Program Evaluation Summary


Career Counseling (2015-16)

Graduates 3
Completion rate 100%
Job Placement rate 100%

Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities (2015-16)

Graduates 7
Completion rate 100%
Licensure pass rate 83% (5 passed out of 6)
Job Placement rate 100%

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Graduates 9
Completion rate 100%
Licensure pass rate 100%
Job Placement rate 100%

School Counseling (2015-16)

Graduates 17
Completion rate 100%
Certification pass rate 100%
Job Placement rate 97%

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision (2015-16)

Graduates 6
Completion rate 90%
Licensure pass rate 100%
Job Placement rate 100%


Program evaluation, which is a continuous activity for the Counselor Education program, is based on data from a variety of sources including (a) surveys of alumni, employers of graduates, and supervisors that occur at least every three years; (b) yearly evaluations of the program that students submit anonymously with their annual self evaluations; (c) feedback from members of the Counselor Education Advisory Board; (d) other meetings and interactions with students, supervisors, and employers throughout the academic year; and (e) other appropriate evaluative data.

Alumni Responses (2014 and 2015):

  • Of 21 alumni who responded to the surveys, 19 rated the overall program as Very Good, 5 rated it as Good, and 2 rated it Adequate.
  • The majority of alumni were certified in their respective specialization areas (e.g., Certified Elementary School Counselor) and/or as Nationally Certified Counselors. A smaller percentage of alumni were working toward or had earned their LPC.
  • Alumni ratings for practicum and internship were consistently high, as were their ratings of their counseling training and learning counseling competencies.
  • Alumni in general were satisfied to very satisfied with their advising experience, although a small percentage of students noted dissatisfaction with their advising.

Employer and Supervisor Responses (2014-2015):

  • On a scale from Very Good (5) to Very Poor (1), all employer ratings were Very Good or Good for the following areas: academic preparation, counseling skills, professional development, knowledge of current issues, knowledge of legal and ethical issues, and skills in dealing with diversity. The administrative skills area was rated as Good to Adequate.
  • Areas noted as strengths for interns and graduates included strong counseling skills, strong multicultural awareness and training, dedication and commitment to the field of counseling, professionalism, strong academic training, and the ability to translate "book learning" into practice.
  • Strengths of the program included the practicum experience, the focus on research based approaches to counseling, and faculty commitment to students.
  • Suggestions for improvement included better preparation for graduates to work with clients with mental health disorders, more content on drug and alcohol counseling, more experience with the "real world" work of counselors, increased training in the areas of cyber-bullying and ways to use technology in counseling, and more small group experience for students.

Student Responses (2015-16):

  • Students were consistently satisfied with their interactions with faculty, noting that faculty were open, accessible, flexible, and knowledgeable. Students appreciated that faculty were actively involved in research yet still available to students outside of the room.
  • Students reported appreciation with how the administrative staff is very supportive.
  • Students appreciated the breadth and depth of the program as well as the logical sequencing of courses, noting that they had flexibility to pursue their own specialized interests and that faculty encouraged independent learning.
  • Students valued the multicultural counseling focus of the program, noting that this focus was infused throughout all of their courses.
  • Practicum and internship were consistently noted as essential courses that allowed students to get hands-on, skill focused training throughout the program.
  • Other assets students noted about the program were the warm and welcoming environment in the department, the opportunities to create community (e.g., Mentoring program provided by Rho Alpha Mu Chapter of CSI, recreational and academic gatherings), and the practical and applied focus of many of the courses.
  • Students also noted the following areas where the program could be strengthened: more focus on younger children in some of the courses, more interaction between first and second year students and doctoral students, increased financial assistance for students, more structured academic advising opportunities, and more opportunities to earn electives without adding time to the program. With regard to the Cedar Clinic practicum, students wanted increased space and more computers in the "session notes" room and they also noted that practicum should be expanded over two semesters given the amount of time it takes to complete the required hours while taking a full course load.
  • Students wanted to increase the opportunity to combine the Rehabilitation Counseling program (CORE Accredited) with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities program (CACREP Accredited) for practical purposes and for additional employment opportunities.

Other appropriate evaluative data (2015-16):

  • All 15 graduating school counseling students passed the School Counselor PRAXIS exam. Results for school counselors were well above state and national averages in all 5 areas and total scores.
  • 19 of 21 2015 graduating students passed the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and all score mean totals where above those of professionals in the field.

Changes in the program based on evolving needs and consumer evaluations:

  • Dual Emphasis process was developed in 2013 for students to gain recognition for completing both the CORE accredited Rehabilitation Counseling program and the CACREP accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities program. A CACREP and CORE agreement in 2014 allowed for the development of a formal combining of Clinical Rehabilitation and Clinical Mental Health programs that could meet the requirements of both accrediting bodies.  Based on overwhelming support of students, supervisors, and employers, Penn State developed a separate self-study application that for this combined program that became accredited by both CACREP and CORE in May, 2016.
  • Following admission, first and second year students are put in touch with each other so that second year students can support the beginning of the program of first year students. Second year counseling students are also paired with first year students to promote interaction.
  • The Cedar Clinic facility has been updated so that all sessions are recorded using new digital recording technology, Haivision. The "session notes" room has been expanded so students have more access to computers when writing their notes.  Clinic notes are now all electronic and processes have been updated to meet state and HIPAA guidelines.  Additionally, clients use iPads for the intake and weekly assessments, Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms.,
  • To increase focus on younger children, collaborations were developed with local schools so that both school and non-school counseling trainees can get experience counseling youth in the community as part of their practicum and internship experiences.
  • Client intake and counseling notes have been integrated into a national college counseling database, Center for Collegiate Mental Health, that now allows for additional research and comparison of students working in CEDAR Clinic to other programs nationwide. End of semester data is now shared with faculty and students. All information remains private as it is codded to protect clients’ confidentiality.
  • Faculty discuss funding opportunities at meetings every spring, and are always looking for additional graduate assistantship opportunities for students. In addition to college assigned graduate assistantships, faculty apply for various grants, and university sponsored graduate assistantships and fellowships for students each year which added up to 9 additional assistantship and fellowship for 2016-17.
  • A Counselor Education Newsletter was established based on student, supervisor, and alumni comments. It is available on the Counselor Education website Based on additional feedback, starting in fall 2016 there will be a section of each newsletter that deals with program evaluation and related changes.

(Updated 8/19/2016)