CONSULTANT RECOMMENDATION REPORT Planning and Review Committee Consultant Recommendation

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1 CONSULTANT RECOMMENDATION REPORT Planning and Review Committee Consultant Recommendation I. Degree: Master of Science in Vocational Rehabilitation (MSVR) Date of Review: Program Directors: Michelle Hamilton (Campus) and DeLeana Strohl (Online) PRC Consultants: Kathleen Cochran, Raghava Gundala and Ahmet Turkmen Purpose of the Review: This review is to assess the quality of the MSVR program as part of ongoing seven-year review cycle of UW-Stout Programs. Committee Findings: The PRC recommends continuation of this program through the next scheduled review in and that the recommendations made by the committee are implemented. Abstract: The MSVR program is accredited through the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and ranked within the top 10 rehabilitation counseling programs in the USA. The MSVR program is offered on campus and as an online asynchronous degree program. The admission rates for the program are reasonably consistent. This could be attributed to the efforts made to recruit individuals by sending program materials and blasts. During the academic year, the program went through a review to comply with the new CORE standards. Three new courses were added, one of which was a practicum course (REHAB-707) which gives students a hands on opportunity to apply the skills learned. II. Process Followed for Current Review: PRC consultants and the program directors met to review the procedure. Data collected from various stakeholders was reviewed and analyzed. Program Directors completed the self-study report and presented the report to PRC. Consultants wrote the recommendation report. The report was forwarded to the dean for response. The PRC reviewed the Dean s response, approved the recommendation report and forwarded the report to the Faculty Senate. III. Previous Review Year: Previous Recommendations for Program Directors 1. Work with the Department Chair and Dean to address staff needs by CORE accreditation recommendations of FTE-student to FTE-faculty ratio and studentadvisee to adviser ratio. 1

2 The Program Directors are working with the Department Chair and Dean of the College of Human Development to address staffing needs identified by CORE accreditation recommendations of FTE-student to FTE-faculty and FTE faculty advising to advisee ratios. The department, as evidenced in the Department Chair s response, has hired an instructional staff that will begin in the fall of He will provide needed relief for faculty teaching in the graduate programs by teaching undergraduate courses previously taught by faculty. This new staff member will help reduce the faculty to student ratio to more manageable levels. The Program Directors, in the past, have always maintained advising responsibilities for all students in each program. The Program Directors will consider other options and alternatives to the advising model that has been used in the past. This will be done with a focus on reducing the advisor to student ratio and incorporating other faculty for advising when possible. 2. Work with PRC, D2L staff, and others as deemed appropriate to develop an independent evaluation for the online program to address specific online issues. The online Program Director has begun to consult D2L staff and others to develop an evaluation tool. Additionally, the Program Director will consult Program Advisory Committee members and faculty in the development of an evaluation tool specific to the online format and program. Discussions will begin this semester with faculty, PRC committee members and D2L staff. 3. The Program Directors will review low-enrolled concentrations with low enrollments and evaluate viability. The School-to-Work concentration could provide a collaborative partnership with the School of Education. A) Set up meeting with Mary Hopkins-Best and School of Education staff to determine: 1) if existing School-to-Work concentration could be revised to meet Department of Public Instruction (DPI) requirements and/or; B) discuss collaborative partnership between MS VR and School of Education to design a viable new concentration; C) Review on-campus Rehabilitation Leadership Concentration to determine feasibility of offering the concentration as an online option. Traditional on campus students seldom meet the Rehabilitation Leadership concentration requirement of two years of paid work experience in rehabilitation services or in a leadership/management position. Online MS VR students must have a minimum of two years of work experience. Consideration of this online option could be particularly timely given the current training climate within the Federal/State Rehabilitation system that is much more favorable toward the advanced preparation of qualified rehabilitation professionals for administration/leadership roles. Discussion has begun with department faculty regarding the addition of an online option for the Rehabilitation Leadership concentration. 2

3 4. Investigate the possibility of including more field experiences and counseling coursework in both the on-line and on-campus program. The Program Directors are open to the addition of counseling coursework in both the online and on-campus programs. However, recent changes to the CORE curriculum standards will necessitate a consideration of the impact of those standards on the current curriculum prior to adding new courses. Field experiences and counseling coursework are incorporated into at least seven different standards and will require program directors and faculty to reconsider the program and set of courses used to meet accreditation. This will begin no later than fall Since the fall of 2004, there has been a significant increase in the number of service learning opportunities within many core courses of the Vocational Rehabilitation program. To avoid duplicating efforts and to be most effective, changes to the MS VR curriculum should be put on temporary hold until larger professional accreditation decisions have been rendered. The potential CORE-CACREP merger and recent ( ) expansions to CORE curricular standards ( ) areas all have significant potential to direct required changes to the MS VR curriculum. Previous Recommendations for Department Chair 1. Work with Program Director and Dean to address staffing needs addressed by CORE accreditation recommendations of FTE student to FTE faculty ratio and studentadvisor ratio. Response from Department Chair: The Rehabilitation & Counseling department will be adding a new full-time rehabilitation lecturer in the fall, While this new staff person will assist in filling behind faculty who teach in both the online and on-campus rehabilitation program, FTE student to faculty and FTE student to advisor ratios remain out of compliance with CORE recommendations. Both matters have been reported to the Dean of the College of Human Development. 2. Work with the Dean to support resources for on-line technology and on-campus labs. Response from Department Chair: A lab modification proposal for the VE/Psych Testing lab was submitted and approved this fiscal year. Standards for minimum computer and internet capacity are now included with the online program application. The online program contracts with Stout Outreach Services for online marketing services for the Rehabilitation Counseling online graduate concentration. Efforts may be expanded to include the on-campus program as well. 3

4 Previous Recommendations for Dean 1. Work with Program Director and Department Chair to address staffing needs addressed by CORE accreditation recommendations of FTE student to FTE faculty ratio and student-advisor ratio. Response from Dean: We have received approval from the Provost to search for an academic instructional position using funds generated by the online customized graduate program in Vocational Rehabilitation. The Dean will further pursue a faculty-track position for the growing Vocational Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling programs. It is vital that the Mental Health Counseling program, which includes curriculum provided through several Rehabilitation courses, attain CACREP certification. It is anticipated that these concomitant needs can be met with these positions. The Dean s office will continue to search for funding for an additional faculty position to help meet CORE and CACREP standards for faculty/student ratios. 2. Continue support for resources needed for on-campus labs and on-line technology. Response from Dean: We have recently been awarded lab mod funds to support this program. Recent funding also improved the quality of the evaluation lab. Online technology investments will be made to assist the online students. A specific example is purchasing cameras to improve online communications. Future investments will include a lab modernization to move to digital cameras in the Clinical Services Center. IV. Current Year Program Review: Program Strengths (Indicate sources) Strong site-based supervised Experiential/Applied Learning opportunities (PD self-study; key faculty B and program advisory committee surveys.) Ranked in top 10 rehabilitation counseling programs in the USA (PD self-study.) Accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) (PD self-study.) Strong graduation and retention rates (PD self-study and Program Facts.) Student involvement in scholarly activities (PD self-study.) 4

5 Excellent faculty & reputation of strong program leadership (PD self-study, key faculty and advisory committee surveys.) Issues of Concerns (Indicate sources) Ongoing issues with outdated lab equipment and furnishings that do not reflect ergonomic principles promoted by the curriculum and professional rehabilitation best practices (PD self-study; key faculty, student & alumni surveys.) Need for ongoing instructional design assistance and faculty training for online delivery of the curriculum; online students desire to have more personal connection/engagement with faculty (PD self-study; key faculty, student & alumni surveys.) Two FTE that are unavailable to teach, due to long-term administrative secondment, medical leave or grant release time (PD self-study.) Fluctuating enrollment (Program Facts.) Some requests to expand the curriculum to include topics beyond the CORE standards (PD self-study; key faculty B, student & alumni surveys) Recommendations for the Program Directors: 1. Ensure quality educational experiences for both traditional and online programs. 2. Continue to pursue additional funding for upgrades needed in laboratories. Recommendations for the Chair: 1. Provide leadership in obtaining funding needed for upgrades in laboratories. 2. Ensure faculty members receive needed training and assistance in instructional design for quality online delivery of curriculum. Recommendations for the Dean: 1. Provide strong support for needed lab upgrades and training of the faculty members for online delivery of the curriculum. 5

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