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Program Evaluation Summary


Career Counseling

Graduates 4
Completion rate 100%
Licensure pass rate 100%
Job Placement rate 100%

Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities

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

Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling/Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Graduates 10
Completion rate 100%
Licensure pass rate 100%
Job Placement rate 100%

School Counseling

Graduates 9
Completion rate 99%
Certification pass rate 100%
Job Placement rate 100%

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision

Graduates 13
Completion rate 100%
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 (2019-20):

    The 165 alumni who responded to the surveys in 2019, rated the program as good or very good, with an average of 4.2 on a scale of 1, low, to 5, high. The age ranged from 24 to 82 years old.

    The majority of alumni were certified in their respective specialization areas (e.g., Certified Elementary School Counselor or Secondary School Counselor, or License Professional Counselor) and/or as Nationally Certified Counselors.

    The majority of the respondents were currently employed in a counseling field or in a profession where they utilize their counselor training: Examples:

  • Elementary School Counselor
  • Secondary School Counselor
  • Career Counselor
  • Clinical Mental Health Counselor
  • Rehabilitation Counselor
  • Interim Assoc. VP/Dean of Student Affairs
  • Faculty in a Counselor Education Program
  • Professor
  • Sexual Assault Counselor
  • Therapist and Research Coordinator at The Pediatric Eating Disorders Center
  • Transition classroom therapist
  • Unit Supervisor for Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with OVR
  • Military Disability Specialist
  • Benefits Clinician
  • Family Based Therapist
  • Associate Professor, Director of School Counseling Program
  • Director of Accessibility Services

Alumni ratings for practicum and internship were consistently high, as were their ratings of their counseling training and learning counseling competencies (averages within the 4 to 5 range).

    Alumni in general were satisfied to very satisfied with their advising experience (averages within the 4 to 5 range).

Alumni reported membership includes ACA, ACES, AMHCA, PCA, ACCA, ASCA, NBCC, NARACES, ALGBTIC, NLPA, CSI, PMHCA, AMCD, ARCA.

The majority of the alumni were very satisfied with the opportunities to interact with faculty during the completion of their program (averages within the 4 to 5 range).

Alumni rated the program very highly (averages within the 4 to 5 range).

The following are aspects of the program that were especially effective to Alumni: Availability of professors to help and advise.

  • Teaching requirement - it prepared me for the classroom & writing a syllabus, skills that I find quite a few new faculty lack.
  • Advisement, dissertation advisement, strength of courses, and clear course plans.
  • Clinical experience in the counseling clinic. Practicum  Internship/ supervision  Over all emphasis on wellness (very effective for transitioning into work).
  • I loved it. I learned so much. I miss it often.
  • Most professors were excellent teachers who were personally congruent with the profession.
  • Counseling skills, some aspects of advocacy and social justice. Some supervisors were very helpful, generally speaking the faculty who were still very involved in current counseling practice in the field were most helpful.
  • Focus on diversity on multiple levels, approachable professors.
  • Mentorship, involvement in professional associations and organizations, writing and research skills.
  • Amazing opportunities for research mentorship
  • Learning how to analyze research Learning how to write a graduate level
  • The program met requirements which allowed me to obtain my LPC.
  • Excellent skill building!

Testimonial: I thoroughly enjoyed this graduate program. I found that the faculty were always willing to help and accommodate my needs. My personal belief is that faculty wanted to see students succeed and become leaders in the counseling field. I feel as though the Counselor Education Master's program at Penn State has well prepared me to be a counselor working in the field.

Employer and Supervisor Responses (2019-2020):

    On a scale from Very Good (5) to Very Poor (1), all 13 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 administrative skills (averages within the 4 to 5 range).

    Areas noted as strengths for interns and graduates included strong communication skills, counseling skills, strong multicultural awareness and training, dedication and commitment to the field of counseling, strong academic training, and professionalism.

    Strengths of the program included the practicum experience, the focus on research-based approaches to counseling, and faculty commitment to students.

None of the employers reported they would not hire one of our graduates again.

The following are examples of employers perceived strengths of our graduates:

Open minded, knowledgeable about counseling theory and best practice, student centered.

Case management class introduces them to skillsets needed to manage the caseload sizes in OVR.  Disability-strengths and focus on person first language is wonderful.

Research capabilities

Understanding the profession of counselor education, and the skills.

I can only speak about our one hire as a counselor educator in our clinical mental health counseling program. I have found her to have exceptional teaching skills and extensive knowledge in her area of expertise.

Excellent skills in preparing masters level students around counseling skills in practicum.

They have initiative and know the basics of counseling very well.

Professionalism and Leadership

Suggestions for improvement included raising awareness about students’ cyber footprint. Also, increasing multicultural competencies, counseling skills, and qualitative research skills. In addition, more preparation regarding the administrative demands in higher education and more training in the use of testing material were indicated.

Additional Comments:

Although I am many years out of PSU Graduate School, I believe that I received an excellent education in the program which prepared me for a satisfying and accomplished career.

It's a great program and we love our interns and employees.

Student Responses (2019-20):

Students (N = 64) were consistently satisfied with their interactions with faculty, noting that faculty were open, accessible, flexible, and knowledgeable. Students valued faculty enthusiasm for what they teach and appreciated that they were actively involved in research yet still available to students outside of the room (average scores ranged in the 4 to 5 [highest], scale).

    Students reported appreciation with how the administrative staff is very supportive.

    Students appreciated the breadth and depth of the program. They value the relevancy of the content provided. They felt well prepared to join the world of work as a counselor.

    Students valued the multicultural counseling focus of the program, noting that this focus was infused throughout all of their courses.

    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, meeting doctoral students, recreational and academic gatherings), and the practical and applied focus of many of the courses.

Changes in the program based on evolving needs, consumer evaluations, and other sources such as CACREP:

          A new Assessment of Key Performance Indicators was developed.

Now all of the courses share the same syllabus format.

           An extended orientation to the program was offered this year and will continue offered given positive comments from our new students.

Following admission, the program continues to put in contact first and second year students. Second year students support the beginning of the program of first year students. Second year counseling students are also paired with first year students to promote interaction. In addition, doctoral students also mentor master’s level students.

     CNED 497 Trauma Informed Care for School and Health Professionals, developed for graduate students who will likely work with people at risk for child maltreatment and other traumas, including having to report suspected child abuse, will continue to be offered as part of our courses. The risk and protective factors associated with trauma, the associated outcomes, the populations most at risk, the interventions, screening, and procedures for reporting, are included, among other topics to prepare counseling students to work with those impacted by trauma and child maltreatment.              

    Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialty continues to add sites and require audio or video recording at all sites. Sites for internship include but are not limited to: Foxdale; Friend’s School; Young Scholars; State College High School; Shippensburg University; Bellefonte High School; Taking Flight; Mount Nittany Behavioral Health Center; Volunteers in Medicine; and Crossroads Counseling. In addition, new mental health services were offered in our school district.

     The curriculum in CNED 510: Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling in Schools and Communities was completed. The curriculum now includes DSM-5 information and meets CACREP 2016 standards. Also updated were the textbooks, assessments, and activities of CNED 532: Diagnosis Counseling to expand opportunities to engage in the practice of diagnosis using the DSM-5 and ICD-10 codes. Information about evidence-based practices and the characteristics of specific medications was also expanded.

     The School Counseling specialty is now fully compliant with CACREP 2016 Standards. The final number of credits is 61. School Counseling Credit hour requirements were 55 hours required. Now, students take 61 hours to meet PA Licensure requirements. The two additional 3 hour courses are electives. Changes were made to student handbook and website by fall 2019.

     School counseling revised both the elementary and secondary school counseling so that they now both qualify for the new Pre-K-12 school counseling certification in the State of Pennsylvania.  The introductory course (CNED 503) is now a combination of the old 503 (elementary) and 504 (secondary) introductory courses. The course now has a Pre-K-12 focus while still allowing some special elementary or secondary emphasis in assignments.  The School Counseling Internship (CNED 595E) is now a combination of 595E (elementary) and 595F (secondary) internships. Students in the new CNED 595E spend the bulk of their 600 hour internship in either an elementary or secondary site to give a full year experience with one group of students and one school, but they will spend additional hours sometime during the year in the alternate school level, giving them additional experience.    

  The Herr Clinic facility has been updated so that all sessions are recorded using new digital recording technology, IVS. Clinic notes continue to be all electronic and processes have been updated to meet state and HIPAA guidelines.  Also, clients continue to use iPads for the intake and weekly assessments, like the Counseling Center Assessment of Psychological Symptoms. In addition, a new set of procedures were implemented regarding clients’ risk assessment.

    Continue collaborations with local schools focusing on younger children. Both school and non-school counseling trainees can get experience counseling youth in the community as part of their practicum and internship experiences.

     The monthly Specialty Coordinator’s meeting continues to share progress, advances, and potential concerns related to students, faculty, and Counselor Education Program. The focus of the 2020 meetings will include ways to address the suggested topics for improvement described by respondents: Awareness of cyber footprint. Increase multicultural competencies, counseling skills, and qualitative research skills. Adding more preparation regarding the administrative demands in higher education and more training in the use of testing materials.

For more information on Counselor Education accreditation please contact Dr. Carlos Zalaquett at:


Phone: (814) 867-6252

Office address:

327A CEDAR Building

University Park, PA 16802

(Updated 1/2020)