This report contains news and program evaluation information for the three CACREP accredited programs in the department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education at the University of Iowa. Program evaluation methods included surveys, direct communications and interviews, meetings with students, feedback at trainings with site supervisors, regular faculty meetings at the program and department levels, interaction with advisory boards, and administrative reviews.

Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (M.A.)


The CACREP accredited Graduate Program in Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling (RMHC) has been ranked as one of the top 10 rehabilitation counseling programs in the United States (US News & World Reports). The Master’s Program in Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counselling was reaccredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education without conditions for the years 2015-2023. The Council is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA).

The University of Iowa Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program extended its RSA Long Term Training grant. This award, in its second year, is approximately $1,500,000 (for each of 5 years contingent upon a performance review) for the training of Master’s level Rehabilitation Counselors. Approximately 80% of these funds will go directly to highly qualified scholars in the form of tuition and a stipend. This program allows the RMHC faculty in contributing to the UI objective in facilitating a competitive time to degree for our students which successfully graduate in 2 years, including summer, with their MA degree.

The accreditation outcome and award is a reflection of the excellent training provided by the University of Iowa faculty (#3 in the nation, US News & World Reports, 2015) and our community partners, especially the Departments of Vocational Rehabilitation and Department for the Blind in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, as well as community partners such as NAMI, On with Life, Goodwill Employment Services and Shelter House of Iowa City. The RMHC program has also received great support from the College of Education administration and service units, for example, the Office of Grants and Research Services. At the State level, the program has enjoyed strong support for the training of qualified professionals and from Senators Harkin and Grassley as well as Representative Loebsack.

The Program graduates 12-14 students per year who have completed a program of clinical instruction and intensive field experiences. Graduates are fully Qualified Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counsellors and are qualified to become Licensed Mental Health Counselors. Average starting salaries average $53,000 a year. Graduates work in the public sector providing employment and mental health assistance to persons who have difficulty finding and maintaining employment, over 70% of graduates are employed in Iowa. Graduates work for the Iowa Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, Iowa Department of the Blind, as well as many substance abuse and mental health treatment centers across Iowa, and many public programs that serve persons with developmental and acquired physical and mental disabilities.

Program Evaluation Outcomes

Students who completed the program (2011-2014) - 95%

Students who completed the program in 6 semesters - 97%

Graduates employed in the professional field in which they graduated (Not including students who have entered PhD degrees) (2011-2013) - 83%

Applicants for Certification successfully passing the exam (2011-2012) - 81% (National rate 71%)

Based on student feedback and faculty consideration, some of the core common courses in the MA curriculum will be opened in the future to allow both school counseling and mental health counseling students to take them together (theories, career, multicultural counseling, and introduction to research).

With the assistance of the RMHC Advisory board, the program advocated for the renovation of a primary bathroom in the department area to make it more accessible for students who have a physical disability. The project was completed with the support of Dean’s office in 2015.

At the request of students and faculty curriculum review, a course in family therapy was added to the curriculum.

Based on student feedback and faculty consultation, courses were re-sequenced to allow the micro-skills and theories courses to be taken in the same semester to promote integrated learning in these content areas.

By student request, additional support was provided by faculty for personal career planning and placement given challenging and competitive market conditions.

Based on feedback from students who work during the day, some of the classes were adjusted with later start times to accommodate their schedules.

School Counseling (M.A.)


Assistant Professor Gerta Bardhoshi (School Counseling and Counselor Education) joined the SC/CES faculty in the summer of 2015. The Provost’s Office of Outreach & Engagement has awarded Gerta Bardhoshi (College of Education, Rehabilitation and Counselor Education) and Jeremy Swanston (School of Art and Art History) a Community Impact Grant in the amount of $10,000 for their proposal entitled “Social Behavioral Stories in the Classroom.” This project partners with local high-poverty schools to design, develop and deliver a custom classroom guidance curriculum and accompanying App to reduce disruptive behaviors, and promote pro-social skills in Kindergarten students.

Associate Professor Susannah Wood (School Counseling and Counselor Education) received the Legacy Book Award. Serving Gifted Students in Rural Settings, co-edited by Susannah Wood (associate professor, Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education), has been named a Legacy Book Award Winner by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented for 2015 in the Scholar category.

Students Travis Truhler and Nicole Elliot presented to the parents of Gifted and Talented students at the WINGS event put on by the Belin Blank Center. Travis presented on, “Gifted Students’ Social Emotional Concerns” and Nicole outlined, “The Impact of Anxiety and Demonstrated Relaxation Practices.” They were able to provide parents with researched based practices and information as well as answer many of their questions and concerns regarding their gifted and talented children. They greatly enjoyed the opportunity to advocate for this special population and received very positive feedback from the Belin Blank Center and parents.

The School Counseling program was ranked 14th in the nation by US News and World Reports in 2015.

Program Evaluation Outcomes

Eleven students joined the school counseling program in 2012;

All of them graduated in spring of 2015, in a 3 year timeline concurrent with the program.

The school counseling program has a 100% completion rate for this cohort.

Placement rate: 100%

Based on student and faculty feedback, the course sequence of the school counseling program is being evaluated by the faculty to consider a shorter time to degree (2.5 years rather than 3 years). A revision would include more courses taken in the summer, and beginning the clinical sequence a semester earlier.

Students participating in exit interviews suggested that there was substantial overlap in the Counseling Gifted course with the Introduction to Gifted Education course. Faculty are considering combining content from the two courses, and eliminating one of them as the expanded content in the Counseling Gifted course is not required by either CACREP accreditation or state requirements.

Students have provided consistent feedback that they enjoy the cohort model supported by the program, but that they see advantages to combining program students (with RMHC) in some of the core courses (theories, career, multicultural counseling, and introduction to research).

Students also expressed an interest in maintaining a connection with the program after graduation by having a monthly or a once a semester professional/social gathering with fellow alumni to consult about each other’s work and strengthen their professional network.

Based on site supervisor request, the annual site supervisor training experiences have been developed as an interactive webinar series to allow greater participation and access to those who have to travel greater distances with tighter schedules.

Counselor Education & Supervision (Ph.D.)


Associate Professor David K. Duys (School Counseling and Counselor Education) received the National Career Development Association Merit Award at the NCDA 2015 Conference. The NCDA Merit Award is given to recognize significant contributions to the field of career development, including: Education and mentoring of career counseling students; development of, or leadership in, exemplary career programs; conduct significant research in the field; and advocacy efforts to inform others about career development.

Associate Professor Malik Henfield (School Counseling and Counselor Education) Received the University of Iowa’s Diversity Catalyst Award in honor of his support for Black male students across campus. He also received the University of Iowa African American Studies program Faculty Award for outstanding scholarship, campus and community involvement, and dedication to the improvement of African American communities and a Certificate of Appreciation from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class and Gender in Education Special Interest Group for his work as Communications Officer. Dr. Henfield resigned his role as an associate professor after ten years of service to the department to move closer to family in California. He has accepted a position at the University of San Francisco.

Over three fourths of our doctoral students were active presenters at the most recent NCACES and ACES professional conferences.

Program Evaluation Outcomes

Number of graduates in the past year (2015): 4

Program completion rate (for period 2005-2015): 81%

Job placement rate (for period 2005-2015): 91%

Based on student and faculty feedback, the sequencing of doctoral courses is under consideration for revision beginning in the fall of 2016. The revision to course sequencing will allow for an improved time to degree and provide greater flexibility for internship options given the new CACREP 2016 standards.

By student request, the faculty will facilitate a fall social gathering to help doctoral students network with each other and provide social support to new students.

Based on student request and faculty consultation, we revised our traditional planned social activities at professional conferences to interface directly larger conference receptions to allow students to meet potential employers and provide them with networking opportunities with other doctoral students from around the country.

By student request, we have increased the opportunities for students to work together in research and conference presentation teams. This has been accomplished by setting up norms and expectations on admission, integrating more project development opportunities in class projects, and involving students more in faculty research projects. Students have responded positively to these changes, but have requested additional opportunities in this regard.

A common finding via our doctoral student annual reviews included student requests to have access to additional teaching experiences beyond the teaching practicum course and the undergraduate teaching opportunities provided by the department’s human relations minor. This has yielded greater involvement by doctoral students in special class presentations, networking with other area universities to help them acquire adjunct roles, and team teaching with faculty on specialized units that are consistent with their research interests and expertise.

Common Findings Across Programs

A consistent finding across all three programs was the satisfactory experience that site supervisors have with our students’ performance and investment in field placements. None of our students have failed to meet site expectations once placed, and all of our students have been successful once the internship sequence has begun. We attribute this to the careful selection of admitted students, the quality of our training program, and the support of our site supervisors and advisory boards.