own personal supervisor. Since 2013 to the present, the department has invested significant time and financial resources to update software, technology, and equipment. These changes aid in the monitoring of student-counselors in session as well as provide student-counselors a place to collect and manage all progress notes, treatment plans, intake reports, and supervisor notes. These resources also aid in the important task of client assignment and the setting up of appointments for the various counseling rooms in the center. At the present, this code-protected software makes the management of cases and client assignment much more secure, efficient and practical. All clients and their electronic files are kept, monitored, managed, and accessible to all authorized users in our center. This past school year of 2016-2017, the center got a face-lift, new paint, new carpet, a new sandtray in the playroom for therapy purposes, and wall decorations thoughtfully placed have updated the look in our center. New furniture was purchased, replacing the well-used items that served us well for so long. The changes in the center’s décor provides our students’ an attractive, convenient, and effective place to complete their Practicum in Counseling experience in house.
New Interview Format Developed
The Counseling Education Core Faculty recently developed a new interview form to be used during the interview process as we assess each applicant’s readiness for graduate studies and the goodness of fit into our MA Counseling Education Programs here at Andrews University. The new interview format takes into consideration the research and literature addressing the important qualities found in effective counselors who are more likely to have the ability to develop a good therapeutic relationship with their one-day clients. The interview form, along with the sources used to form it, can be accessed by clicking here.