Counselor Education

Retention Policy & Experiential Learning Statement

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Department of Counselor Education

Retention Policy & Experiential Learning Statement

Please read the following statements carefully. At the end of the document click the verify link to confirm that you have read the statements. Remember to keep a copy for your own personal records.

Retention Policy*

(Adopted by Department of Counselor Education faculty - March 1994; revised December 2006)
*Adopted from the South Dakota State University Counselor Education Department, with permission.

The Counselor Education faculty take a serious view of the professional obligation of mentoring students once admitted, providing assistance and support to facilitate their professional development and ultimate graduation. It is not uncommon that in our concern for the quality of the counselor trainees enrolled in our graduate program, the ability of specific students to function at the standard level expected is called into question. TheEthical Standards of the American Counseling Association (ACA, 2005) in Section F: Supervision, Training and Teaching states:

  • F.9.b. Limitations

    Counselor educators, throughout ongoing evaluation and appraisal, are aware of and address the inabilities of some students to achieve counseling competencies that might impede performance. Counselor educators (1) assist students in securing remedial assistance when needed, (2) seek professional consultation and document their decision to dismiss or refer students for assistance, and (3) require them to seek assistance, or to dismiss them and provide students with due process according to institutional policies and procedures.

In addition to such performance competencies, students must have knowledge of, and adherence to, a high level of ethical conduct as again identified in the Ethical Standards (ACA, 2005):

  • F.6.d. Teaching Ethics

    Counselor educators make students and supervisees aware of the ethical responsibilities and standards of the profession and the ethical responsibilities of sudents to the profession.

As noted by Stadler (October, l984) in an editorial "Why be Ethical?" in the American Mental Health Counselors Association Journal: "Unethical conduct reflects poorly on the counseling profession, its related associations, and on us as members of the profession. Obviously it is not conducive to the development of the profession to condone or overlook such problems" (p. l50).

Retention Statement

Counselor trainees are responsible for meeting all requirements of the Department of Counselor Education at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. More specifically:

  1. Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing;

  2. Students must adhere to the Academic Regulations and Procedures identified in the YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW AND ACADEMIC POLICIES HANDBOOK (chapter 2);

  3. Students must maintain the ethical standards of the American Counseling Association (1997);

  4. Students must demonstrate functional competence in fulfilling the professional tasks and duties of the discipline. The Department of Counselor Education considers lack of functional competence to include but not be limited to the following: an inability or unwillingness to acquire and integrate professional standards into one's repertoire of professional behavior;

  5. An inability to acquire professional skills and reach an accepted level of competency;

  6. An inability to control personal stress, psychological dysfunction, or emotional reactions that may affect professional functioning (Lamb, Cochran, and Jackson, 1991).

The second, third and fourth requirements empower the Counselor Education faculty to place on probation or dismiss a counselor trainee when ethical standards are violated and/or functional competence is seriously inadequate.

Retention Review

In view of the seriousness of such situations, the Counselor Education faculty have established the following policies to serve as a working guide when questions regarding retention arise:

  1. As a first level of action, an individual Counselor Education faculty member shall meet with the student(s) in question, express the specific concern(s) and seek to establish a plan to remedy the situation before more drastic action would be necessary.

  2. As a second level of action, any Counselor Education faculty member shall feel free at any Counselor Education faculty meeting to raise the question of any specific student's progress (and/or competence) in the program and thus initiate informal discussion of the situation. The Counselor Education faculty as a whole shall attempt to remediate the specific concern in an informal approach.

  3. If the informal approach developed at level two fails to accomplish the desired goal for any reason, the respective faculty member next presents the specific concern in a formal Retention Review to the Counselor Education faculty as a whole. The purpose of the formal Retention Review is to determine if a more specific plan of remediation can be developed or if the student should be retained in the program. The student's advisor, the department chair and the concerned faculty member will monitor progress of the remediation plan each semester as long as appropriate or until it is decided to terminate the student's tenure in the program.

During this Retention Review, the Counselor Education faculty as a whole will review the student's status in the program, being led in this review by the student's advisor. Second, the student will be provided with the opportunity to present any appropriate information. Third, the concerned faculty member will have an opportunity to elaborate on the nature of the concern. After the Counselor Education faculty member and student have been heard, discussion by the Counselor Education faculty shall proceed with the goal of making a decision, which may be one of the following:

  1. The concerns do not warrant further action, for whatever reason, and the student will be allowed to continue in the program of study without restriction.

  2. The student may be placed on probation with specific requirement established by remediation. Procedures must be developed for progress to be monitored by the advisor and Department Chair. The Counselor Education faculty as a whole must be consulted and will decide if and/or when the student may be removed from probation. While on probation, the student would not usually be enrolled in a counseling practicum or internship.

  3. The student may be dismissed from the program and may not enroll in further coursework in the Department of Counselor Education at The College at Brockport.

After determination of action by the Counselor Education faculty in the Retention Review process, their decision will be communicated in writing to the student. The student may appeal the Retention Review decision through the College grievance process by contacting the Dean of the School of Education and Human Services.

Experiential Learning Statement

The Department of Counselor Education is an experiential program that combines both didactic and experiential approaches to learning to help you become an effective professional counselor. While learning theory and knowledge about counseling is important, it is not sufficient to becoming a professional counselor. The greatest skill or tool that you bring to your role of counselor is your personhood. For that reason, all classes entail an experiential component to help you explore your values, beliefs, behaviors, and feelings that impact you as a counselor.

Experiential learning may result in you experiencing levels of high emotional intensity. This is generally due to the fact that you are gaining self-awareness and addressing peers in an open and genuine way. You are expected to be willing to learn about yourself and to facilitate others to gain self-knowledge.

If this approach to learning is not what you expect or wish to experience, you are encouraged to reconsider your application to the department. If accepted into the program, you are expected to be willing to engage in experiential learning. If you find out that engagement in experiential learning is not what you expect or wish to experience, speak with your instructor and with your advisor to discuss your continuation in your emphasis of study.

Verification Signature

Please verify that you have read both the Retention Policy and the Experiential Learning Statement.

Last Updated 2/13/18

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