Counseling programs at the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester are now among a handful of programs in New York State to receive accreditation from the national Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).
According to Howard Kirschenbaum, chair of counseling and human development, about one third of the nation's counseling institutions have met the standards for accreditation. Warner doctoral programs in counselor education and supervision, and the doctoral offerings at Syracuse University, are the only two in New York State with CACREP accreditation. Two Warner master's programs, one in community counseling and the other in school counseling, also were accredited.
"Our programs have always been of the highest quality," Kirschenbaum says. "Now they have also been measured against rigorous national standards. The process gave us an excellent opportunity to assess our own performance and make the kinds of mid-course adjustments that every program needs to stay current."
The accreditation process involved an extensive self-review and a CACREP evaluation of the review materials, followed by a team site visit. Founded in 1981, CACREP is a corporate affiliate of the American Counseling Association, designed to strengthen the counseling field by establishing and maintaining uniform professional standards. The criteria for evaluating programs were established with input from educators, practitioners, and the public.
Schools with accredited programs agree to provide high-quality counselor training, to continually evaluate their own practices, and to revise curricula as necessary to respond to the changing needs of society and the counseling profession. The Warner School CACREP accreditations are valid for eight years, which is an indication of the strength of the program. Most programs are initially accredited for two years.
The Warner School (on the Web at www.rochester.edu/warner/) offers master's degree and doctoral degree programs in teacher preparation, counseling and human development, and educational leadership. Within the Warner School, the Center for Professional Development and Education Reform works with local educational institutions to support the cause of education reform and to encourage the preparation and ongoing education of excellent teachers.