Final Reflective Entry Summary Report 2009-2011

As part of the on-going evaluation of the department, graduating students are asked to respond to a number of questions before turning in their final portfolios. Beginning in the spring 2009, the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects at SUNY Plattsburgh granted permission for the use of the students’ responses for program evaluation.

During the final portfolio review, students were asked to give permission for their responses to the Final Reflective Entry questions for use in the program evaluation process. Twenty-six students signed the consent forms. Student responses to each question were analyzed and the themes which emerged are summarized below.

1. How do you feel, in general, about this program and your graduate preparation for work as a professional counselor?

  • Students indicated that they were given a strong foundation in the knowledge, skills, and techniques necessary to be successful counselors.
  • Students gained self-awareness and self-concept.
  • Students learned ethical standards.
  • Students were offered opportunities for practice and hands-on learning.
  • Students felt they were challenged, supported, and well-supervised by the faculty.

2. What suggestions would you give other students on ways to get the most out of this program?

  • Students strongly suggested getting to know their peers.
  • Several respondents mentioned “challenge oneself” and “stepping outside one’s comfort zone.”
  • Most students wrote something about learning time-management skills.
  • Students suggested not being afraid of the reflection and self-change that happens during the program.
  • Advice was given to take advantage of all possible opportunities.
  • Students reminded others to pay attention to self-care.

3. How do you feel about yourself as an emerging professional counselor?

  • The vast majority mentioned confidence and readiness to enter their fields.
  • Students felt comfortable in their new roles and were both excited and nervous to begin new chapters in their lives.

4. What was the one most useful or meaningful thing you learned in this program?

  • Self-awareness and self-care were most mentioned by the students.
  • Several students mentioned taking chances, trying new things, and challenging themselves.
  • Many students wrote about their growth in multicultural awareness and acceptance of others.
  • Students noted their increased counseling skills and their abilities to seek out and utilize available resources when needed.

5. In what area of your development did you improve the most? What improvement(s) did you make?

  • The following abilities were indicated by most respondents: clinical/listening skills, building relationships, and communication.
  • Confidence and self-awareness were common responses.
  • Many students wrote about their multicultural awareness.

6. What one assignment for this program was your best work? What makes it your best work? What did you learn by creating it? What does it say about you as a professional counselor?

  • Many different assignments were given, two having precedence over others – the integration papers and the capstone projects.
  • Students wrote that they were most proud of the work which required a large time commitment as well as a practical/hands-on style.

7. Describe something major you’ve learned about yourself while in this program.

  • Most students mentioned self-confidence.
  • A number of students reflected upon their increased resilience.

8. List three ways you think you have grown or developed as a result of this program.

  • Self-awareness
  • Competence
  • Tolerance/awareness of bias
  • Collaboration

9. What have you learned in this program that will help you continue to grow?

  • Many students mentioned gaining the ability to learn how to improve and grow.
  • Most students responded that their commitment to professional development was established through the program.

10. What goals did you set for yourself in this program? How well did you accomplish them?

  • Most students wrote about finishing the program through hard work and determination.
  • Many students mentioned academic success.

11. If you were to start this program over, what would you do differently?

  • Most students indicated that they would pay more attention to self-care and wellness.
  • Many students wished they had been better organized and planned more carefully.
  • Several students mentioned that they wanted to take advantage of elective courses and professional development opportunities.
  • Many students, who enrolled right after finishing their undergraduate programs, wrote that they wished they had gained working experience before attending graduate school.

12. What strategies did you use to learn the material in this program? Which were most effective? Why?

  • Flash cards/note cards.
  • Peer learning groups.
  • Active participation in class.
  • Practicing skills.

13. What risks did you take in this program?

  • Most students mentioned that their biggest risk was opening themselves up in class – it was the first time many of them had had that experience.
  • Although using different methods, many students wrote about taking themselves outside their comfort zones.

14. In what area(s) would you like to strengthen your knowledge or skills?

  • These responses were completely varied; however, the responses seemed to center around learning very specific skills or working with very specific populations.

15. Write one goal for the next year and describe how you plan to reach it.

  • Almost all students wrote that they wanted to find employment in their fields.
  • Many students mentioned their hopes to progress towards licensure or certification.

16. What have you contributed to your development as a counselor over your time in the program?

  • The vast majority of students indicated that an openness to growth was the major factor in their development.
  • Students also mentioned that hard work was essential to their development.

17. Other comments or reflections…?

  • Many students expressed gratitude for the faculty.
  • Students seemed to share disbelief at how much they had learned in a very short time.

Analysis and report prepared by Dr. Julia A. Davis, July 2011.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about counselor education at SUNY Plattsburgh please contact:

Dr. Julia Davis, Chairperson
Office: Ward Hall 106A
Phone: (518) 564-4179
Email: jdavi004@plattsburgh.edu