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UTB and the College of Education Celebrated the National Accreditation on May 17, 2011

The University of Texas and the College of Education celebrated its national accreditation of two graduate programs at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 17 in the courtyard of the Education and Business Complex.

The Master of Education in Counseling and Guidance with specializations in Community Counseling and School Counseling were reviewed and recommended for accreditation for an eight-year period from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

“We are very proud to earn this national accreditation and we invite the public to come to our celebration and learn what this accreditation means for our students and our university” said Dr. Miguel Escotet, dean of the College of Education.

While all graduate programs at UTB are institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities, CACREP offers a specialty accreditation that represents the highest national standards in counselor education.

UTB is one of 11 programs in Texas from almost 80 programs in counseling and guidance and the second in The University of Texas System to receive this national accreditation.

“Programs receiving this accreditation for an eight-year period deserve to be commended for the work they completed throughout the process. This indeed is a worthy achievement” said Dr. Carol Bobby, president and chief executive officer of CACREP.

The process to accreditation began eight years ago under the direction and vision of then department chair Dr. Charles Comeaux. In 2009, a self-study was conducted and in October 2010 a team of national reviewers visited the campus and met with professors, students and administrators. The team consisted of institutional and professional peers from around the county, outside the university’s region.

“Having the opportunity to graduate from a CACREP-accredited program not only makes me feel proud of my professors and the program I chose but it makes me feel more confident about the many job and post-graduate opportunities that will be available to us with this accreditation,” said graduate student Ayaciuan Madrigal.

At UTB, there are approximately 100 graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and guidance. The two tracks, School Counseling and Community Counseling, prepare qualified counselors to work with diverse populations in a variety of settings. Students also do well on the state mandated exams, historically scoring a 100 percent passing rate.

“We’ve always known that our students are of the same caliber as their peers at prestigious universities around the country,” said Dr. Selma Yznaga, associate professor in Educational Psychology and Leadership. “Graduating from a CACREP program just confirms it.”

A significant part of the preparation for accreditation was the creation of the Community Counseling Clinic, an on-site instructional laboratory where students demonstrate their clinical skills under the supervision of faculty and Licensed Professional Counselors.

The clinic has since served hundreds of individuals and families from the community. The arrangement is mutually beneficial: students are presented with opportunities to work under supervision as the final step in their clinical preparation, and the community has access to quality mental health care free of charge.

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