Testing the engagement theory of program quality in CACREP-accredited counselor education programs

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Shannon Prater Warden (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
James Benshoff

Abstract: Program quality is a high priority in American higher education (Haworth & Conrad, 1997; Schuh & Upcraft, 2000). The drive by both public and private colleges and universities to enhance and evaluate program quality is partially fueled by an ever-increasing public demand for institutional accountability (Duderstadt & Womack, 2003; Suskie, 2006). As a result of this demand, two movements are occurring within American higher education—the movement toward measuring student learning outcomes (SLOs) through outcome-based evaluation (Bogue & Aper, 2000; Schalock, 2001; Welsh & Dey, 2002) and the movement toward greater inclusion of stakeholders in program evaluation (Banta, 2002; Maki, 2004; Miller, 2007). Prior to 2009, the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) required accredited counselor education programs to include stakeholders (e.g., faculty, current students, alumni, employers) in program evaluation (CACREP, 2001). With its revised 2009 standards, CACREP began requiring accredited programs to place greater emphasis on SLOs (Cashwell, 2008; Urofsky, 2008). These practices demonstrate CACREP’s commitment to quality assurance in the field of counselor education and to counseling students’ growth and development (Conrad, Duren, & Haworth, 1998). The Engagement Theory of Program Quality (Haworth & Conrad, 1997) highlights many positive SLOs that result from stakeholder involvement in program evaluation within master’s-level graduate programs. As such, Engagement Theory is a potentially useful quality assessment resource for CACREP-accredited programs in their efforts at enhancing and sustaining program quality. The primary purpose of this study was to examine Engagement Theory, which had not been previously tested in counselor education, within the context of CACREP-accredited programs. A total of 481 master’s-level counseling students and 63 faculty members representing 68 American colleges and universities participated in the study. Findings revealed that study participants perceived Engagement Theory’s 17 attributes of program quality as important indicators of program quality, thus giving validity to Engagement Theory as a potential program evaluation resource with CACREP-accredited counselor education programs. Participants’ perceptions of the presence of the attributes varied, indicating that further examination of program quality within CACREP-accredited counselor education programs may be warranted.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
CACREP, Counselor Education, Engagement Theory, Program Evaluation, Student Learning Outcomes
Counselors $x Training of $x Evaluation.
Counselors $x Training of.

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