CACREP Research Initiatives for Graduate Students

CRIGS Program

The CACREP Research Initiative for Graduate Students (CRIGS) program offers current CACREP graduate students the opportunity to become a CRIGS Research Fellow for a one year term. Research Fellows will collaborate with one another, as well as with CACREP Staff, to engage in research endeavors that mirror and support CACREP’s vision, mission, and values. Research Fellows involved in the CRIGS program will have the unique opportunity to be involved in scholarly endeavors that align with the goals and objectives of the CACREP Research Agenda.

Accreditation, professional identity, and professional competence: A discriminant analysis

2013 CRIGS Research Fellows

Kara Hurt-Avila, Ph.D.
University of North Texas
Jaime Castillo, Ph.D.
Syracuse University

Overview of Research Study:

The researchers explored the relationship among professional identity, professional competence, and graduate program accreditation status of 134 practicum counselors-in-training.  Descriptive discriminant analysis demonstrated specific characteristics of professional identity and professional competence were indicators of CACREP accredited program status. Findings support further investigation of the role of CACREP standards in counselor education, training standards, and licensure and certification requirements.

Related Scholarly Activities:

Hurt, K., & Castillo, J. (2017). Accreditation, professional identity, and professional competence: A discriminant analysis. Journal of Counselor Leadership & Advocacy3, 1-13. doi: 10.1080/2326716X.2017.1282331

Castillo, J., & Hurt, K. (March, 2016). Accreditation, professional identity, and professional competence: A discriminant analysis. American Counseling Association Conference. Montreal, Canada.

Castillo, J., & Hurt, K. (October, 2015). Accreditation, professional identity, and professional competence: A discriminant analysis. Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Conference. Philadelphia, PA.

Defining and Exploring Interdisciplinary Research Within the Context of Counselor Education

2014 CRIGS Research Fellows


Amy E. Williams, Ph.D.
College of William and Mary

Overview of Research Study:

The purpose of this study is to develop an operational definition of interdisciplinary research (IDR) within the context of counselor education, explore the ways in which IDR is implemented across programs, and understand IDR’s role in the development of a professional identity for the field of counseling.  The researchers were interested in exploring how counselor education faculty members define IDR within the context of counselor education and engage in research they consider IDR within the field of counseling.  In addition, the researchers were interested in learning about perceived benefits and barriers to IDR in counselor education from the persepctive of the participants.   Interdisciplinary research has become a topic of interest in higher education, among numerous other fields, and has been identified as an avenue for improved effectiveness and efficiency of practice (Stronks, 2012) as well as an opportunity to integrate mutually relevant knowledge and skills from multiple professions (Palermo, 2013).  The role and patterns of interdisciplinary research within counseling education programs, however, have not been explored.  Additionally, idiosyncrasies within the field of counseling complicate the application of existing definitions of IDR that may more accurately reflect the research patterns of other professional fields. More specifically, the competing goals of professional solidarity to establish a unified professional identity (Meyers, Sweeney, & White, 2002) and engaging in interdisciplinary collaboration to promote advocacy and efficacious treatment (Boyer, 1990; Mellin, Hunt, & Nichols, 2011) make it unclear whether or not counselor educators engage in IDR in the same ways that professionals from other fields do. As a result, this study aimed to construct an operational definition for IDR in counselor education and to explore current practices and beliefs of counselor education faculty surrounding IDR.

Related Scholarly Activities:

Williams, A. E. (in progress). Defining and describing interdisciplinary research among counselor educators in CACREP-accredited programs: A pilot study.

United We Stand: Lessons Learned from Other Professions

2015 CRIGS Research Fellows

Sun Hee Jang, M.A. The Pennsylvania State University Lynn Bohecker, Ph.D. Idaho State University

Overview of Research Study:

The purpose of our study was to learn how other professions have navigated developmental issues, such as solidifying and publically promoting a unified professional identity and creating an infrastructure that fosters licensure portability for practitioners. We conducted a qualitative study gathering the profession-related narratives of key people from non-counseling professions. Results suggest counseling specializations unite under one profession, endorse consistent educational standards, and develop model language to achieve licensure portability.

Related Scholarly Activities:

Eiseenstat, S.J., & Bohecker, L. (2018). United We Stand: Narrative Study to Aid the Counseling Profession in Developing a Coherent Identity. The Qualitative Report. 23(5).

Eiseenstat, S.J., & Bohecker, L. (2017, October). United we stand: lessons from other professions, presented at 2017 Association of Counselor Education and Supervision, Chicago, 2017.

Exploration of Professional Engagement Among Licensed Counselors

2016 CRIGS Research Fellows

Michael K. Schmit, Ph.D.
Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
Genevieve Dash, B.A., QMHA, CADC Candidate.
Portland State University

Overview of Research Study:

Assessing professional engagement of licensed counselors, as characterized by membership in professional organizations, attending and presenting at professional conferences, engaging in research and conducting seminars and workshops, supervising or engaging in supervision and consultation, may serve as a sensible method of identifying the impact of accreditation on counselor training and preparation.  Behavioral aspects of professional engagement were assessed among licensed counselors using the Professional Identity Scale In Counseling.

Related Scholarly Activities:

Schmit, M. K., & Dash, G. (2016). Exploration of professional engagement among licensed counselors. Manuscript in preparation.

Program Specific Predictors of Students’ Success in Counselor Training Programs

2017 CRIGS Research Fellows

Mike Kalkbrenner, Ph.D., NCC New Mexico State University Jessie T. Darkis, M.Ed. Syracuse University

Overview of Research Study:

This study was designed by the research fellows, to investigate variables that contribute to student outcomes, to identify program-specific factors that are related to students’ success in counselor training programs. The aims of the study are: (1) to develop a questionnaire intended for measuring student connectedness to their training program, and (2) to determine variables specific to Master’s-level counselor training programs that may relate to student outcomes. Data will be analyzed using quantitative analyses (exploratory factor analysis, hierarchical multiple regression, and multivariate analysis of variance). The study is currently in the data collection phase.


In Process