1 Alfred University M.S.Ed./C.A.S. Counseling Program Alfred University Student Handbook
2 TABLE OF CONTENTS This handbook is intended to serve as a guide for graduate students and faculty in the Graduate Program in Counseling at Alfred University. The handbook contains information on Division procedures and regulations but does not cover every possible situation. Consultation with the student's advisor, Division Chair, Program Director, or Dean of the College of Professional Studies (CPS) is recommended for further clarification of any particular issue. The Alfred University graduate program in counseling website provides links to additional resources. This handbook provides information specific to the Masters Programs in Counseling and is to be read and understood by all students. The handbook provides information about: ALFRED UNIVERSITY... 1 THE COLLEGE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES... 1 THE DIVISION OF COUNSELING AND SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY... 2 MISSION STATEMENT... 2 PROGRAM GOALS... 2 DELIVERY SYSTEMS USED FOR INSTRUCTION... 2 CORE CURRICULAR EXPERIENCES... 3 PROGRAM MILESTONES... 6 POST-COMMENCEMENT LICENSURE/CERTIFICATION PROCESS... 9 CURRICULUM...10 PROGRAM FACULTY...14 PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS...15 POLICIES AND PROCEDURES...15 EXTERNAL SERVICES AVAILABLE...22 APPENDIX A: COURSE DESCRIPTIONS...26 APPENDIX B: STUDENT PROGRESS MONITORING...30
3 1 Alfred University Alfred University is a private, non-sectarian, regional comprehensive university nestled in the Allegany foothills of southwestern New York State. Alfred University was founded in 1836 by liberal, independent thinkers who placed high value on education for all citizens. Alfred University is the oldest coeducational college in New York State and the second oldest coeducational college in the United States. It is one of the earliest nineteenth century colleges to have enrolled African American and Native American students. Today, the University has retained and built upon the strong values of its founders, developing as an institution of national and international renown that is responsive to the needs of contemporary society while remaining consistent with the spirit of its origins. Alfred University has evolved into a complex institution offering a full range of programs in the liberal arts and sciences, art and design, engineering, business, education, counseling and school psychology. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Universities. A striking feature of Alfred University is the fact that its diversity exists in a relatively small institution. Alfred serves approximately 2000 undergraduate and nearly 400 graduate students. This small size has allowed the University to maintain a strong sense of community. Alfred prides itself on offering a personalized education that features close relationships between faculty, staff, and students, fostering personal and intellectual growth. The University is comprised of three privately endowed colleges, which are the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Inamori School of Engineering, and the College of Professional Studies, and one statutory unit, The New York State College of Ceramics. Graduate programs are housed in both the private and public sectors of the university. The Division of Counseling and School Psychology is located in the College of Professional Studies. The College of Professional Studies The College of Professional Studies (CPS) at Alfred University houses programs of excellence, preparing undergraduate students for careers in business, education, and athletic training, and graduate students who are ready for leadership roles in the professions of accounting, business administration, education, counseling, and school psychology. Programs are designed to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and applied experiences to be successful in today s complex world. With a strong foundation in liberal arts, CPS students learn about global issues, humanities and sciences, while beginning to explore the roles and knowledge bases within their profession. Practica and labs help students to affirm their interest in the major, while hands-on experiences in client-based classroom projects, field experiences and internships provide opportunities to hone real-world analytic and decision-making skills. The members of the CPS faculty are dedicated to the development of students as individuals and professionals. Many have significant professional and career experiences, which are combined with their passion for teaching to help guide students in their educational paths. They get to know students in and out of the classroom as academic and club advisors, research sponsors and collaborators, and career mentors. The graduate programs in the College of Professional Studies include the MBA in Accounting, the MBA in Business Administration, the MSEd in Literacy, the MA/CAS in School Psychology, the PsyD in School Psychology, and the MSEd/CAS in Counseling.
4 2 The Division of Counseling and School Psychology The Division of Counseling and School Psychology provides graduate level programs in Mental Health Counseling, School Counseling, and School Psychology. The Mental Health Counseling track consists of 60 credit hours of coursework and supervised practicum/internship experiences leading to a Master of Science in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study. Students gain applied experiences in the Child and Family Services Center on campus, as well as in various mental health agencies in the community. The mental health program is registered as a Licensure Qualified Program in New York State and satisfies all the educational requirements for students to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC). The School Counseling track consists of 60 credit hours of coursework and supervised practicum/internship experiences in schools leading to a Master of Science in Education and a Certificate of Advanced Study. Students specializing in school counseling will receive provisional certification as a New York State school counselor upon completion of the program, and have all coursework completed for permanent certification requirements. Mission Statement Alfred University s graduate program in counseling prepares individuals for counseling positions in elementary, middle and high schools, mental health centers and social service agencies, and colleges and universities. Students acquire core knowledge and clinical skills that enable them to enter the profession of counseling. We (the faculty) strive to create a rigorous scholarly and supportive atmosphere for students to develop intellectually with a deep sense of social consciousness and self-awareness. We value teaching, scholarship, and service, which contribute to the mission of Alfred University. Program Goals Alfred s counseling program is committed to the personal and professional development of each student in the context of a sound theoretical background. One-on-one interaction between faculty members and students encourages the personal learning that is vital to the education of counselors. Students gain a strong knowledge base and they also develop personal maturity and strong interpersonal and organizational skills. The goals of Alfred University s Counseling Program grow out of the program s mission and are: To prepare counseling students in the acquisition of a comprehensive and scholarly knowledge base relevant to the profession of counseling. To prepare counseling students in the acquisition of professional knowledge, clinical skills and abilities in the areas of individual, group, and family interventions. To prepare counseling students to become competent, self-aware, and socially conscious in order to work in a variety of settings serving a diverse population. Delivery Systems Used for Instruction Alfred University s counseling program has a full-time cohort model that can be completed in two years without the need to take summer courses, and a part-time cohort model, for athletic graduate assistants, that can be completed in three years, and which includes the completion of two summer courses. The majority of courses are delivered through a face-to-face classroom setting. When appropriate, a hybrid online/face-to-face approach is used. Courses are typically presented using a variety of instructional methods that include the use
5 3 of lecture, seminar, training videos, experiential activities, tests, oral presentations and written assignments, video-recordings of practice, live-supervision, evaluation of field-experiences, and extensive personalized feedback. The Division of Counseling and School Psychology utilizes the latest version of BlackBoard as necessary to assist in the delivery of instruction in all classes. Core Curricular Experiences The counseling program seeks to be aligned with the 2009 standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for both Mental Health and School Counseling tracks. As such, the program is expected to provide specific core curricular experiences and evidence that track specific learning outcomes are met. Students will be expected to demonstrate specific professional knowledge, skills, and practices within their chosen discipline. 1. PROFESSIONAL ORIENTATION AND ETHICAL PRACTICE studies that provide an understanding of all of the following aspects of professional functioning: a. history and philosophy of the counseling profession; b. professional roles, functions, and relationships with other human service providers, including strategies for interagency/interorganization collaboration and communications; c. counselors roles and responsibilities as members of an interdisciplinary emergency management response team during a local, regional, or national crisis, disaster or other trauma-causing event; d. self-care strategies appropriate to the counselor role; e. counseling supervision models, practices, and processes; f. professional organizations, including membership benefits, activities, services to members, and current issues; g. professional credentialing, including certification, licensure, and accreditation practices and standards, and the effects of public policy on these issues; h. the role and process of the professional counselor advocating on behalf of the profession; i. advocacy processes needed to address institutional and social barriers that impede access, equity, and success for clients; and j. ethical standards of professional organizations and credentialing bodies, and applications of ethical and legal considerations in professional counseling. 2. SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY studies that provide an understanding of the cultural context of relationships, issues, and trends in a multicultural society, including all of the following: a. multicultural and pluralistic trends, including characteristics and concerns within and among diverse groups nationally and internationally; b. attitudes, beliefs, understandings, and acculturative experiences, including specific experiential learning activities designed to foster students understanding of self and culturally diverse clients; c. theories of multicultural counseling, identity development, and social justice; d. individual, couple, family, group, and community strategies for working with and advocating for diverse populations, including multicultural competencies; e. counselors roles in developing cultural self-awareness, promoting cultural social justice, advocacy and conflict resolution, and other culturally supported behaviors that promote optimal wellness and growth of the human spirit, mind, or body; and f. counselors roles in eliminating biases, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination.
6 3. HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of persons at all developmental levels and in multicultural contexts, including all of the following: a. theories of individual and family development and transitions across the life span; b. theories of learning and personality development, including current understandings about neurobiological behavior; c. effects of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on persons of all ages; d. theories and models of individual, cultural, couple, family, and community resilience; e. a general framework for understanding exceptional abilities and strategies for differentiated interventions; f. human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crises, disability, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior; g. theories and etiology of addictions and addictive behaviors, including strategies for prevention, intervention, and treatment; and h. theories for facilitating optimal development and wellness over the life span. 4. CAREER DEVELOPMENT studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors, including all of the following: a. career development theories and decision-making models; b. career, avocational, educational, occupational and labor market information resources, and career information systems; c. career development program planning, organization, implementation, administration, and evaluation; d. interrelationships among and between work, family, and other life roles and factors, including the role of multicultural issues in career development; e. career and educational planning, placement, follow-up, and evaluation; f. assessment instruments and techniques relevant to career planning and decision making; and g. career counseling processes, techniques, and resources, including those applicable to specific populations in a global economy. 5. HELPING RELATIONSHIPS studies that provide an understanding of the counseling process in a multicultural society, including all of the following: a. an orientation to wellness and prevention as desired counseling goals; b. counselor characteristics and behaviors that influence helping processes; c. essential interviewing and counseling skills; d. counseling theories that provide the student with models to conceptualize client presentation and that help the student select appropriate counseling interventions. Students will be exposed to models of counseling that are consistent with current professional research and practice in the field so they begin to develop a personal model of counseling; e. a systems perspective that provides an understanding of family and other systems theories and major models of family and related interventions; f. a general framework for understanding and practicing consultation; and g. crisis intervention and suicide prevention models, including the use of psychological first aid strategies. 4
7 5 6. GROUP WORK studies that provide both theoretical and experiential understandings of group purpose, development, dynamics, theories, methods, skills, and other group approaches in a multicultural society, including all of the following: a. principles of group dynamics, including group process components, developmental stage theories, group members roles and behaviors, and therapeutic factors of group work; b. group leadership or facilitation styles and approaches, including characteristics of various types of group leaders and leadership styles; c. theories of group counseling, including commonalities, distinguishing characteristics, and pertinent research and literature; d. group counseling methods, including group counselor orientations and behaviors, appropriate selection criteria and methods, and methods of evaluation of effectiveness; and e. direct experiences in which students participate as group members in a small group activity, approved by the program, for a minimum of 10 clock hours over the course of one academic term. 7. ASSESSMENT studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation in a multicultural society, including all of the following: a. historical perspectives concerning the nature and meaning of assessment; b. basic concepts of standardized and nonstandardized testing and other assessment techniques, including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessment, environmental assessment, performance assessment, individual and group test and inventory methods, psychological testing, and behavioral observations; c. statistical concepts, including scales of measurement, measures of central tendency, indices of variability, shapes and types of distributions, and correlations; d. reliability (i.e., theory of measurement error, models of reliability, and the use of reliability information); e. validity (i.e., evidence of validity, types of validity, and the relationship between reliability and validity); f. social and cultural factors related to the assessment and evaluation of individuals, groups, and specific populations; and g. ethical strategies for selecting, administering, and interpreting assessment and evaluation instruments and techniques in counseling. 8. RESEARCH AND PROGRAM EVALUATION studies that provide an understanding of research methods, statistical analysis, needs assessment, and program evaluation, including all of the following: a. the importance of research in advancing the counseling profession; b. research methods such as qualitative, quantitative, single-case designs, action research, and outcome-based research; c. statistical methods used in conducting research and program evaluation; d. principles, models, and applications of needs assessment, program evaluation, and the use of findings to effect program modifications; e. the use of research to inform evidence-based practice; and f. ethical and culturally relevant strategies for interpreting and reporting the results of research and/or program evaluation studies.
8 6 Program Milestones As you progress through the program semester by semester, there are various milestones that you must complete in addition to your coursework. They are as follows: Full-time sequence Year One: Admission to the program New student orientation and advising Pre-practicum workshops: Fall Semester Student progress monitoring: End of Fall Semester Practicum experience & performance evaluation: Spring Semester Student progress monitoring: End of Spring Semester Qualifying exam - end of 1st year spring semester Advancement to Candidacy Year Two Internship I and Performance evaluation: Fall semester Comprehensive Examination: Spring Semester Student progress monitoring & post- CPCE Advising: Spring Semester Internship II and Performance evaluation: Spring Semester Exit interview: End of Spring Semester Commencement! Post-commencement licensure/certification process Part-time sequence Year One: Admission to the program New student orientation and advising Student Progress monitoring: End of Fall Semester Year Two Pre-practicum workshops: Fall Semester Practicum experience & performance evaluation: Spring Semester Student progress monitoring: End of Spring Semester Qualifying exam - end of 1st year spring semester Advancement to Candidacy Year Three: Internship I and Performance evaluation: Fall semester Comprehensive Examination: Spring Semester Student progress monitoring & post- CPCE Advising: Spring Semester Internship II and Performance evaluation: Spring Semester Exit interview: End of Spring Semester Commencement! Post-commencement licensure/certification process
9 ADMISSION TO THE PROGRAM Applicants applying for admission to the Counseling program are evaluated by the Admissions Committee, on the basis of multiple criteria including: (1) grade point average of undergraduate coursework leading to the bachelor s degree; (2) scores on the Graduate Record Exam; (3) related course-work, employment, or volunteer experience; (4) the applicant's personal statement of purpose; (5) three letters of reference; and (6) an oncampus interview that involves at least two faculty members in order to assess: a. each applicant s understanding of the program; b. each applicant s career goals and their relevance to the program; c. each applicant s potential success in forming effective and culturally relevant interpersonal relationships in individual and small-group contexts; d. each applicant s aptitude for graduate-level study; e. each applicant s commitment to the professional and ethical foundations of counseling. NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION A graduate student orientation is conducted prior to the beginning of the first semester. The purpose of this orientation is to help make the transition to graduate student life more successful students will have a chance to learn about campus resources, review this handbook, meet with their faculty advisor, and register for classes. During orientation, the faculty advisor will assist students in planning and successfully implementing their plan of study. Students are responsible for meeting with their academic advisor at least once per semester. Students will retain the same academic advisor throughout their degree program unless a change is recommended. PRE-PRACTICUM WORKSHOPS There are three pre-practicum workshops that students are required to attend. The purpose is for students to understand the entire process of preparing for and selecting a practicum site. Students will become acclimated to the different environments in which counseling occurs through a series of site visits to schools, mental health agencies, and/or college/university counseling centers. The workshop sequence culminates with the selection and confirmation of the site placement. STUDENT PROGRESS MONITORING Counseling, in addition to academic excellence, requires self-understanding, interpersonal effectiveness, a commitment to helping others, and a commitment to continued personal growth and professional development. Students are expected to be knowledgeable of and at all times adhere to the general standards of professional ethics and practice set forth by the American Counseling Association (ACA). With this in mind, students will engage in a process of student progress monitoring at least three times throughout their program, and more frequently if indicated, the Counseling Program undertakes a systematic review of each student s progress. This review involves both written evaluation (See Appendix B for sample Student Progress Monitoring form) and a meeting with each student in which the core faculty take part. The purpose is to provide constructive feedback on student progress, strengths, and areas in need of improvement. Student progress monitoring is a formative process that encourages professional growth and development in relation to academics, practicum/internship experiences, and personal and professional development skills. This component is a strength of the counseling program and key to the development and functioning of counselorsin-training. In addition, the core faculty uses this process to solicit feedback from the students about any aspect of the counseling program in order to make any necessary changes. Students having difficulty in demonstrating minimum counseling competencies (e.g., knowledge, skills, and professionalism) will be so informed during this feedback session and recommendations for remediation will be given. Remediation activities are focused on overcoming identified deficits. The duration of remediation activities and assessment of remediation outcome are based on the needs of the student. Failure to achieve 7
10 counseling competencies following remediation efforts can result in students being dismissed from the program. Decisions are made by the scholastic standards committee (see AU policy 402.2). QUALIFYING EXAM & ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY The satisfactory completion of a qualifying examination is a requirement for continuation in and graduation from the program. Therefore, all counseling students are required to take a qualifying exam upon successful completion of course requirements at the end of their first year (end of the second year for part-time students) as determined by program faculty. The exam is held over 2 mornings during the week following commencement. The purpose of this written examination is to evaluate students on their knowledge of applied professional skills. Two essay/application questions will require the integration and synthesis of any course material presented up until this point in the students program. The core faculty of the Counseling program will develop the questions and appoint the readers. Grading of the responses will be on a pass-fail basis, with two readers (blind to the identity of the students) for each question. In the event of a discrepancy in grading, a third reader will be appointed. Each question is graded separately, and the student will only have to retake the sections that were not passed. In the event of a marginal pass/fail response on any section of the examination, the student will be given a chance to clarify his/her response through a follow-up oral exam taken within four weeks of the original administration. A student must demonstrate proficiency for both questions within two attempts to pass the examination. Any student who fails a qualifying or comprehensive examination for the second time is dismissed from the graduate program (AU Graduate Academic Policy 402.4). Upon successful completion of the qualifying examination, students will advance to candidacy, indicating that they are qualified for internship and remaining coursework. PRACTICUM/INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCES The Counseling program requires all students to complete a supervised counseling practicum and internship experience. The goal is to provide the student with a professional counseling experience under the close supervision of a qualified supervisor who can assist the student in refining professional skills, according to their level of development while still in a learning situation. The practicum is a semester-long experience in which students work in an agency or school and acquire 100 supervised total hours, 40 of which are direct service with clients/students. Students also provide counseling at Alfred University s Child and Family Services Center under the supervision of program faculty. The internship experience occurs over the course of two semesters (in a student s final year) in which they must accumulate at least 600 total hours, 240 of which are direct service with clients/students. In addition to performing at acceptable academic levels in the program, it is expected that students will demonstrate the ability to perform at acceptable levels during the practicum/internship experience. At the end of each experience, the site supervisor will provide a formal evaluation of the student s counseling performance. For more information, refer to the Alfred University Practicum/Internship Handbook. COMPREHENSIVE EXAMINATION The Counseling Program at Alfred University utilizes the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE), a mandatory test taken by students at the beginning of the spring semester of their final year. The CPCE is designed to assess counseling students knowledge across the eight core-curricular experiences (previously described). In addition, it provides students with comparative feedback of their strengths and weaknesses and helps the faculty systematically evaluate the program and make needed adjustments. Dates of the examination will be announced in September of each year and registration information will be provided by the Counseling Program. The cost to take this exam is $50. 8
11 Students should prepare for this exam as if they were studying for the National Counselor Exam (NCE). A list of study guides is available at Once scores are posted, students should set up a meeting with their faculty advisor to review their exam results and to have an individual feedback session prior to graduation. Students who do not obtain an overall score above the program s cut off score, which is set at one standard deviation below the national mean, must take the exam a second time. You must meet with your faculty advisor prior to taking the exam a second time to review performance and develop a plan for improvement. Students who fail the comprehensive examination three times may be dismissed from the program. Students are strongly encouraged to do their best on the CPCE as this will assist students in determining their strengths and weaknesses should they choose to take the National Counselor Exam. The National Counselor Exam (NCE) is not part of the requirements for graduation. However, the Counseling Program at Alfred University offers it as an option for students. The NCE is one of the requirements leading to eligibility as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) as well as for licensure in many states (although not New York). The Counseling Program administers the NCE towards the end of the spring semester each year. EXIT INTERVIEW Prior to graduation, students will engage in an exit interview in order to provide feedback about specific aspects of the program that they found beneficial and effective as well as areas that may need further attention or modification. COMMENCEMENT Students must successfully complete all course and program requirements to be eligible to participate in the commencement ceremony. Candidates for the Master of Science in Education (MSEd) and Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) are required to complete the Application for Graduation form at least 60 days prior to the graduation date. This form is also available at the Student Service Center. The full package of regalia can be ordered and purchased from the AU Bookstore and the actual order can be picked up the week of graduation. Post-Commencement Licensure/Certification Process Endorsement Policy. Consistent with the ACA Code of Ethics (2005) on endorsement (F.5.d), Alfred University s Counseling Program can endorse for licensing, credentialing, and employment only those students who are or have been enrolled in this program. Endorsements will be made on the basis of demonstrated proficiency in the relevant credentialing or licensing area. Mental Health Counselors. Alfred University s mental health counseling program is registered with New York State as a Licensure Qualified Program, which means that students will have completed all of the educational requirements to obtain their license as a Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). The licensing regulations require that individuals accumulate 3,000 post-graduate hours of experience (approximately 2 years), of which 1,500 are direct client contact, under the supervision of a licensed mental health practitioner and pass the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam. Licensure standards, requirements, and application materials can be downloaded online at: School Counselors. Upon completion of the Master of Science degree in School Counseling, graduates are eligible for provisional certification as a School Counselor (K-12) in New York State. Permanent certification is awarded after two years of work experience. Further, your degree has reciprocity with most other states, meaning that your training will be accepted as meeting the training requirements for certification in those states. For further information and application requirements, visit the NYSED website at: 9