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Department of Counseling and Human Development gets three programs reaccredited

Jay Trenhaile
Jay Trenhaile

Three for three for eight.

That’s the score for South Dakota State University’s Department of Counseling and Human Development after undergoing the accreditation process from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs’ board of directors. The board made the decision to accredit the clinical mental health counseling, school counseling and student affairs and college counseling master’s degree programs each for the maximum allowed eight-year period. The accreditation runs until March 31, 2025. The programs were initially accredited in 1994.

“These results rank us favorably when compared to all of the institutions in the region,” said Jay Trenhaile, who heads the Department of Counseling and Human Development. “Only 40 or 50 percent of the programs get the eight-year accreditation. These results are definitely a positive validation of the hard work done by the faculty and our adjuncts as well, who have made the program strong and put us in this position.

“This news puts us in a great position to not only recruit students, but also faculty when applicable,” he continued. “While we’re pleased with where we’re at, we are already working on the new standards for the next accreditation.”

Trenhaile said to qualify for a similar accreditation period when this period expires in 2025 the department will have to adjust curriculum, add courses and adjust students’ learning outcomes.

“Those things take time, because we want feedback from our graduates working in the fields, employers, faculty and students,” he said. “It’ll involve a number of changes. The eight years will go pretty quickly. While we’re pleased to have the time, we’re not going to sit around—that’s not what got us to this point.”

The reaccreditation process also brought to light how well State graduates do when it comes to licensure exams. In 2014 and 2016, all of the department’s graduates successfully passed the National Counselor Exam on the first try. SDSU students posted a 96 percent pass rate in 2015 and had pass rates of more than 90 percent in 2012 and 2013.

“Our students have done a lot of work to get things done and do them the right way,” Trenhaile said. “They’ve put in the time, as have the faculty, to ensure they do really well on the exams and are ready for the workforce.

“The site-visit team recognized we have made a strong effort to recruit and retain diverse faculty, that our faculty and adjunct faculty are highly skilled and experienced, and that we place a strong emphasis on student participation in professional developmental activities,” he continued.