The Department of Counseling has the responsibility for evaluating the appropriateness of students to become counselors. In addition to maintaining university-wide academic standards for graduate students (e.g., minimum grade point) and University-wide regulations regarding conduct (Sections 41301-41304, Article 1.1, Title 5, California Code of Regulations), the Department is also concerned with professional standards regarding counseling trainees, such as those outlined in ACA and ASCA ethical standards and mandated by respective governing board (e.g., BBS, CTC).
The counseling faculty expect that students be involved in a process of academic, professional and personal growth. Throughout the program, students are evaluated in terms academic knowledge, practitioner competencies, and personal characteristics (i.e., non-academic competencies). Continuation in the program is based on positive faculty evaluation in all of these areas.
- Academic Knowledge: Students must successfully complete all academic and clinical courses with the grade of a B- or better.
- Practitioner Competencies: Students must demonstrate proficiency in the skills and competencies covered in the following clinical courses: pre-practicum (COUN 510A), practicum (COUN 510B), field experience (514A/B & 515A/B), and group seminars (COUN 512).
- Personal Characteristics: Students are expected to conform to the legal and ethical standards of the respective professional associations (ACA, ASCA, and CAMFT). In addition, students, in their learning and professional activities, are expected to demonstrate a range of non-academic competencies. These competencies include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Collaborates and functions with peers and faculty
- Is assertive, respectful, and ethical among peers and colleagues
- Willing to engage with others from diverse cultures
- Exhibits flexibility, caring, and an uncritical nature
- Can identify personal difficulties affecting counseling ability
- Establishes rapport and relationships with clients
- Is aware of personal boundaries with others
- Accepts and provides respectful feedback to classmates and colleagues
- Exhibits participation and respect
- Able to deal with and manage conflict, one's "high emotions"
Openness to Self-Evaluation and Growth:
- Is receptive, non-defensive and integrates feedback
- Can work through personal issues
- Exhibits awareness of impact on others
- Able to self-reflect and engage in self-reflection activities
- Is aware of values and personal issues
- Is aware of and can identify personal strengths and limitations
- Consults supervisors and faculty as appropriate
- Understands role of obstacles or ineffectiveness in counseling
- Is aware of unhealthy relationships in life
- Able to maintain personal and professional balance in life
- Exhibits awareness of personal strengths, weaknesses
- Exhibits self-assurance and confidence in therapeutic skills
- Exhibits progress in therapeutic skill development and conceptualization
- Is on time and attends all classes; participates
- Is responsible for completing all assignments on time
- Demonstrates professional involvement
- Follows all applicable Codes of Ethics (.e. ACA, ASCA, CAMFT) and program ethical standards
- Exhibits a professional attitude and conduct; demonstrates work ethics
- Demonstrates clinical skills
- Demonstrates leadership and professional advocacy
- Is aware of diversity issues and is able to engage professional interactions with diverse populations
- Demonstrates professional development that goes beyond the classroom
Each semester faculty conduct a Comprehensive Student Review process, during which each student’s performance on academics, practitioner competencies/clinical skills, and non-academic competencies is evaluated. All faculty currently working with the student provide feedback on the student, and the feedback is discussed during designated full faculty or track-specific faculty meetings.
If the faculty determine that a student is performing adequately in all three areas, the student will receive feedback to that effect from their advisor. In some cases of adequate performance, the faculty may have feedback on areas of growth for the student to continue to monitor and further develop during the rest of their time in the program. These areas of growth are typical among counseling students and do not constitute issues that rise to the level of concern for faculty.
If the faculty determine that a student is not performing adequately academically, clinically, or in terms of their non-academic competencies, the student's advisor, in conjunction with the other faculty, develops either a Student Support or Remediation Plan.
Student Support Plan
Student Support Plans are developed for students for whom there is an issue that could hinder the student’s academic, clinical, or professional development and, as a result, could rise to the level of a more significant concern at some later point in time. The Student Support Plan is a written document developed by the student’s advisor, in consultation with other faculty, that clearly outlines areas of needed support for the student, a plan that includes expected observable outcomes, and a plan for follow up on the Student Support Plan. The advisor and student will meet to review the plan and both the student and advisor sign the document. The document is sent to all relevant faculty who are working with the student.
Before the follow up meeting, the advisor solicits feedback from all faculty on the student’s progress on the Student Support Plan and the advisor and student meet again to review progress on the plan and to determine if the plan is complete or if an extension of the plan is needed. The outcome is documented on the Follow Up Student Support Plan.
A Remediation Plan is developed for students about whom the advisor and faculty have concerns about their academics, clinical skills, and/or non-academic competencies. Unlike a student support plan, which preventatively addresses an issue that could become problematic later, the Remediation Plan is intended to
address a change that is required for the student to continue in the program. The Remediation Plan is developed by the advisor in consultation with the faculty. As with the Student Support Plan, the advisor and student meet to review the plan, which outlines areas of concern, the plan of action, expected observable outcomes, and a plan for follow up. At that meeting, the advisor and student sign the document, and it is forward for review and signatures by the program coordinator and department chair. The plan is also forwarded to all relevant faculty working with the student.
Prior to meeting again to assess progress on the Remediation Plan, the advisor seeks feedback from other faculty about the student’s progress on the plan. The advisor and student then meet to discuss progress. If the student has met all expected outcomes, the Remediation Plan is complete and this is documented on the Follow Up Remediation Plan. If the student has made some progress, but more is needed, an extension of the Remediation Plan is implemented.. If the student has not made any progress toward meeting the documented outcomes, the advisor and faculty convene to discuss dismissal from the program. The process is intended to be continuously transparent so that, if we reach the point of dismissing a student, it is because the student did not meet the agreed upon (and signed) outcomes.
There may be situations in which a student demonstrates an egregious academic, clinical, or non-academic violation. Such rare cases are considered on a case-by-case basis and could involve immediate dismissal, thereby forgoing the above Support/Remediation Plan procedure.
The student may appeal these decisions in writing and such an appeal will be considered by the faculty. Additionally, the student may file a grievance if they believe the Remediation Plan or its outcomes are not appropriate and such grievance is reviewed by the University Dispute Resolution Board.