Chairs Message – Greetings from CACREP
Greetings from CACREP!
At the January 2011 Board meeting, it was decided that CACREP should send brief, periodic newsletters to programs to keep constituents informed of the latest happenings in the world of accreditation. In this first edition, I want to update you on progress around the 2009 Standards, alert you to a new accrediting body and the challenges it may present, and provide suggestions on what you can do to advocate for your profession. In addition, I have asked Carol Bobby, our CEO to share the stirring address she delivered to the ACA Governing Council in March 2011.
Using the 2009 Standards
The CACREP Board of Directors is busy reviewing accreditation applications which will be acted on at the July 2011 Board meeting. The number of institutions with CACREP-accredited programs has surpassed the 250 mark with over 600 CACREP-accredited programs. These numbers will increase again after the July Board meeting. There is great interest in complying with the 2009 Standards. This is evidenced by the fact that each of the last three How To Write A Self-Study workshops offered have been filled to capacity. More workshops are being planned. In addition, Site Team Member and Site Team Chair trainings on the 2009 Standards have been held at regional and national conferences. At the Table Talk session held during the ACA conference in New Orleans (an annual offering where CACREP program faculty may come and talk directly with CACREP Board members about their concerns and questions), it became apparent that some folks are still misinterpreting the standard on core faculty requirements. Standard I.W.2. states that Core Faculty have a doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision or (emphasis added) have been employed as full-time faculty members in a counselor education program for a minimum of one full academic year prior to July 1, 2013. What this means is that any faculty member meeting this standard can be considered as core faculty even if their terminal degree is from a related discipline, as long as they can also demonstrate identification with the counseling profession through meeting Standards I.W.3,4 and 5.This standard was written in a manner to insure that no counselor educators with terminal degrees from related professions would be ineligible to continue working in the profession in either their current or another position.
What? Another Accrediting Agency?
There was an announcement of a new accrediting body for counseling programs at the ACA annual conference in New Orleans in March. The Masters in Counseling Accreditation Council (MCAC) is a branch of the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). The purpose of this new body is to accredit master’s degree programs in counseling that value the benefits of multidisciplinary departments. This would presumably include programs in psychology departments and programs with faculty members who primarily identify as psychologists. It appears that this is in response to CACREP’s standards that strengthen the counseling profession by putting increased emphasis on counselor professional identity. This new accrediting body will be seeking recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and will be lobbying counselor licensure boards to recognize graduates of their programs for licensure as counselors, not psychologists. Seeking licensure as professional counselors for graduates of MCAC programs will only serve to dilute and distort our professional identity, since MCAC purports that core faculty may be hired from a variety of professions that may or may not have any identity as counselors and may or may not support and/or teach the ACA Code of Ethics. The first principle of ACA’s 20/20 A Vision for the Future of Counseling states that a common professional identity is critical for counselors. This accrediting body would appear to work against this principle and would likely make portability of counselor licensure even more difficult.
A Simple Suggestion
All CACREP-accredited programs have a stake in this development. Therefore, you are asked to contact your state counselor licensure board and a) educate them about MCAC and how it is not the proper accreditation for recognition of professional counselors, and b) why it is time to recognize CACREP-accreditation as the accrediting body for counselor education programs. To this end I have included some bullet points on the last page of this newsletter that you can use in educating your licensure board members. Remember, licensure board members typically are political appointments and many of them may not be licensed counselors or be fully aware of the benefits of CACREP accreditation.