Two counseling specialty areas housed within Northwestern State University’s School of Education were reaffirmed for accreditation through 2031, according to Dr. Katrina Jordan, director of the School.
The Board of Directors of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) met in July to make accreditation decisions regarding NSU’s Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Master of Arts in School Counseling programs, which were last reviewed under the 2016 CACREP standards.
The site-visit accreditation team found that faculty have created a strong community upon which the program thrives, including in areas of recruitment, retention and orientation to the counseling profession, Jordan said.
“Mental health is vitally important in our world today; it affects our quality of life. Counseling helps us as individuals make sense of difficult situations and emotions, especially those feelings we are sometimes afraid to speak out loud,” according to Dr. Gerra Perkins, professor and program coordinator. “At the heart of a degree in counseling is helping individuals learn resilience and discover, or rediscover, their strengths.”
NSU graduates work in a variety of clinical settings that include community agencies, hospitals, substance abuse facilities, private practices and schools.
“We offer two concentrations for our Master of Arts in Counseling, which are Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling,” Perkins said. “Our program is a blend of online and face-to-face classes. Full-time students can expect to come to campus one evening per week throughout the program. We have both part-time and full-time options.”
Graduates of the 60-hour Counseling program receive a Master of Arts in Counseling. Graduates of both concentrations meet the current academic requirements for state of Louisiana licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), as well as most other states, and requirements for the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential. Graduates of the School Counseling concentration meet current requirements for Louisiana certification in school counseling and the National Certified School Counselor (NCSC) credential.
“We are committed to excellence in the field of counseling,” Perkins said.
Perkins credited the programs’ faculty, students, alumni, site supervisors and administration for their support throughout the accreditation process.
“Without the support of each of these stakeholder groups we could not have accomplished this amazing result,” Perkins said. “Without a doubt, we have some of the finest faculty, students, alumni and site supervisors in the nation. Their commitment to our program, support for one another, and passion for counseling is inspiring.”
Perkins specifically acknowledged the contributions of retired faculty member Dr. Danny Seymour, who was an integral part of the reaccreditation journey.
“Dr. Seymour started and ended this reaccreditation process with me. I cannot thank him enough for the wisdom and experience he brought to the table. It was always more than just a job for him, and his contributions enriched more than an accreditation process. He enriched lives, including mine.”
Dr. Sonja Polley and former faculty member Dr. Erik Braun were also key to the reaccreditation.
“They brought energy, enthusiasm, and were incredible to work with,” Perkins said.
Perkins also acknowledged the support of the School of Education colleagues who provided encouragement throughout the process, NSU President Dr. Marcus Jones and Provost Dr. Greg Handel for their commitment to ensuring NSU programs meet the highest standards and Jordan for her leadership.
“Dr. Jordan was never more than an email or phone call away whenever I was needing information, documentation, or even just a sympathetic ear. She was and is our program’s greatest cheerleader, and having that kind of support is incredible,” Perkins said.
“Dr. Perkins and her team are an absolute asset to the school and to the university,” Jordan said. “This accreditation decision represents years of hard work by Dr. Perkins. The counseling unit at NSU is an absolute exemplar of what a counseling program should be.”
Information on NSU’s graduate degree programs in counseling, visit https://www.nsula.edu/education/.