External Review Fort Valley State University Mental Health Counseling Graduate Program. Reviewer: Dr. Andrew A. Cox

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1 Description of Institution External Review Fort Valley State University Mental Health Counseling Graduate Program Reviewer: Dr. Andrew A. Cox Fort Valley State University is located in Fort Valley, Georgia. The University is located 14 miles from Warner Robins, Georgia, 24 miles from Macon, Georgia, and 68 miles from Columbus, Georgia. These areas are major population centers for the State of Georgia. The University is also located within and adjacent to a significant rural/agricultural area in the State of Georgia. Fort Valley State University is a comprehensive state university under the authority of the Georgia Board of Regents. It is a Historically Black College/University that is one of two landgrant institutions within the State of Georgia established in Per the University s website, the total student enrollment for the University is over 3500 students. The University offers both undergraduate, graduate, and various professional degrees. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer bachelors and masters degrees. It is also accredited through a number of specialized accreditation agencies/boards. Description of the Program This reviewer was requested to provide an external review of the Mental Health Counseling program at Fort Valley State University. The Mental Health Counseling program is a graduate program only, offering a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling. The program is offered under the auspices of the Department of Behavioral Science housed within the College of Arts and Sciences. The Department of Behavioral Science also offers several undergraduate programs in Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology. The Mental Health Counseling graduate program was initiated in In addition to the mental health counseling program, the Department of Behavioral Science also offers a master s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and Case Management. The Master s degree program in Mental Health Counseling requires 48 semester hours for completion. The program is comprised of the following curriculum: Course Credit Hours MLHC 5413 Community Mental Health Counseling 3 CPSY 5463 Human Growth and Development 3 CPSY 5433 Drugs and Behavior 3 CPSY 5533 Fundamentals of Statistics and Measurement 3 CPSY 5453 Psychopathology 3 CPSY 5623 Counseling Theories and Process 3 CPSY 5543 Fundamentals of Research 3

2 CPSY 5733 Psychological Evaluation 3 CPSY 5553 Social and Cultural Foundations 3 CPSY 5633 Group Theory and Process 3 CPSY 5653 Behavior Assessment and Modification 3 MLHC 5422 Seminar in Professional Practice 3 CPSY 5643 Family Counseling and Guidance 3 CPSY 5443 Career Development 3 MLHC 5762 Case Management 2 MLHC 5772 Internship I 2 MLHC 5782 Internship II 2 Total Semester Hours 48 The stated mission of the Mental Health Counseling program is to prepare quality mental health counselors for various employment opportunities within mental health agencies, social services organizations to include but not limited to schools, residential treatment programs for children, adolescents and adults, hospice, and private practice. Further stated mission purposes for the program include acquire and demonstrate knowledge, skills, experiences, dispositions, and technical competencies to function effectively as mental health counselors. Graduates will be sensitive to the context of all clients, thus creating a climate which allows all clients to grow and develop. Furthermore, educational experiences facilitate the students with theoretical and applied knowledge in the areas of theory, individual and group process, human growth and development, psychopathology, psychological evaluation, and research and professional ethics. The Mental Health Counseling program does not possess any external or professional accreditations. The program acquires accreditation through the University s accreditation status through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It is noted that the curriculum includes coursework necessary to be considered for licensure as an Associate Professional Counselor and eventual licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Georgia. The reader is referred to for details regarding Georgia state licensure requirements for this profession. Faculty The faculty consist of one full-time faculty member whose primary advisement and instructional responsibilities are devoted to the Mental Health Counseling program. A second faculty member has some responsibilities within the program to include overall administrative oversight, and internship supervision and evaluation. The second faculty member also has instructional and administrative responsibilities within the Department of Behavioral Science. The primary faculty member is a veteran University professor and clinical practitioner. His educational preparation and research agenda is exemplary. Research includes professional presentations, periodical and journal publications, and published books. He holds appropriate licensure and certification within the mental health counseling practice area. The reader is

3 referred to the resume of Kananur V. Chandras, Ph.D. for details regarding his academic preparation, credentials, and experience. The secondary faculty member possesses University administrative and instructional experience with several universities as well as relevant clinical experiences. He holds academic preparation and licensure in both professional counseling and clinical social work. The latter is considered an allied practice area to mental health counseling. He also possesses a research agenda appropriate for the mental health practice area. The reader is referred to the resume of Jimmy D. McCamey,Jr.,Ph.D. for details regarding his academic preparation, credentials, and experience. The mental health counseling program has used part-time faculty members in the past to meet its instructional obligations. It is this reviewer s understanding that these part-time faculty members are no longer used due to budgetary considerations. Course instruction is supplemented through the use of instructors with primary assignments in the Rehabilitation Counseling and School Counseling graduate programs. These programs are considered separate instructional entities, with the latter being housed within the College of Education. Students There are currently 90 students enrolled in the Mental Health Counseling graduate program. Program admission requires student submission of a current resume, three letters of recommendation, a 2.5 (on 4.0 scale) undergraduate average, and face-to-face interview with Dr. McCamey, Program Coordinator. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is also required but a cut-off score for program admission is not required. However, the Mental Health Counseling program description within the Fort Valley State University website has some variance with the above provided information. The latter describes minimum scores on both the GRE or MAT graduate admissions tests, and a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or above. A fast admission track is also described on the website. Since the Mental Health Counseling program inception in 1990, the program has demonstrated steady growth in student enrollment. Particularly within the last six years, the program has demonstrated enrollment growth. During Fall, 2008 there were 28 declared Mental Health Counseling majors. Since Spring, 2010, the program has maintained over 50 declared majors. Available data suggest that program graduates are increasing in number. For the last data year available, six graduate degrees were awarded in May, Data also suggests that program graduates are obtaining employment within the human services career area. Many program graduates also appear to be successful in completing the licensure examination required in the State of Georgia. Student advisement is completed through the so-called Banner system, a Georgia Board of Regents student information program. Though formal data is not available, it appears that most program students work fulltime and attend the graduate program on a part-time basis in order to complete degree requirements.

4 In addition to the required core curriculum, students are required to successfully complete Internship I and Internship II and maintain a 3.0 (on 4.0 scale) overall grade point average. Graduating students must also successfully complete a Comprehensive Departmental Examination. Relative to the internship experiences, a Field Experience Manual for Mental Health Counseling is available. This document provides information regarding the internships for both students and internship site supervisors. Field placement agreement forms, Code of Ethics, an intern student evaluation form, and other forms to facilitate documentation of internship hours are available within the manual. The program appears to have internship placement agreements with numerous human services agencies and institutions. A sampling of internship placement sites include Georgia Center for Youth, Reynolds, Georgia; Riveredge and Coliseum Hospitals, Macon, Georgia; Middle Flint Behavioral Health program, Americus, Georgia; Houston Medical Center, Warner Robins, Georgia; Twin Cedars Youth Development program, LaGrange, Georgia; Methodist Children s Home, Macon, Georgia; Valley Behavioral Health Services, Fort Valley, Georgia; and various community service board outpatient mental health programs. During this external reviewer s site visit, an opportunity was provided to interview several currently enrolled students completing their internship requirements at Valley Behavioral Health Services. Students were positive in their description of the program, the program s preparation standards, the academic advisement process, and the faculty. Positive perceptions were presented relative to the program s instructional processes, environment, and available resources. Students reported that course offering were limited in number, therefore impacting their ability to matriculate through the program. Students believed that the Mental Health Counseling program s lack of external professional accreditation was a limited factor in their ability to obtain internship sites and possibly employment options. Academic Support Resources All Mental Health Counseling classes are held in office and classroom space leased by Fort Valley State University in Warner Robins, Georgia. This classroom space was observed to be conducive to the learning process with state of the art audiovisual and technology aides available. There is a small library available within the facility with areas for student study and other gatherings. Faculty office space appeared to be adequate. The Fort Valley State University library was also visited during this evaluator s external review visit. The library is located in a three story building on the Fort Valley State University campus. The library is reported to have available holdings, some being available through electronic means. The library has access to the Galileo database, a Board of Regents online database with access to various periodicals, books, and reference materials. It was noted during this visit, that the library has a considerable collection of CD s and other audiovisual materials available through Films on Demand. Review suggested many audiovisual materials available to both students and faculty on a variety of mental health topics. Professional library staff was available for student assistance.

5 Service Area Data As previously noted, Fort Valley State University is located adjacent to major population centers for the State of Georgia as well as a diverse rural, agricultural area. Populations for these geographical population centers are as follows: Georgia Population Statistics Relevant to FVSU Service Area City/County Population Fort Valley/Peach County Macon/Bibb County Warner Robins/Houston County Total Population in FVSU Service Area Source: City/County Fort Valley/Peach County Macon/Bibb County Warner Robins/Houston County Selected Population Statistics for FVSU Service Area Percent High Percent Percent Age 20- Median Age School or Bachelor s 60 Higher Degree or Higher 80.2 % 17.8 % 53.2 % 33 Source: % 22.6 % 52.9 % % 24.5 % 55.3 % 35 These statistics suggest that Fort Valley State University is located in a region that represents a significant portion of Georgia s population with a total population of residing in three counties within the University s service area. Over one-half of the population is within an age range that would typically pursue a graduate degree with a median age ranging from 33 to 36. Approximately 18 to 25 percent of the population possess a bachelor s degree and could be considered potential candidates for admission into a master s degree program such as the one offered through the Mental Health program. Additionally, 80 to 88 percent of the population within these three jurisdictions hold a high school diploma and could be considered potential candidates for higher education at some point in their adult lifespan. Population data for the other rural counties within FVSU s service area would contribute additional potential student populations. This data supports the fact that the Mental Health Counseling program at Fort Valley State University is located within a viable community with individuals that could pursue graduate education at some point in their lifespan.

6 Relevant Career/Employment Data Employment data was reviewed for the State of Georgia regarding potential job titles that Mental Health program graduates could access and the viability of such employment. It is noted that potential job titles consistent with training within this major are listed within the top 50 fastest growing occupations in the State of Georgia. Georgia Top 50 Fastest Growing Occupations Job Title Georgia Ranking *Marriage and Family Therapists #1 Mental Health Counselors #2 Social and Community Service Managers #14 Social and Human Service Assistants #17 Rehabilitation Counselors #20 Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs #32 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social #47 Workers Source: *A mental health program graduate could access Marriage and Family Therapy and attain licensure with the completion of minimum additional coursework and additional supervision and professional experience. Several occupations consistent with training within the Mental Health Counseling program curriculum that would be available for program graduates are described as the top 50 occupations with the most openings in the State of Georgia. Georgia Top 50 Occupations with the Most Job Openings Job Title Georgia Ranking Education, Guidance, School, & Vocational #5 Counselors Healthcare Social Workers #9 Mental Health Counselors #15 Child, Family, & School Social Workers #16 Rehabilitation Counselors #18 *Marriage and Family Therapists #20 Eligibility Interviewers, Government Programs #21 Social and Community Service Managers #27 Source: *A mental health program graduate could access Marriage and Family Therapy and attain licensure with the completion of minimum additional coursework and additional supervision and professional experience.

7 National occupational statistics are also relevant to potential job opportunities for program graduates. Present and future job outlook for potential job placement opportunities for program graduates are described below: United States Job Outlook Data for Selected Human Services Occupations Job Title Job Outlook Percentage Growth Marriage and Family Much faster than average 41 % Therapists Mental Health Counselors Much faster than average 36 % Probation Officers and About as fast as average 18 % Correctional Treatment Specialists Psychiatric Technicians About as fast as average 15 % Rehabilitation Counselors Faster than average 28 % School and Career Counselors About as fast as average 19 % Social and Human Services Faster than average 28 % Assistants Substance Abuse and Faster than average 27 % Behavioral Disorder Counselors Source: Program Strengths The following strengths are identified for the Fort Valley State University Mental Health Counseling graduate program: A well qualified faculty that possess excellent academic credentials, relevant clinical experience, professional licensure within the content area, professional involvement, and a diverse research agenda to include professional presentations, and publications. Varied library resources and holdings to include print, digital, electronic, and audiovisual materials and databases Positive student input; students possess a positive perspective of the program and its preparation The major prepares graduates for viable employment opportunities within the human services area in the State of Georgia The program prepares graduates for licensure in professional counseling in the State of Georgia under current licensure standards The University is located in close proximity to major metropolitan population areas as well as rural, agricultural communities within the State of Georgia; these population areas would present viable employment opportunities for program graduates Classroom and faculty office facilities are conveniently located with ample parking and access for commuting students Classroom and faculty office facilities are conducive to learning with state of the art technology to facilitate the learning process

8 The program has viable and diverse internship placement opportunities Fort Valley State University is one of two land-grant institutions within the State of Georgia. The Mental Health Counseling program is compatible with the University s overall educational mission The graduate program can draw upon diverse undergraduate programs within Fort Valley State University as well as surrounding institutions of higher education Current student enrollment of over 90 graduate students; enrollment increases have been demonstrated over the last several academic years documenting an enrollment growth trend. Costs for attending the University are less than for surrounding or similar institutions within the State of Georgia Program Weaknesses The following weaknesses are identified for the Mental Health Counseling program: Additional faculty are required considering the student enrollment and enrollment growth trends The program has not applied for or attained external professional accreditation such as Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) that would be considered necessary for the program s long-term viability Students may experience difficulty in completing their degree programs in a timely manner due to the limited course offerings and limited faculty available for advisement and teaching within the program Additional data collection for the program may be necessary. An employer survey would be helpful to identify employment opportunities and employment trends for program graduates. Recommendations The University and Department of Behavioral Sciences have initiated various studies and position documents espousing the need for external professional accreditation of the Mental Health Counseling graduate program. It is recommended that the University pursue such accreditation, specifically accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In order to attain such accreditation, the Department will most likely need to hire additional faculty members whose credentials meet enumerated CACREP standards. Based upon current enrollment statistics, at least two additional fulltime faculty members would be required. Relative to CACREP accreditation, the program would need to re-configure course objectives to meet CACREP standards. The addition of or reconfiguration of course objectives and course descriptions may be needed to insure that the Mental Health program meets CACREP curricular standards.

9 The Department of Behavioral Science/Mental Health Counseling program may desire to consider the retention of a consultant to assist the program in its efforts to attain such external accreditation. The Mental Health program has limited faculty resources that significantly impact the ability of students to matriculate through the program in order to complete degree requirements. As a stop-gap measure to correct this deficiency, the program could explore using faculty from the School Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling/Case Management graduate programs to teach some common courses. Such efforts may require the cross-listing of selected graduate coursework. Possible faculty joint appointments between these graduate program entities could be explored. Though the program currently has measures to document the instructional program s effectiveness such as the Comprehensive Examination, the program could initiate other data collection efforts to demonstrate the Mental Health program s effectiveness. As noted previously, an employer survey of program graduates could be one tool in demonstrating program effectiveness. The Field Experience Manual for Mental Health Counseling contains forms for evaluating student internship competencies. Adding a Likert-type scale to these forms could provide a numerical index that could be used as a program effectiveness tool. Considerations have been made in housing the Mental Health Counseling graduate program within the College of Education as a cost saving measure. This would place the program in the same administrative unit as the School Counseling graduate program. Though other institutions house mental health counseling programs within a College/School of Education, such a move would not be recommended by this external reviewer for the program at Fort Valley State University. The Mental Health Counseling program s placement within the Department of Behavioral Science aligns the program with undergraduate programs that serve as feeder programs for the graduate program as well as with the Rehabilitation Counseling/Case Management graduate program that would be considered an allied profession for mental health counseling. In addition, the overall instructional mission within the Department of Behavioral Science is more in line with the instructional mission for the Mental Health Counseling program. There have been discussions in establishing a community advisory board/committee to provide community input regarding the mission, and scope of the Mental Health Counseling program. This would be a positive move for the program. Recruitment of administrators and personnel from area human services agencies to serve on this board would provide the mental health program with valuable community input and information. The program has experienced some difficulties within the instructional program with students experiencing emotional, and/or behavioral concerns and other unprofessional behavior. Development of an appropriate remediation plan for the continued matriculation of such students through the program as well as a structured system

10 incorporating documentation to protect student s due process rights could be developed to assist the program in coping with and resolving such problems. Sources Used in Data Collection External Evaluator FVSU Visitation February 11, 2013 Consultation with Jimmy McCamey, Jr., Ph.D. February 11, 2013 Consultation with Josephine Davis, College of Arts and Sciences Dean February 11, 2013 Consultation with representative for B. Donta Truss, Associate Vice President of Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness February 11, 2013 Consultation with Kananur V. Chandras, Ph.D., Professor of Mental Health Counseling February 11, Consultation with FVSU library staff February 11, 2013 Consultation with Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling graduate students February 11, Fort Valley State University Academic Program Review (internal document) Counseling Program Consolidation Review (internal document) Fort Valley State University Comprehensive Program Review Guide (internal document) Field Experience Manual for Mental Health Counseling, Fort Valley State University Mental Health Program (internal document) Various FVSU Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program guides (internal documents) Various descriptive documents relative to FVSU library holdings and services (internal documents) Review of Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) Standards Fort Valley State University website (www.fvsu.edu) United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://stats.bls.gov/ooh/) United States Bureau of Census (http://factfinder2.census.gov) America s Career Information Network (www.acinet.org.) Georgia Secretary of State Professional Licensing Board website (http://sos.georgia.gov/plb/counselors/) Report developed and submitted by: Andrew A. Cox, MSW,Ed.D.,LPC,LMFT,LCSW,CRC,MAC Licensed Mental Health Professional Professor and Director of Clinical Training Department of Counseling and Psychology Troy University-Phenix City, Alabama _April 4, 2013 Date Submitted

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