Brian Johnson: Hello everyone, my name is Brian Johnson and I will be your moderator for today. I’d like to start by thanking all of you for joining us for the Wake Forest University Online Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Services information session. Please note that the presentation is being broadcasted through your speakers and you are set to listen-only mode in order to minimize background noise. You may type questions in the chat box at the right of your screen at anytime. We will do our best to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A session at the end of the webinar. If we are unable to answer your questions today an enrollment advisor will follow up with you after the information session. I also wanted to mention my colleague, Adam Hanna, will be posting important information that you can copy at the end of the presentation in the chat box. One more important detail, today’s webinar is being recorded and a copy will be emailed to you as soon as it is available. As you can see by today’s agenda, we will be discussing many topics ranging from curriculum and learning outcomes to the online experience as well as an enrollment requirement. As previously mentioned, we will be answering your questions at the end of the presentation, but welcome throughout the webinar. At this time, I’m going to turn it over to our panelists to give a brief background on themselves. We’ll start with Pamela.
Pamela Karr: Good morning or afternoon. This is Pamela Karr. I am the Program and Admissions Manager of this Wake Forest University Counseling Program. I’m also a graduate of the program. I have a Masters Degree a little bit later in life so I can relate to you old [ph] learners. I’m a nationally certified counselor and a licensed Professional Counselor in North Carolina as well.
Nathaniel Ivers: Hello, my name is Nathaniel Ivers. I’m an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling at Wake Forest University as well as the Associate Chair in the department. I have been with the department for three years as an assistant professor. I also in my Masters Degree through Wake Forest University in counseling at that time it was called the community track, but now it would be the clinical mental health counseling track. I got my PhD in Counseling in Counselor Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Jacqueline Loerop: Hello, my name is Jackie Loerop and I am the Senior Enrollment Advisor for the Wake Forest Program. I graduated from Calvin College in Michigan and I’m currently pursuing my Masters in Organizational Development and Leadership. I’ve been working with Masters of Arts in Counseling and Masters of Arts in Human Services Program at Wake Forest for the past three years.
Gavin Smith: My name is Gavin Smith. I am the online student advisor here at Wake Forest University. I have my Bachelors in English with a minor in Cinema. I have been working with the online program for the MAC and MAHS for about a year now.
Pamela Karr: I guess, I get to champion my Wake Forest University. We are also into [inaudible] it doesn’t say with the mascot is, but that has Baptist routes and we’ll let you find out more about that if you come and join us. National rankings will discuss in a moment. The motto is Pro Humanitate, For Humanity, of the university. There’s a very big service focus and we at counseling think we exemplify the spirit of service better than any other program because that is why people come into the field to be counselors. The clinical skills focused that this program apart most of the programs I’m aware of have one skills course. We have basic and advance skills. We pride ourselves on developing graduates with highly developed skills and those graduates are very pride by employers and doctoral programs and that’s often what they say, “Your students are really far above the others from the other universities in their skill set.” We are committed to excellence and we are also student centered in our model and that we try very hard to work within the framework of what’s possible to figure out what you need and what suites your particular focus, needs and why the things that are happening in your life.
The university, the next slide please, is ranked itself number 27 currently. We bounced around plus or minus two on that number most of the time on the best national universities. Now, this is university specific. It is not program specific. We — the Wake Forest Masters Program is not ranked itself because you must be a Doctoral Level University Program in order to be ranked among counseling programs and we have discussed it many times adding doctoral, but we have decided that our strength, that our focus should remain at the masters level. Both of our programs are accredited as a need to whether you come to Wake Forest or not please be sure the program you attend is CACREP accredited overall and the CACREP has kept accreditation covers both school counseling and clinical mental health. It is the fastest way into licensure and certification. Often, people will get toward the end of the program before they realize it’s not accredited and they wish that they had known that before. So, 100% pass rates for graduates taking the National Counselor Exam is something we’re very proud of. We cover all this and make sure that you are prepared to take that test which is used for licensure in most states.
Nathaniel Ivers: Alright, this is Nathaniel Ivers here. I’m talking about some of the reasons to become a counselor. There are lots of reasons and one of which of course is to serve the community. The World Health Organization reports that over 450 million have unmet mental health needs. The United States Surgeon General estimates at least 20% of the population has mental disorders neither figures include those with why struggle such as divorce, career difficulties, or other challenges. These hurting people deserve the comfort, encouragement and support counselors can provide. The Wake Forest University Counseling Department prepares exceptional counselors and we of course biased in that, but we certainly believed and we have a track record of individuals who have graduated from our program who have helped a lot of people who are hurting in the counseling context. The department has a history of graduates who are serving in schools, community, mental health agencies, nonprofit entities, hospitals, international settings and many, many other locations. Employees of our graduates rate and are very well prepared and highly skilled as counselors. We have many examples of the scope and variety of their work and the differences that they are making in the world. Another indication of the preparation is that as Pamela mentioned our students have 100% pass rate in the National Counselor Exam.
That exam which I’ll go into a little bit more in detail later, but since we’ve already brought it up as Pamela mentioned it is used in most states as their licensure exam. It also doubles as an exam that students take to receive a national credential called the National Certified Counselor Credential. We have students who have received awards. Our department has received awards as well for being outstanding program and we had CACREP accreditation and there are other elements that we can demonstrate to show that we are providing the opportunity for students to become effective counselors. Broadening our potential candidates for counselors will allows us to bridge the gap or bridge the need, rather, for counselors with our abilities to education them. So, for many years we had an on-campus program only which with the two-year program that serve 15 students in each cohort so about 30 students in all and that was helpful. It generally served the North Carolina Winston-Salem area need. We had students who came from outside of that area as well, but we thought with the huge need that’s out there with many people who are hurting and lots of individuals with mental health needs that are not receiving care. It was important for us to take what we’re doing and generalized it to an online format so we could brought in the scope of service we provide to individuals who might not be able to come to campus full time for two years.
Pamela Karr: Alright, I’m going to provide a quick program overview of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program in particular. This counseling program has two different tracks. Most of the courses are the same for both tracks. There are three specialty courses in the clinical mental health track and three specialty courses in the school counseling track. The specialty courses kick in about after everybody has gone through basic and advance skills and they are just beginning their first internship called the practicum out on the site. You can see what those specific courses are. If you are in the clinical mental health field, you can work in so many different settings, for instance, mental health, agencies eventually private practice, substance abuse and children services. This one includes college. It also includes careers. School counseling folks are being set up particularly to work in K-12 settings and they get a specific licensure in addition to being eligible for the license professional counselor, but they get a specific licensure from their department in the state to be a school counselor. They work with children, they work with families and they work with teachers. Most of our graduates are a recognize leaders in their school.
Next slide please. The Master of Arts in Counseling is 20 courses in length and 60 courses to graduate. Included in those 60 courses to graduate are the 800 hours of clinical experience in your own community toward the last four semesters, typically. It’s designed to complete in three years by taking courses year round. So, it is slower. It is a part-time program. It’s still a strenuous program. We want to make sure that what our online students get is every bit as excellent as what our on-campus students get. Two residencies, this is important at this particular time as you’re exploring whether to come with us. We decided early on that we really had to meet our student and be with them face to face in order to feel confident that we could put our stamp on these people as counselors going out into the field to work with their clients. Most of these were clients instead of patients. Two residencies are required. You know what those dates are when you come in. You’re here from Thursday night through Sunday about noon. We just finished having two groups here in May. Everybody was exhausted. Everybody was elated. Both students and faculty go away recharge, recommitted and enthusiastic about continuing.
Licensure is a topic we will begin talking to you about from the word go because it varies in every state and we have students in almost every state with us at this point. We have guides available online. We will ask you to look at your state or states, write up to see if there’s any additional courses because sometimes a state will add a course in Human Sexuality or something like that, but it’s not in our curriculum. Most people in those states just grab one more somewhere along the way. You are set up to be a licensed professional counselor no matter which track you complete, but you also have to apply for licensure as a school counselor with the Department of Public Instruction as a school counselor. That’s a separate license. Most of our school counseling graduates in the past go ahead and get their license professional counselors too because it gives them the flexibility in case they want to work with families and children in a private practice further on in their career. Both programs are accredited by CACREP on campus, online, school counseling and clinical mental health counseling too. I’ll let you look at this slide. I know you’re going to get it, but it going to tells you what I had already said about how many different ways and places counselors work. We have an exercise where we say, “Think of a place in your community that would not involve counselors and no matter where there’s police or whatever it is there is a need for a counselor in that area.” Our focus is also on wellness so there will be a lot of that counselors don’t always focus on diagnosing psychopathology, although you will know it when you see it when you’re done with this program. We also have a very huge focus on wellness and balance of life. Now, let’s Nate carry on for the other program.
Nathaniel Ivers: Right. I’m going to give you a brief overview of our Master of Arts in Human Services Program as well, you can go to the next slide. Our Master of Arts in Human Services Program seeks to produce graduates who are skilled communicators and leaders. The course of study starts with 10 counseling courses including basic and advance skills. So, the students who are in our Master of Human Services Program will take their first 10 courses with the students who are in the counseling program. After of those 10 courses, they will branch off and they will take courses that are specific to their tracks, specific to their program which is the Human Services track and those are three courses that covered nine credit hours. One of the courses is focus on program evaluation so they’ll learn about need assessment, program planning, program design, program evaluation, stakeholders, lots of — and how to gather data and what not. They’ll have a second course that’s related to human services administration and then they’ll have this field experience course. The reason for the counseling base so the first 10 courses is to develop the strong communication, empathy and leadership skills necessary for effectively working with clients, staff, board members, policy makers and persons in other agencies and volunteers.
So, I mentioned that there’s a program administration or program design course that students do and one thing I didn’t add to that they’re also — they’ll learn about grant writing, they’ll learn about budgeting as well as contract negotiating. They study recruiting and managing staff members and volunteers in cultivating good relationships with board members and donors. You’ll learn how to assess an organization needs to plan program and services that will meet them and to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs. We truly believe that the combination of the counseling and management training that students received through the human services program will qualify them to move up into administration and leadership and the vast network of human service profession. Next slide, the Masters of Arts in Human Services is for students who want support others in the public sector, but who prefer a broad-based education. It takes less time to complete than the Master of Arts in Counseling Program does and also requires less what we would call practical experience. So, in counseling as Pamela Karr mentioned students complete a practicum as well as internship that end up being 800 hours worth of clinical experience. We have a field experience course for our human services student that is 350 hours and spends one semester which is 14 weeks. The Master of Arts in Human Services Degree will be awarded to candidates who has successfully completed the 39 semester hours. So, 30 of those hours have the counseling base to them and three of them are specific to human services.
So, I mentioned that two additional content courses, one related to program design and the other related to administration so human services administration and then there’s a field experience course as well. In that course, students will select a site in the community, in their community, where they will shadow and work with individuals in human services administration and they will have a supervisor sometimes that we would call a mentor who will meet with them weekly during that time to answer their questions as well as provide guidance as they learn the process of becoming a human services administrator. It’s their last semester in their program that they’ll do their human services field experience course and as I mentioned earlier it’s a 14-week experience that they will have and it’s a good way for them to take the content that they’ve learned throughout their programs and apply it to real world situation and one thing that’s really important for students to consider to maybe wondering, “Should I go the human services route or should I go the counseling route” is the human services route is not a clinical program. You will not get a — you will not be able to practice as a mental health counselor with a Human Services Degree. You will have learned skills that are related to counseling that that you can generalize into your role as a manager or as human services professional and some other capacity, but you will not be able to do counseling. So, one thing to ask yourself is if you wish to serve people primarily by providing one-on-one or group therapeutic services like group counseling or individual counseling or you rather work in more than administrative capacity.
Next slide please. Depending on the employment setting and the kinds of client served job titles and duties vary a great deal for individuals who graduate with a Masters Degree in Human Services. The role of those with a Human Services Degree is often connected with leadership and management. Human Services workers find work in such diverse settings as nonprofit agencies, group homes and halfway houses, correctional facilities, community mental health centers, hospitals, family child and youth service agencies and programs concerned with alcoholism, drug abuse, family violence and aging. The job outlook for individuals with a Human Services Degree or those in the Human Services sector according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is growing rapidly in the United States. When I research current job opportunities for those with the Masters Degree in Human Services I came up with the following titles; Human Services Program Manager or Program Implementation Specialist, Counseling Services Administrator, Executive Director of a Senior Services, Community Outreach Development and Grant Writing Personnel. There was — we had one of our students who graduated with her Master of Arts in Human Services through our online program mentioned the following, “Human Services attracts me because it is a broader degree. It leaves me plenty of legal [ph] room to be able to figure out where I want to focus my career as there are lots of options.”
So, one important thing to consider is many individuals who are interested in the degree of human services are already employed in human services agencies and increasing their educational level with the Masters Degree make specific sense for them where they are currently employed. They often times have individual reasons for gaining the Masters Degree in Human Services so that maybe another thing to consider as you’re trying to decide, “Do I want to pursue this degree in human services or do I wanted to do the counseling degree or something else?” For some of you that maybe individually very helpful to get a masters degree that’s 39 credit hours they can help you do something different or expand your responsibilities that your current side of employment. One of the thing that I wanted to share about the human services is there’s a credential that I have that’s called the Human Services Board Certified Practitioner Credential. It’s offered by the Center for Credentialing in Education or we call them CCE. The National Organization for Human Services in Consultation with the CCE and the Council for Standards and Human Service Education develop this certification program. Wake Forest University belongs to the CSHSE and design in Master of Arts in Human Services Program to satisfy the educational requirements for the certification. So, essentially what that means is once you graduated from our Master of Arts in Human Services Program you’re eligible to take a test to and if you pass that test you can be Human Services Board Certified and have this credential with you. So, individuals seeking a certification had to complete required course work which we provide in our 39-hour program, pass the HS-BCP examination and verify one year of post degree experience. So, after years experience and having pass the exam as you get your degree in human services throughout you could be — you can have this credential.
Pamela Karr: I want to add one thing about my licensure comments also on the Masters of Arts in Counseling Program. No graduate from any program graduates and gets license immediately. All states have at least a year a certain number of hours, two years of post graduate experience in the meantime, most of the time your board eligible, you pass everything and you’re getting that additional supervision which I think is a wonderful idea to work closely as a beginner with someone supervising you. I just wanted to make sure you knew that. You’re not licensed immediately after you get out of any counseling program. You do need additional supervised hours and we have a lot of programs to help people getting to that stage, how did they apply, what did they do, let’s get ready to go.
Nathaniel Ivers: Next slide. This is a snapshot of the faculty of Wake Forest University. We’ve actually expanded since this photograph was taken, but this shows a number of our faculty members who are on staff. I’m not going to talk about each and every one of them because we have limited time and I could certainly could because they have all very impressive [inaudible] and things that they’ve done to help students as well as to female further the development of the profession, but one person in particular I would like to highlight is Dr. Sam Gladding. Dr. Gladding has written many of the textbooks that are used in counseling from family counseling to group counseling to counseling as a comprehensive profession and those are just but a few of them. He is in the very middle sitting down on the couch and I’m in the white shirt you can see standing up there with the tie on, green tie, but Dr. Gladding has also held a number of leadership positions in American Counseling Association and the Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors and the Association for Specialist in Group Work. He has lectured internationally including in Malaysia, Turkey, Australia, South Africa and Mexico and I don’t think that’s an exhausted list. He has been to the Philippines as well and other areas and he recently, a few years ago, went to China as a Fulbright Scholar. So, he has a lot of things — a lot of experience that he has to offer as a counselor as well as a leader in the profession.
Dr. Donna Henderson, I said I would just highlight one, but I want to share a little bit about her as well because she is the Online Program Director and she is to Dr. Gladding’s left. She is also the current chair of the Department of Counseling and she too has a rich history of leadership and experience in the profession. Her specialty area is School Guidance and Counseling as well as counseling children and Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling. She co-wrote the curriculum for the mental health facilitator project which is co-sponsored by the World Health Organization and the National Board for Certified Counselors as the program that goes into developing countries where there aren’t counseling or mental health educational opportunities readily available and provide first responders like police officers and firefighters mental health training that they could utilize not in a counseling world, but in a supportive world to help individuals who has mental health issues and she has conducted trainings in New Delhi, Mexico, Turkey, Buton and she has also written textbooks and has been the president of National and International Organizations such as Association for Counselor Educators and Supervisors and Chi Sigma Iota International which is an International Honor Society for counseling students.
Pamela Karr: They are both an inspiration to us all.
Nathaniel Ivers: And the others have — I have also done a lot in publishing as well as leadership roles, but that’s just the name two our outstanding faculty members. Next slide please. So, one of the questions that do you all might have is especially if you have had an online class experience thus far is, “Will this be something that will teach me? Can I learn through this process? Will I be able to become a professional counselor? Will I be competent to in a few years, three years from the time you start be able to meet with clients outside of the structure of the graduate program and be successful in doing so and will this be interactive or will I become of isolated in on my own through this process?” and what I want to say — one of those are very good questions to have and I hope took well some of those anxiety is a little bit my first experience with. It wasn’t online learning, but it was independent study. It was in a statistic course that I receive an undergrad course that I needed to finish outside of my normal curriculum and I would hand a binder and told that I had to do so many quizzes and turn so many things in within a year and I was completely on my own and many times completely loss through the process and that is not what you would experience here.
In our program, we have set up modules that accommodate many different learning styles. We have discussion board in which students are given a prompt and they have to provide an answer to that as well as respond to other students in relation to that prompt which in some ways simulates what we would do in a seminar class where we ask a question and allow people to process those things. We use a lot of technology to help us in the process. We have a program called WebEx that we use from an office hours and so weekly our lead instructors which our faculty members as well as what we call our practitioner instructors which are kind of like sections instructors will meet weekly for an hour on WebEx which students can come to that and that you can see us through video and hear us through audio and you can discuss content related to the course, questions you have about assignments whatever that maybe. Also for our clinical courses starting with our basic counseling skills courses we have a program called Adobe connect which we use or you may be familiar with that. In some ways, it’s similar to WebEx, but it’s more secure. We, for our skill courses, we have student practice through Adobe connect with each other so they’ll meet simultaneously in a group of three at most four and they will practice doing their counseling through remote counseling sessions with one another and so they really are having the real interactive opportunities and noted they record those sessions and their instructors will review them and provide feedback to them on ways in which they can improve their counseling skills. I also develop a research and statistics course for this program and after having had my experience with statistics in which I was very loss. I thought it was fairly unique for me to have the opportunity to develop a course, but I kept that in mind when I developed it and one of the things I wished I had had was more some simulation, some technology that would help me do it.
So, one of the things I put together there’s a formula for a correlation and the — to compute a correlation is quite complex with lots of different symbols in it, but we created in the modules an opportunity for students to drag and drop numbers based on a work problem that would go right into the equation and then once they drag and drop the numbers into the correct spots the program will show them step by step how they compute the answer to that particular equation that’s just one example. We also have lots of other, I think, need technological tools that we use to help students interact with one another as well as with the professor. I wanted to quote in to give you a quote from one of the students who went through one of our course. Student said, “I wanted to let you know that I truly appreciate everything you have done to provide us with assistance throughout this course. Your post and links to additional instructional material have been very helpful. I want you to know your efforts did not go unnoticed. At first, this class is intimidating to me, this was the research and staff course. You and Chris, Chris was one of the practitioner instructors, not only help me learn the material, but I ended up enjoying the work as well.” These courses are developed based on CACREP standards and this ensures that students are being exposed to and are learning the material being necessary by the accrediting body for the profession.
There are some advantages to online learning. One, there’s flexibility. Up until you get to the basic counseling skills course and the advance counseling skills course the courses are what we call asynchronous which means that you can complete your readings, complete your assignments at your convenience given that you complete them by the deadline, but you don’t have to be doing it in a classroom setting in a simultaneous sort of format so you can find the time that works at your convenience to complete these assignments. There is detailed instruction and so putting something online means that we have to dot our eyes and cross our teeth and so the instructions are clear and often times readily available to students and we after each rendition of a course or each time we completed a course we revise and based on student feedback as well to make sure that our instructions are as clear and detailed as possible. We also have a convenient library of course material so you after completing a course you’ll have access to that course of material throughout your time in which you are in the program that can help you in your continued growth as a student. We also provide opportunities for connection and interaction with faculty members as well as with students which also is important. To finally timely detailed instruction and course content is continually updated. Assignments and discussions encourage you to share the specific issues you deal with at work along you’ll apply lessons from each course and so there are opportunities for you all to share about your unique experiences through this program as well as gain feedback from others who may have diverse experience.
Pamela Karr: I wanted to add one thing. We conducted a course that lasts about two weeks before the real classes began. It’s called the student orientation course. I’m lucky enough to conduct that and get to meet you first. During that experience you practice using all the tools you’re going to need when it really counts. The student orientation course is not graded and kind in on your own pace, but once you complete that then you feel a lot more relax about knowing how to work things and once you complete that you are amazingly connected to the group of students who will be going to the program with you as a cohort and that is so much fun to watch.
Jacqueline Loerop: Alright, thank you Pamela and Nate. Well, this is — my name is Jackie and I am the Senior Enrollment Advisor for the Wake Forest Program here. I recruit for both the Master of Arts in Counseling as well as Master of Arts in Human Services. I also have two other enrollment advisors I work with and there are Robin [inaudible] and Adam Hanna and we are here to help you and guide you through completing an application. So, some of the items that are required for an application would be Bachelors Degree from accredited university. This is a four-year degree and we also required that you have a GPA of at least a 2.5 and we do require the GRE. We want you trying gets a close to a 300 as possible and there’s a hard requirement of at least a three on the writing. We are being questions you are be able to wave the GRE. We do offer a GRE waver. It does –you do need to apply for the waver through an enrollment advisor, but in order to apply for that waver you do need to hold another graduate degree particularly a masters or a PhD and you would have to provide us with your transcript.
From there, we would apply for that waver to see if it gets approved by the dean, but we do have wavers available. We also require a three letters of recommendation and those can just be three professional references. We also require a personal statement. There’s an application fee of $75 and then Wake Forest actually we take it one step further. We actually interview all of our applicants and that is done over webcam and that is done with your enrollment advisor and it is the last step of the application, but once we have a completed application from you we do submit that over for review and generally we have a decision within two weeks. We do take early acceptances so if you are interested in applying I would contact one of the enrollment advisors and we can guide you through the process. We’re here to help you as well as educate you on the program so if you have any questions or concerns or just would like to hear more about the program, I would contact one of the enrollment advisors here at Wake Forest.
Gavin Smith: I introduce myself earlier, but my name is Gavin Smith and I’m the Online Student Advisor here at Wake Forest University. So, I’ll be taking over when to actually has started the program. As your student advisor, I’m your main point of contact during the duration of the program. I’m basically here to assist you with any concerns or questions that you have especially in the administrative ones. I also be providing coaching and mentoring on an as needed basis as we go forward. So, if you have any questions or concerns at any time during your program once you started, I’m the person will reach out to you for assistance. Now, our program uses our registration so I’ll also be notifying you 8 to 10 weeks before each semester begins to see if you’re registered and provide you with information on what course materials are required for your courses. Ultimately, I’m here to ensure that during the graduation is as seamless as possible.
Jacqueline Loerop: Alright, thank you Gavin. So, these are some important dates that you want to keep in mind. We do have an early acceptance date which is June 1st which is coming up here in a few weeks. So, if you are interested in applying and you have most of the requirements we would recommend for you to apply early and you have a decision earlier as well and then we also have our application deadline which is July 1st and then classes begin on August 24th. During that time, we do have an orientation class that does start before 24th and that time is when you’ll start working — if you are accepted that is the time that you start working with your student service advisor.
Brian Johnson: At this time, we are going to open it up for questions. As a reminder, please type any questions in the chat window to the right of the screen. We will now begin reading and answering the questions we have received so far.
Jacqueline Loerop: Alight. So, some of the questions that came in, Pamela and Nate you can jump in as well and Gavin as well, but class of attendance, “What are the total cost for the Master of Arts in Counseling Program and what if any scholarships might be available?” Pamela, do you want to answer this one?
Pamela Karr: I got to keep my [inaudible] on the cost, but there are not scholarships available for part-time students at Wake Forest University. The vast majority of our students are on unsecured federal loans which cover all, but about $500 and something of each of their tuitions for the 10 different semesters. We have a good group of financial aid advisors who will also help you explore grad plus exams — grad plus loans, I’m sorry, as available.
Jacqueline Loerop: Alright, second question here, “To perspective employers, is there typically a difference to them whether a graduate has completed their Masters Degree on campus or through the online program or they seen as generally equal?”
Nathaniel Ivers: I can answer that. I think that’s a fantastic question first of all and that was one of the main questions that we had in mind when we decided to start the online program. We wanted them to — we want them to be as equal as possible and for CACREP which is our accrediting body they are to be equal in nature because they are considered the same program under the same umbrella. So, the curriculum is the same so the individuals who are in the clinical mental health track will take the same courses that are on campus students will take as well as it will be the same for the school counseling track as well. We do not yet have our first graduating class for our online program that will occur in the summer, actually, in August of the summer first cohort will graduate and that time we’ll have a much better be on how equal they are as far as when they graduate. One thing that we’re very impress about thus far though is how well they’re doing in their practicum as well as in their internship as well as how they develop in their basic and advance counseling skills courses. One of the question marks that we had four years ago when we’re beginning the process of developing the program was, “How do you take what we do on campus with our skills courses and translate that to an online format?” and we believe that through Adobe connect and other technologies that we have we’ve been able to stimulate that to the point where students are able to learn their skills at a comparable level as our student in the on-campus program.
Pamela Karr: Also, now we’re on the transcript from Wake Forest doesn’t indicate whether a person is on online or an on-campus program just to pick up a degree from Wake Forest. We have also been combating some concerns out there in the field coming from people in other program from internship and practicum about whether or not online student would be accepted into those so we have a full time person who reaches out to sites on behalf of the university works with our people to get placement and we’ve been very highly successful on those placements and they’ve got some sites who have been so pleased with the quality of the online students that they’re ready to take somebody on every year. So, every step of the way we’ve been delighted and pleased with the reception are almost graduates are getting.
Nathaniel Ivers: One more thing I want to add to that question I have to deliver it too much, but to hopefully provide more clarity is our faculty members are on-campus and online faculty members we don’t distinguish between them so I will teach courses online as well as courses on campus and we feel like that’s really important because we don’t want one program to be — to receive more care than another or different care than another and so we’ll teach on the online program as well as on campus to make sure that we can make it as equal or equitable as possible.
Pamela Karr: All the lead instructors lead here on this floor with us. We don’t contract with individuals as lead instructors and let’s say really known to us and are working in the group. I want to go back to the tuition. I’ve realized that that’s a critical question because you are chasing the claim with the crop with Wake Forest that is for sure and it looks to me like it’s about $25,000 per year. Jackie check me on that a little bit less than that or a total investment of about $74,400 at current tuition rate. Each semester as I’ve said depending on the credits that you’re taking that semester the out of pocket tends to be or $25 and $600. [cross talking]
Jacqueline Loerop: Another question we have, “I have a Bachelors of Business Degree. Do I need to take any additional courses that would bridge me over to the MAC Program?”
Pamela Karr: I would say no because one of the beauties of a counseling degree is that people come to it from so many different backgrounds. It’s amazing. All have something to share with the other. A lot of people come from psychology and sociology and the human interest field, but we have people from every major you could possibly think of. We have people who have finished — who are actually practicing lawyers coming back to and a lot of retired military etc. all kinds of backgrounds.
Nathaniel Ivers: We built the curriculum with the assumption that individuals are seeing the material for the first time and not under the assumption that this is something that students are experiencing for the second or third time because this had a human services degree in our bachelors program or a psychology degree or sociology degree or social work degree.
Jacqueline Loerop: Another question that came in, “Can a student pursue both tracks, both the school counseling as well as the clinical mental health track?”
Pamela Karr: At this point, that is really impossible to do particularly in the three years because you’re taking three different courses and the practicum can be in one or the other, but both internship have to be in your specialty area so that would be difficult. I would be working with someone who is trying to decide what track and even though you tell us what track it is coming in we realize you may change your mind as you learn more about it so there is some flexibility with this particular program and people who don’t really have to declare their track until they head into their clinical experience.
Jacqueline Loerop: I’ll answer some of the question we had here. We have several questions about if we could fast track the program and also about some our prerequisites as well as residencies. We only offer the program part-time online so how the program is set up is that you can only take one class at a time, two classes every semester. So, at this time there is no full time option to the program. You do stay with your cohorts to the program. It will take you three years to complete. There are no prerequisites for the program. We just require that you have bachelors from an accredited university. Also with the residencies, there’s just two of them within the program and the residencies they are just two weekend schedule from Thursday to Sunday and one is done in your first year and the other one is done in your second year, but that’s the only time that you have to come to campus. All the classes had, as Dr. Ivers said earlier, is that they all are asynchronous so you can log in anytime and anywhere. We also had another question that came in, “Can you clarify the difference between with guidance counselor and a school counselor?”
Pamela Karr: You want to take that Nate?
Nathaniel Ivers: Yes. Dr. Henderson who is our expert in school counseling might roll over or roll her eyes as I try to answer this because that’s not my specialty area, but I can give you some information related to it and it’s not simple. As for once, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. So, a guidance counselor maybe a school counselor, but not necessarily, sometimes a guidance counselor has a Bachelor’s Degree and provide guidance related to scheduling in the school as well as maybe some career choices. A school counselor, however, is trained as a counselor. So, they have mental health training related to the basic counseling skills and the advanced counseling skills. They also received training in school guidance which would be in consultation with the teachers and principals and other things like that, but their abilities go beyond that at the school context which is just to be able to provide guidance issues in the school.
Pamela Karr: Is it fair to say that depending on the district that the job title might be guidance counselor, but we educate school counselors.
Nathaniel Ivers: Right.
Jacqueline Loerop: Okay, great. Another question that came in, “Is there a support provided when looking for an internship in practicums? Do you guys provide placement for those?”
Nathaniel Ivers: Yes. That’s a great question. We, as Pamela mentioned this briefly, and I’ll see if I can expand upon it a little bit. We have a clinical coordinator. That’s her full time job. Her name is Dr. Carla Emerson. She was hired specifically for that purpose to help students secure their practicum and internship sites as well as skilled experience sites if you’re in the human services program. She is the clinical coordinator for our all in campus as well as for our online program and she has a step by step process to help students secure a site. Now, there’s an autonomy in that as well, students will be asked to do their research and to find where they would like to be placed. Some would like to work, for example, in a nonprofit agency, others might want to be in a community health agency, or in a hospital, or in some other setting and so they are given the opportunity to search out sites and then they’ll send that information to Dr. Emerson who will contact those sites as kind of the first contact to get our feet in the door and so she’s there holding your hand along the journey to help you secure a site, but it’s not in a kind of dictatorial way where she said, “You’re going to go here.” It’s like a co-constructed experience, but you won’t be on your own through that process. We also will have other faculty members who will step in as well to help through that process so it’s not just Dr. Emerson, but it’s a team effort helping individual secure their placement.
Jacqueline Loerop: Okay, great thank you Nate. Alright, so another question that came in, “If a student is interested in research will there be an opportunity to work with the Wake Forest professor on a topic of interest?”
Nathaniel Ivers: I think that’s a really good question. I’ll answer that one as well since I developed the research in statistics course. There’s a possibility that if you have a particular research interest that you would like to pursue that you could connect with one of the faculty members who could be the principal investigator, for example, on your study to help to go for institution review board and give you suggestion and mentor you in the process for performing that research that certainly a possibility. One thing that might be a challenge though is the masters program itself is focused much more on the clinical development than it is on research development and so it won’t be directly tied into the courses that you take. You’ll be doing accumulative literature review in your research and staff course that may kind of propel you in one direction or another to do some research that you would like to do, however, it’s more of an introductory course to research in statistics how you can utilize it in practice so how can you use research and scrutinize it appropriately to know how to inform your practice or not, but if someone on the side or an extracurricular way would like to perform research the faculty here do research and they probably be more than happy to assist that student through that process, but we wouldn’t want to do it at the extent of your progress to the program.
Pamela Karr: We’ve recently had online students participated in conference presentations with faculty members who have the same area of expertise that’s wonderful to see and that has happened as early as someone who first here with us.
Jacqueline Loerop: Alright, thanks Pamela. So, we did have two more questions here. One was, “Do you accept transfer credits?” and I can take that one. We do accept transfer credits, but they can only come from another counseling degree that has not been completed and they would have to match up pretty nicely with the class who is here and we will evaluate those after you’ve been accepted so they’re not guaranteed, but we would evaluate those to see if we can get those transferred. [cross talking]
Pamela Karr: Up to six credit.
Jacqueline Loerop: Sorry about that, yes up to six credits you are able to — we’re able to look for transfer. So, the last question here, “With the requirement to do field work in clinical are there a lot of students in the program that works full time?”
Gavin Smith: I can take —
Nathaniel Ivers: Another fantastic too. Yes, the vast majority of our students work full time. We’ve set up different mechanisms to allow students to continue to work full time and complete their internship experience. We talk specifically about internship and practicum doesn’t require as many hours as internship does, but we have their three options that students have available to them to complete their internships. They had to complete in all — students had to complete a total of 600 hours at their site, 240 of which had to be direct client contact hours. So, one of the options is for students to do that in one semester and that would be approximately 40 hours worth of work and so if students who choose that option would not be able to be working full time I think it’s just would be feasible to do because they — on top of the 600 hours they have some course requirements and other things they are involved, but for some they might say, “I can take off 14 weeks, 15 weeks and get this done at this time and then I can go back to my job at that point.” That works for some individuals.
For others, they can do it more of a traditional way which is completing 300 of the hours and one semester and 300 of the hours in the following semester depending on the flexibility of their internship side as well as their full time employment. It ends up being a lot of work for them during that time, but for some that works. For others, that would be feasible especially with maybe family or other responsibilities that they have and so we have a third option which is a 200, 200, 200 so they can spread out the hours through three semesters and they would get two credits for each of those and that sometime is more feasible so rather than doing 40 hours a week with the first option or 20 hours a week with the second option it would be cut down to more like 10 hours which would be kind of a day and a half so to speak or spreading it out throughout the week maybe two hours, two hours a day if get all five days. So, that works for some individuals as well, but as you get closer to that time where you have to make those decisions you’ll have a lot of support through that process and that’s how individuals who work full time are able to complete that requirement.
Pamela Karr: We start talking about clinical experience and your options. The very first time you’re here for residency and then another big jump the second time you’re here for residency. I must be working with 12 to 15 students right now on a one by one basis because I’m the curriculum designer to help people know you could do this, you could do that and this would like and this is what that would look like, what do you choose and then if it looks differently when you get down the road we’ll go back at it again that’s part of a student centered approach.
Brian Johnson: Alright. At this time, I would like to thank everybody for their questions. I know that we weren’t able to get to all the questions today, but if we weren’t able to get your questions, an enrollment advisor will follow up with you with the answer to those questions after today’s presentation. Again, I would like to thank everybody for joining us today. Please visit our website for more information regarding the details that were discussed today. As we mentioned earlier, today’s webinar will once recorded and a copy will be emailed to you as soon as it is available and again if your questions were not answered an enrollment advisor will follow up with you after today’s meeting. Please keep in mind that the application deadline for fall is July 1st and classes begin August 24th. We hope you found this webinar useful and look forward to working with you in the future. Have a great day.