Our Philosophy of Evaluation
Program assessment and evaluation begins with clear program objectives, against which the activities within the program can be compared. Thus the activities of evaluation are as diverse as program content and process, and the persons who can engage in productive evaluation are equally diverse.
Evaluation tends to focus in two directions: evaluation of individual student progress toward counselor competencies and internalized identity, and evaluation of program success in meeting its stated mission and goals.
The most important groups engaging in program evaluation are the current students and graduates, the faculty and staff, the university’s institutional effectiveness administrators, and the program accrediting bodies.
A clear mission that grounds program goals and student outcome objectives, and the assessment of success in achieving goals and objectives should engage all stakeholders in important identity conversations, strategic planning, curriculum planning, and evaluation of effectiveness.
A healthy counselor education program is a dynamic, evolving system that lives within larger institutional, disciplinary and professional, and cultural contexts. As such, the owning and implementation of mission, vision, and purpose is never completely defined. Perhaps our most important ‘objective’ is to remember to always be open to dimensions of heart and soul, which we never “capture,” even in our best efforts to define and evaluate.
Four overarching objectives guide our program training. A graduate of the Eastern Mennonite University Master of Arts in Counseling program will:
- Be prepared academically and possess the requisite clinical and professional skills to begin work as Resident in Counseling (the name given to the graduate completing supervision hours before licensure) toward professional counseling licensure;
- Meet program expectations in the areas of professional responsibility, theoretical and procedural knowledge, and personal and professional development; be an informed member of the relevant professional organization(s);
- Utilize self-examination and supervision effectively to improve counseling effectiveness; and
- Have internalized and be able to articulate an effective and theoretically grounded clinical mental health counselor identity; convey effective ways to take care of themselves in this difficult work, experiencing joy and a sense of purpose in their counseling calling.
Since 2000, we have periodically administered alumni, employer and supervisor surveys to gather feedback and input from graduates working in the field, employers who consistently hire our graduates and supervisors who consistently supervise our students. In 2013, we determined the necessity to survey annually to incorporate feedback and suggestions into program review and planning. To this end, each year in January we administer an online (through SurveyMonkey) graduate survey of the previous year’s graduates [See results below.]
Additionally, in 2014, faculty determined that it would be helpful to receive input from supervisors who consistently supervise our students. Therefore, each year we hold a supervisor’s meeting and distribute an evaluation. [See supervisor feedback below.]
During a 2015-2016 fall faculty meeting, we decided to continue surveying employers again, in addition to supervisors. [See employer feedback below.] We review all feedback as a department and value the contributions of our graduate students, supervisors, employers, current students and faculty, which informs teaching practices, curriculum development, skill development and student learning evaluation.
Annual Evaluation Report: Feedback, Program Review and Program Modification Student, Supervisor, Employer (2017) – Report
Please click on the links below for further detail regarding survey results.