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Community and Trauma Counseling (M.S.)

  • Campus Location

The CTC program is offered in two formats: a weekday model where full-time students attend four classes on campus every week for a minimum of five semesters, and an evening/weekend model where students can enroll full- or part-time in four classes that meet on campus one evening weekly, as well as eight Saturdays per semester for a minimum of five semesters.  Both programs utilize a hybrid delivery system combining classes on campus with online course requirements.

The CTC-AT program follows the weekday model only. CTC-AT students must be full-time. The CTC-AT program is completed in six semesters and begins in the summer.

Note: All policies outlined in this section apply to CTC students and CTC-AT students, unless specified.

Mission

Born out of growing empirical evidence that trauma is frequently at the root of psychological distress and dysfunction, the Master of Science degree program in Community and Trauma Counseling (CTC) aims to develop competent trauma-informed professionals who have the knowledge and skills to work as practitioners, researchers, and policy makers.Consistent with the central mission of Philadelphia University, this program combines a comprehensive, innovative, multidisciplinary and flexible education with an emphasis on a broader societal context. By integrating a specialized knowledge of trauma with a broad base of counseling scholarship and practice, graduates will emerge as versatile professionals in the global community. This program seeks to enhance the professionalism and practice of the field of trauma counseling by encouraging research and excellence in evidence-based practice.

The mission of the Community and Trauma Counseling master’s degree with a Specialization in Art Therapy is to train exceptionally skilled therapists who are uniquely equipped with the competencies, skills, and knowledge to engage in professional practice that is grounded in a broad understanding of the most current theory and research related to clinical art therapy, counseling, and trauma.  This specialization allows graduates to work with many different clinical and culturally diverse populations through a variety of therapeutic treatment strategies.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

  1. Graduates of the Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Philadelphia University will be competent, trauma-informed professionals. They will meet the academic and practice standards necessary to achieve credentialing and membership with appropriate professional organizations such as the American Counselors Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, The International Association of Trauma Professionals, and The International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
  • Students will demonstrate, differentiate, and integrate, an understanding of mental health, mental illness and disorder, and the counselor’s role in the systemic and individual healing process.
  • Students will understand the unique dynamics of trauma and the importance or trauma-informed research, practice and treatment.
  • Students will demonstrate competency in crisis counseling and debriefing skills in accordance to the profession’s best practice standards.
  1. Graduates of the Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Philadelphia University will be versatile professionals equipped to practice effectively with diverse clients within a variety of community, agency, and institutional settings, private practice, and government.
  • Students will differentiate and integrate both the research and practice roles of the profession into their professional careers, and will evaluate and critically reflect on research to inform evidenced-based practice.
  • Students will describe the role of the counselor within private, public and governmental entities, including disaster and crisis response, as well as in settings engaged in long-term therapeutic treatment.
  • Art Therapy Specialization only: Students will have a broad knowledge of foundational approaches, theories, techniques, and evaluation methods of art therapy and counseling, and will have developed proficiency as art therapy researchers, understanding the inter-relationship between theory, practice, and science.
  1. Graduates of the Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Philadelphia University will demonstrate cultural humility and engage as culturally competent professionals.
  • Students will demonstrate an awareness and knowledge of their own cultural values and biases.
  • Students will demonstrate an awareness and knowledge of the diverse worldviews of their clients, and will evaluate, select and employ culturally appropriate assessments and intervention strategies in their clinical practice.
  1. Graduates of the Community and Trauma Counseling Program will serve as advocates for their clients, for the counseling profession, and for themselves as professionals continuously engaged in life-long learning.
  • Students will demonstrate a commitment to continuous growth and education in their professional career and will promote the counseling profession.
  • Students will appropriately engage in client advocacy.
  • Art Therapy Specialization only: Students will cultivate their identity as an artist and art therapist and assist their clients to recognize the value of art in the healing process.
  1. Graduates of the Community and Trauma Counseling Program will uphold the highest standards of ethical practice as according to the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics (2005).
  • Students will practice counseling in an ethical, humanistic manner.

The above goals and objectives are consistent with the standards set forth by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the National Board for Certified Counselors, and the Pennsylvania Department of State- Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.

Program Description

The MS in CTC program of studies provides a comprehensive 60-credit in two different delivery methods: a traditional weekday format and an evening and weekend model.  Both delivery methods require an identical, lock-step 20-course curriculum that is designed to be completed by full-time students in two years (five semesters including the summer session).  Graduates from either progression will have met the coursework and practice requirements for licensure in Pennsylvania and many other states.

Either delivery method is designed for working students.  Courses are delivered through a hybrid-learning format that combines on campus classes and online instruction. The program prepares graduates for state licensure and national certification in professional counseling (LPC/NCC). 

In addition to the classroom and online learning components of this program, students will be required to engage in two clinical fieldwork experiences.  In the first year, students will complete a practicum, where they will spend a minimum of 100 hours developing skills and knowledge within a mental health or school setting.  Students will then progress into the advanced clinical experience, the internship, where they will complete a minimum of 600 hours within their community or school placement.  Program faculty will facilitate student placements in practicum and internship. Please see the Practicum or Internship Manual for more details.

All CTC students are expected to participate in additional program-related or program-sponsored activities outside of scheduled class times throughout enrollment.

Weekday Format: Classes meet weekly on Thursdays and Fridays, and asynchronous online learning will be continuous throughout the semester. The weekday program only accepts full-time students who enroll in 12 credits per semester.

Evening/Weekend Format: The evening/weekend format allows students to maintain full- or part-time employment while earning their degree in either 2 or 3 years. In the flexible program, students engage in class meetings one evening weekly and two Saturdays per month, and participate regularly in asynchronous online interactions with instructors and peers.  Students in the evening/weekend model can enroll full-time (12 credits per semester) or half time (6 credits per semester).

Art Therapy Specialization Program Description

The Art Therapy Specialization in the Community and Trauma Counseling M.S. program develops knowledgeable and skilled practitioners, researchers and policy makers, who utilize art therapy as a distinct, therapeutic practice when helping individuals cope with stressful events and memories.

Art therapy provides a concrete expression and visual guide to help individuals process and communicate traumatic experiences on their journey to recovery. The comprehensive 69-credit program will give students a broad understanding of current theory and research related to clinical art therapy, mental health counseling, and trauma. Taught by a faculty of practicing professionals, students will develop a broad understanding of contemporary concepts and therapeutic methods. The program prepares graduates for state licensure and national certification in professional counseling (LPC/NCC), and provides the educational requirements to apply for the credential of Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC).

E-Learning at Philadelphia University

Components of this program are offered in a flexible online environment. In the online delivery model, the vast majority of this is asynchronous and can be completed on the student’s own schedule provided the student meets the required examination and assignment deadlines.

Program Hardware and Software Requirements

  • Access to a computer and the capacity to hear audio (sound card). A USB microphone and webcam capability will be useful.
  • Internet access with high speed connection (DSL, Broadband or cable)
  • Microsoft Office software (Word and PowerPoint)

Admission to CTC Program

An applicant to the community and trauma counseling program will need to hold a Bachelor’s degree, have obtained a grade of B or higher in prerequisite courses listed below, provide two letters of recommendation, and submit a personal essay describing his/her interest in community and trauma counseling as well as qualities and experiences that will enable him/her to be a successful student or practitioner in the field.

Prerequisite Courses  Required Credits
Abnormal Psychology  3
Developmental Psychology 3
College-level Math or Statistics 3

 

Admission to the Art Therapy Specialization

Students seeking admission into the CTC Program with Art Therapy Specialization have the following admissions requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a grade point average of B or better.
  • Statement of purpose
  • 2 recommendation letters
  • Studio Art prerequisite coursework (see below)
  • Psychology prerequisite coursework (see below)
  • Portfolio of art (10-15 pieces of art are recommended. Pieces should demonstrate personal expression and technical skills in a range of media and subject matter. Applicants are encouraged to submit personal artwork in addition to class assignments.
  • Online application

Studio Art Requirements (to be completed not later than 12 months after entering the MS program)

  • A minimum of 18 credit hours in studio art are required for admission to the program, evidencing a range of experience using a variety of art materials and processes. These courses should be reflected on your transcripts, and must be earned with a grade of B or higher.
  • The art portfolio (see below) should include several examples of student work in a variety of categories of art.

Psychology Requirements

  • A minimum of 12 credit hours in psychology are required, including:
  • 3 credits in abnormal psychology and
  • 3 credits in child or human development.

These courses should be reflected on your transcripts, and must be earned with a grade of B or higher.

Curriculum

Below is a listing of the required courses for the Master of Science in Community and Trauma Counseling.  All CTC MS students, with the exception of those enrolled in the Art Therapy Specialization, must start in the fall semester.

CTC-601  Orientation to the Counseling Profession 3
CTC-602  Practicum I- Theory and Practice of Counseling  3
CTC-603  Human Growth and Development 3
CTC-604  Psychopathology 3
CTC-605  Foundations of Trauma Counseling 3
CTC-606  Social and Cultural Diversity 3
CTC-700  Practicum II 3
CTC 607  Advanced Counseling Theory and Practice  3
CTC-608 Group Work in Community and Trauma Counseling 3
CTC-609 Counseling Assessment 3
CTC-610 Research and Evaluation 3
CTC-611 Career Development 3
CTC-613 Attachment, Relationships, and Family Therapy 3
CTC-614 Addictions Theory and Practice 3
CTC-701 Internship I  3
CTC-702 Internship II  3
CTC-651 Neurobiology of Trauma 3
CTC-652 Childhood Trauma and Effects 3
CTC-653 Advanced Clinical Interventions in Trauma Treatment 3
CTC-654 Knowledge and Skill Requirements for Community Disaster and Trauma  3
CTC 790 Summer Internship Supervision 0

 

Below is a listing of the required courses for the Master of Science in Community and Trauma Counseling Art Therapy Specialization. CTC-AT students must start in the summer semester.

Summer 1

Ethics, Standards & Prof Orientation in AT 3
History and Theory of Art Therapy 3
Studio and Techniques of Art Therapy  3

Fall 1

Orientation to the Counseling Profession  3
Practicum I 3
Psychopathology 3
Foundations of Trauma Counseling  3

Spring 1

Human Growth and Development  3
Practicum in Art Therapy 3
Advanced Counseling Theory and Practice  3
Neurobiology of Trauma 3
Capstone I -


Summer 2

Social and Cultural Diversity 3
Group Work in Community and Trauma Counseling 3
Addictions Theory and Practice  3
Childhood Trauma and Effects 3
Summer Internship (optional) 0

Fall 2

Counseling Assessment 3
Career Development 3
Art Therapy Assessment & Skills 3
Internship I in Art Therapy 3

Spring 2

Research and Evaluation 3
Social and Cultural Diversity in Art Therapy Practice 3
Advanced Group, Couples and Family AT Process 3
Internship II in Art Therapy 3

Capstone II due at end of Spring Semester

TOTAL CREDITS HOURS: 69 credits

Insurance Coverage and Professional Affiliation

Students are required to maintain professional organization memberships with the American Counseling Association (ACA). Students will be required to pay for their own membership (billed by the University), and must maintain active membership status throughout their enrollment in the graduate program (approximately $95 per year). Students must also have malpractice liability insurance prior to starting clinical field placements. Liability insurance is complimentary to students who have with an American Counseling Association Master’s Student Membership. Again, STUDENTS WILL BE BILLED BY THE UNIVERSITY FOR REQUIRED MEMBERSHIP AND INSURANCE.

Students are responsible for their own medical and dental care while enrolled in the program, and for informing the University they have coverage or they will be automatically placed on the University student health plan. Students may need to submit to, and be financially responsible for, any reasonable health screening that is required by a clinical agency beyond that required by the Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Philadelphia University.

Accepted Student Requirements

Students in the Community and Trauma Counseling Program are expected to fulfill the following requirements during their student experience at Philadelphia University.

Fieldwork: Practicum and Internship

Participation in clinical and fieldwork experiences is a required part of the curriculum and a requirement for graduation. Many settings require students to be fingerprinted, undergo a drug screening and/or gain clearance from the PA Sex Offender Registry. Students are responsible for the costs of these processes, as well as for transportation arrangements and costs associated with fieldwork experiences. Information regarding how to meet these requirements is provided by the program. Note: Clinical and fieldwork sites may deny a student's participation in the clinical or fieldwork experience because of a felony or misdemeanor conviction, failure of a required drug test or inability to produce an appropriate health clearance, all of which would result in delayed graduation or, in the inability to graduate from the program.

Students are expected to obtain materials and/or complete documentation required for fieldwork:

Health Clearance (by August, New Student Orientation)

  • Annual physical examination (use PhilaU Student Health Medical Record Form)
  • Annual update of immunizations according to fieldwork site requirements
  • Annual proof of active health insurance coverage
  • Legal Clearance: Annual criminal background check (CertifiedBackground.com) and annual child abuse history clearance (see Practicum and Internship Manuals for application procedures)

Comprehensive Exam

Students are required to take a comprehensive exam in their final semester. A passing grade is required on this exam in order to graduate from the CTC Program. If a student’s score falls below the passing threshold on one or more competency areas, a remediation process will ensue, followed by an oral exam on the section(s) where the student received a failing grade. In the event that a student does not demonstrate competency in the oral exam, he/she will not be permitted to graduate in that semester, and a more extensive remediation plan would follow.

The exam will consist of 95-100 multiple choice questions modeled after questions on the licensure exam related to the following competency areas:

  • Human Growth and Development- studies that provide an understanding of the nature and needs of individuals at all developmental levels.
  • Social and Cultural Foundations- studies that provide an understanding of issues and trends in a multi- cultural and diverse society.
  • Helping Relationships- studies that provide an understanding of counseling and consultation processes.
  • Group Work- studies that provide an understanding of group development, dynamics, counseling theories, group counseling methods and skills, and other group work approaches.
  • Career and Lifestyle Development- studies that provide an understanding of career development and related life factors.
  • Appraisal- studies that provide an understanding of individual and group approaches to assessment and evaluation.
  • Research and Program Evaluation- studies that provide an understanding of types of research methods, basic statistics, and ethical and legal considerations in research.
  • Professional Orientation and Ethics- studies that provide an understanding of all aspects of professional functioning including history, roles, organizational structures, ethics, standards, and credentialing.
  • Addictions

Capstone Projects I and II

Through use of in-class and electronically mediated learning models, faculty challenge students to critically examine and apply concepts learned in courses during a given semester while simultaneously expecting students to draw on knowledge gained in previous assignments and semesters.  Emphasis on professional development and the expectation that critical thinking is an essential skill necessary for ongoing competence and growth is derived from an understanding of the literature on transitions from students to professionals. Students mark this evolution in one of two ways.

For students completing their first year, the didactic portion of the curriculum culminates with a capstone reflecting the integration of theory-to-practice in a Case Conceptualization paper and presentation, developed by and unique to each student.

For advanced students in the final semester of studies, the culminating project reflects students’ deepening critical inquiry and research skills.

Accreditation and Certification

CTC Program

The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Other Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the national accrediting body of counselor education programs.  According to the CACREP 2016 Standards, “CACREP accreditation is both a process and a status. Institutional application for CACREP accreditation denotes a commitment to program excellence. The accreditation process incorporates programs’ self-assessment along with external review to determine if and how program standards are being met. Accredited status indicates to the public at large that a program is fulfilling its commitment to educational quality.”

The CTC Program is currently engaging in its first self-study, with the aim of submitting the application and self-study in the 2017-18 academic year.  The CTC Program recognizes the benefits of accreditation to the program, students, and faculty, and is committed to achieving this important status.

CTC with Art Therapy Specialization

The Specialization has been developed to meet the standards set forth by the American Art Therapy Association, which provides “approval” to programs that meet rigorous academic and clinical training standards.  The CTC program with a Specialization in Art Therapy will pursue approval by AATA.  Professional entry also requires a credential from the Art Therapy Credentials Board (ATCB). The ATCB administers the national art therapy proficiency examination and sets the parameters of ethical practice of art therapy with the ATCB Code of Professional Practice. This specialization will ensure that coursework has afforded the opportunity for students to be successful on their proficiency exam. 

 

PROGRAM CERTIFICATION STATUS AND LICENSE ELIGIBILITY

CTC Program

National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC)

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the National Counseling Examination (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).  Upon graduation from the program and after passing this exam, students will be eligible to be credentialed as National Certified Counselors (NCC).  They will receive this credential in earnest upon successful completion and documentation of 3000 post-masters counseling hours.  The NCC credential does not permit a student to engage in private practice, as most states require licensure in order to do so.  However, the National Counselor Exam is widely accepted for licensure, and most licensing boards abide by the same educational requirements set forth by the NBCC (all of which are met by this program). It should be noted that a felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NCE certification examination and/or attain state licensure.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)

Master’s level counselors and therapists in multiple specialties are credentialed as Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) by the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors. Professional licensure requires, in addition to education, good character, passing scores on a certification examination, and satisfactory supervised work experience.

To become an LPC, you will need a qualifying master's degree in professional counseling or another closely related field (http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/049/chapter49/chap49toc.html). Your degree should be granted by a regionally accredited school and include at least 60 semester hours of coursework.

Additionally, you will need to do 100 clock hours of practicum and 600 clock hours of internship. The CTC Program exceeds minimal education requirements of the PA state board, and similarly meets requirements of most other states.  It is advisable that students who wish to earn a license outside of Pennsylvania research the requirements in the desired state prior to advancing through the program.

If you take and pass the NCE (licensing exam) as a CTC student, you will graduate from the CTC Program with the following remaining requirements:

  • Supervised Practice: If your highest degree is a master's, you will be eligible for licensure when you have accrued 3,000 hours of qualifying experience. You may only count hours that you accrued after completing at least 48 semester hours of graduate coursework.  If you have a doctoral degree, you will only need to work under supervision for 2,400 hours to become eligible for licensing. You may count some hours that you completed prior to conferral of your doctorate. However, you must complete at least 1,200 hours after receiving your degree.

At least half of your experience requirement must be met through the following direct client services:

  • Counseling
  • Assessment
  • Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Consultation
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Other therapeutic services

Your supervisor must be someone who has training and experience in the area(s) where you will be completing your supervised practice. S/he will make observations, discuss your strengths and weaknesses, and make recommendations for your continued professional growth. S/he will also make recommendations for licensing purposes.

  • You should meet with your delegated supervisor at least two hours for every 40 hours of supervised experience that you do.
  • You won't necessarily accrue all your experience in the same setting, but in order to count it, it will need to meet the following requirement:
  • You must work 30 - 40 hours a week in the same setting for at least a three-month period (or 15 or more hours a week in the same setting for at least a six-month period).
  • You may credit between 600 and 1,800 hours a year and meet your obligation over a period of two to six years.

As noted in the LPC application instructions, you may not count practicum or internship as part of your supervised experience.

CTC Program with Art Therapy Specialization

In addition to the accreditation and certification status addressed above, students are additionally eligible for the Registered Art Therapist (ATR) and the Board-Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) credentials.

Following completion of the master’s degree, graduates of approved programs must complete 1000 hours of direct client contact, with 100 hours of direct supervision, to be eligible to apply to ATCB for the ATR (Art Therapist, Registered) credential. Those who subsequently pass the ATCB proficiency examination become Board Certified and hold the ATR-BC credential.  Students will receive advising and mentorship regarding the credentialing process.

Community and Trauma Counseling Program Academic Standards

The CTC Program admission criteria are designed to select candidates who are most likely to succeed both in the university academic environment as well as in OT professional practice. While the Program faculty is dedicated to assisting students in their professional education, the student also has responsibilities.  Students enrolled in the program must demonstrate achievement in academic and clinical competencies necessary for professional practice, and meet academic standards consistent with graduate school criteria.  Students must also demonstrate effective professional behavior as detailed in the Statement of Disposition and Disposition Checklist.

Retention and Progression

Students’ academic records and professional behavior are reviewed at the end of each semester, including summer, to evaluate academic standing and satisfactory progress toward degree requirements. The Program Director will notify the student when problems in academic performance may jeopardize a student’s academic standing.

Progression: The CTC curriculum is designed to be completed in a sequential fashion.

Courses: Students must successfully complete coursework within each given semester and remain in good academic standing in order to progress to the next semester coursework. Refer to the program of study for sequence of courses. Students are advised that dropping a course will result in a delay in the completion of the program, and, depending on the circumstances, an academic warning (see information below under Academic Warning).

Semester: Students must complete each semester in sequence and in good academic standing. Although students who receive academic warnings are not in good academic standing, they are allowed to progress to the next semester. It is during this next semester that students have the opportunity to raise their grades. Failure to demonstrate mandatory professional behaviors can either delay progression or result in dismissal from the program (refer to Academic Policies [II.F]).

Graduation: Students must successfully complete the academic and clinical portions of the curriculum (including the comprehensive exam and Capstones I and II) to qualify for graduation.

Refer to standards below.

Academic & Professional Conduct

In order to remain in good academic standing, students must meet the following standards. These academic and conduct standards are in addition to the university academic standards as described in the University Student Handbook, University Catalog and on the University web site.

  1. Maintain a minimum semester grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in CTC coursework.
  2. Maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0. (Graduation eligibility requires minimum overall 3.0 GPA.)
  3. Receive no more than one grade below B- while in the CTC Program. (A second grade below B- will result in dismissal.)
  4. Repeat core course when “C” (2.0) grade is earned. While the grade of “C” is regarded as a minimum passing grade, it is judged as unsatisfactory performance. Students who earn a “C” grade in a core course must decelerate, and repeat the course before proceeding in the full-time program (see Deceleration below). Students who are unable to earn a minimum “B” (3.0) in a repeat course will be dismissed from the program. A course can be repeated only once.
  5. Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior and conduct outlined in this manual and in the University Student Handbook.

Fieldwork/ Clinical Development

Students must receive satisfactory reports and evaluations from all fieldwork educators to receive fieldwork credit. If an unsatisfactory report or evaluation is obtained from a fieldwork supervisor, the student must develop a written plan of self-correction prior to being placed in another fieldwork. A fieldwork may be repeated only once, and the student must achieve a positive evaluation on the second attempt. If a student is reviewed poorly in two fieldwork placements, the student will be dismissed from the program. The decision to permit a student to repeat fieldwork is dependent on a fieldwork supervisor’s verbal or written reports about student behavior with respect to adherence to site regulations, site schedule, ethical standards of conduct or engagement in behavior that puts patient/ client safety at risk.

The student must re-register and repeat the fieldwork in order to progress in the program. Repetition of a fieldwork could delay graduation.

Withdrawal for medical or personal reasons, and approved by program faculty, will not result in probation.  Withdrawing students will be subject to the Withdrawal/Deferral policy below.

Professional Dispositions

Knowledge and skills related to the field of counseling will be accomplished through didactic and experiential instruction. In contrast to these, dispositions are defined as the values, commitments, and professional ethics that influence behavior and the way we interact with others (including students, faculty, family members, clients, colleagues, and communities). Dispositions affect learning and motivation, as well as professional growth. Dispositions are guided by beliefs and attitudes related to values such as caring, fairness, honesty, responsibility, and social justice (NCATE 2001). To this end, professional counselors must couple their counseling knowledge and skills with a clear commitment to the following dispositions:

Impact on Others

  • Demonstrates an awareness of own impact on others.
  • Demonstrates ability to deal with conflict.
  • Demonstrates flexibility in responding to the changing demands within the professional and interpersonal environment.
  • Engages in self-reflection by using various forms of feedback including assessment and supervision.
  • Demonstrates ability to be present and “true to oneself”.
  • Accepts responsibility for personal actions and behaviors.

Ethics

  • Attends to ethical and legal responsibilities, including ACA Code of Ethics and PhilaU Code of Academic Integrity.
  • Demonstrates honesty, integrity, fairness, confidentiality, and respect for others.

Professional Identity and Growth

  • Treats others with courtesy, respect, and open-mindedness.
  • Displays ability to work with diverse individuals.
  • Demonstrates ability to accept and use feedback.
  • Communicates effectively and appropriately.
  • Interacts appropriately and positively with others.
  • Shows initiative and motivation.
  • Maintains appropriate boundaries with supervisors, peers, and clients.
  • Behaves in a professional manner towards supervisors, peers, and clients. Is respectful and appreciative with colleagues. Is able to effectively collaborate with others.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of all counseling site and course policies and procedures.
  • Completes all course and site specific work or tasks correctly and promptly.
  • Demonstrates emotional stability (congruence between mood and affect) and self-control (i.e., impulse control) in relationships with supervisors, peers, and clients.

Individual student dispositions are assessed throughout the program and are a key consideration in all recommendations for advancement or remediation.

Academic Alerts

Academic alerts are issued to students when their records are unsatisfactory, while there is still time to remedy the situation.  Students will receive academic alerts when their records indicate that typical progress toward a degree may be in jeopardy. Students should meet with their advisors to discuss plans for improving their performance.

Students whose academic records include one or more of the following will receive an academic alert from the Program Director:

  • Semester grade point average (GPA) below 3.0. (CTC Program GPA is comprised of all CTC courses taken, beginning with the semester that the student enters the professional phase of the CTC Program.)
  • Cumulative GPA below 3.0.
  • Grade below “B-” in one course
  • Withdrawal from a course for academic reasons (students who need to withdraw from a course for medical or personal reasons must first be approved by the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee prior to withdrawing)
  • While the grade of “C” is regarded as a minimum passing grade, it is judged as unsatisfactory performance. Students who earn a “C” grade in a core course must decelerate, and repeat the course before proceeding in the full-time program (see Deceleration below).
  • Verbal or written reports from clinical supervisors indicating the student’s non-adherence to site regulations, site schedule, ethical standards of conduct, or engagement in behavior that puts client safety at risk. This information may be reviewed by the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee for action, depending upon the circumstances.
  • A student who violates the CTC Program’s Standards of Professional Conduct or ACA Code of Ethics (most recent edition). This information may be reviewed by the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee for action, depending upon the circumstances.
  • Students who receive academic alerts will be required to improve their performance by the end of the next enrolled semester. Details will be provided in writing to the student upon academic alert notification.

Deceleration

Deceleration means that the student may not progress in the full-time program.

Students decelerate when they receive a “C” (2.0) in any course. Students must repeat the course and earn a minimum “B” (3.0) in order to proceed in the program. Students who are unsuccessful with remediation activities will be dismissed. Students can repeat only one course.

Since the program is a lock-step curriculum, a course that was not successfully completed cannot be repeated until the following year. A second deceleration results in dismissal.

Dismissal

Students whose academic records include any of the following will be dismissed from the program:

  • Cumulative grade point average below 3.0 for any two semesters.
  • Academic warnings in two consecutive semesters, or any three semesters.
  • A grade below “B-” in more than one course.
  • A grade of “F” or “NC” in a non-fieldwork course.
  • Grade of “NC” in two fieldwork courses.
  • Failure to correct deficiencies outlined in academic warning notice.
  • Failure to earn minimum 3.0 grade in a repeated course (a course can be repeated only once).
  • Unprofessional behavior and/or conduct that violates the University’s Code of Conduct, the ACA Code of Ethics, or the CTC Program’s Standards of Professional Conduct.

Official notification of dismissal will be in writing and sent directly to the student. Students may appeal by submitting a written request for reinstatement to the OT Program Director (see Section II.M.2 below).

III. APPEAL PROCESS

Students have the right to appeal decisions made by any faculty, official or committee of the University.  The matter should be handled informally, if possible.  If no satisfactory resolution is obtained, appeals are to be made in accordance with policies as described below, and in the current year University catalog.

Appeal of Adverse Decisions (other than academic progress or dismissal)

A specific procedure has been established for students who wish to express concern over academic matters.  The first step of the appeal process is to discuss the decision with the individual who made the adverse decision.  Students should see the following persons in this order:

  1. Arrange an appointment with the instructor in whose course the concern arises. If the concern involves more than one student, a joint appointment should be arranged so that at least several students are present with the instructor.  The concern should be explained in detail and concrete remedies suggested. The instructor should provide a specific response.
  2. Program Director. If not satisfied with the response of the instructor, arrange an appointment with the Program Director. The concern should be discussed in detail, including a review of the instructor’s response. The Program Director will provide a specific response within a week. In the event a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, an appeal may be submitted to the Executive Dean of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts. The Executive Dean is the final appeal.
  3. APPEAL OF ACADEMIC PROGRESSION OR DISMISSAL

Students who receive an academic progression or dismissal notice from the program may petition the CTC Program Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee to reverse the decision by filing a formal appeal. The Committee is an advisory group who reviews cases related to student academic progression. Students may be referred to the Committee for academic, disciplinary, or professionalism reasons. The Committee is comprised of representatives of the CTC Program faculty, Health Professions faculty, and/or Philadelphia University faculty, and meets on an as needed basis.

Students may appeal an academic progression or dismissal decision by submitting a written request for review or reinstatement to the Program Director, the next step in the appeal process. The Program Director will forward the appeal to the Committee. The appeal should be in writing and include the following:

  • An explanation of the poor academic performance that led to the academic notice or dismissal.
  • An explanation of whether the student worked with Program faculty, sought tutoring assistance or accessed other support services to address academic performance.
  • Documentation concerning any mitigating circumstances that may have contributed to poor performance.
  • A plan for preventing recurrence of academic or professional behavior difficulties and for raising performance to at least the minimum standard required for continued enrollment.
  • Letters of support from faculty (optional).

The Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee will schedule a hearing to address the appeal. The student will be invited to present his or her case. Information from the following may be reviewed and considered: student’s letter of appeal; documentation submitted by faculty/ staff/ fieldwork educators and/or students; the student’s academic record; interviews with faculty and/or students; and/or comments from the student during the Committee hearing. Following the hearing the Committee will make recommendations directly to the Program Director. The Program Director will review the Committee’s recommendation, make a decision, and contact the student as soon as practical.

In the event a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached at this level, an appeal may be submitted to the Executive Dean of the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.  Requests for appeal of adverse decisions must be made in writing and include the following:

  • A thorough description of the concerns.
  • A synopsis of the decisions to date.

The Executive Dean is the final appeal.

COURSE REMEDIATION POLICY                                                                                                              

Students who receive a grade of “C+” in a CTC Program course must remediate portions of the course. Faculty will determine an appropriate remediation plan based on the student’s course performance.  Remediation will not alter the grade a student earns in the course. The Program will not offer remediation to students who receive an “F” in a course. The purpose of remediation is to improve the knowledge and skills of students whose performance is marginal or slightly below average work in a particular course. The remediation process is appropriate for students who demonstrate below average performance in one component of a course. Remediation is a brief experience consisting mostly of self-study activities under the direction of a faculty member.  It is not designed to be a substitute for a course, or to provide all the information contained in a course.  If the course instructor or the Academic and Professional Standards Review committee feels that a student has not mastered the majority of the subject matter contained in a course, remediation will not be offered to a student. The following guidelines are used by course faculty and the Academic and Professional Standards Review Committee to identify candidates for remediation.

Guidelines for Selection of Candidates for Remediation

  • The student must have obtained a grade of at least a “C+” or above in the course (as defined by the course syllabus).
  • The student must have demonstrated a substantial effort to learn the course material as evidenced by class attendance (missing no more than two class sessions in the course), review session attendance if relevant, actively seeking assistance from the course instructor, and participation in tutoring, the Learning Center, study groups, or any other modalities recommended by the faculty for improving academic performance.
  • The student must participate in remediation immediately following the semester in which the course is taken.
  1. WITHDRAWAL/TEMPORARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE

The CTC Program curriculum is sequential and integrated in nature.  For this reason, withdrawal from one course may require withdrawal from another course.  The faculty recognizes that various circumstances may result in a student needing to withdraw from the program. Students who wish to reenter at a later date must be in good academic standing at the time of withdrawal. To withdraw or apply for a leave of absence students must follow the policies and procedures described in the current graduate catalog. Additionally, students must:

Academic leaves of absence are granted for no more than one year. In select instances students may request to return and complete the program in less than full-time status. Students enrolled in the program in less than full- time status must follow the specific course of study delineated by the program director at the time the student reenters the program.

  1. GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

The following is consistent with the Philadelphia University Graduate Education Policy for graduation, and includes specific references to the additional Occupational Therapy program requirements. (See also Graduate Studies Catalogue.)

  • Students must fulfill the required credit hour requirements for the CTC graduate program
  • Credit hour requirements include all didactic and fieldwork coursework.
  • A candidate for graduation must have earned at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and no more than one grade below B- to be certified for graduation.
  • Students must submit an Application for Graduation prior to the semester in which they plan to graduate.
  • This form is available on-line in WebAdvisor. Students will be billed for graduation fees.
  1. RE-ENTRY POLICY

Students who withdraw from the CTC Program and who wish to return must submit a letter to the Program Director. The letter must state the student’s rationale and readiness for return to full-time coursework. It should include information about the student’s activities since leaving the program that have prepared him/her to return. Readmission will be determined by the faculty based on a review of records and any additional criteria required at the discretion of the faculty. Refer to the university catalog for further information regarding procedures.

Students dismissed from the CTC Program for academic conduct or any other reasons are not typically readmitted to the Program. In special circumstances, dismissed students may be considered for re-entry. To be considered for re-entry students must have developed and implemented an action plan that would facilitate successful academic, clinical, and dispositional performance. They must notify the Program Director prior to application, then submit the Re-Entry Application to the Office of Graduate Admissions following the admission procedures described above.

All requests for re-entry will be considered on an individual basis by the CTC Program faculty. Decisions will be based on factors such as current academic status, clinical readiness, dispositional and ethical assessment, availability of space, and the student’s written justification for re-entry.

The CTC program has additional academic standards and policies that address expected academic and clinical performance. These are described in the CTC Student Academic Handbook furnished by the program upon enrollment.

The CTC program reserves the right to amend or add to the academic policies and regulations at any time, provided that such changes or additions are intended to improve the quality of education and are introduced in a fair and deliberate manner with appropriate notice provided to all students affected by the change.

Students are required to maintain professional organization memberships with the American Counseling Association (ACA).  Students will be required to pay for their own membership (billed by the University), and must maintain active membership status throughout their enrollment in the graduate program (approximately $95 per year). Students must also have malpractice liability insurance prior to starting clinical field placements.  Liability insurance is complimentary to students who have with an American Counseling Association Master’s Student Membership. Again, STUDENTS WILL BE BILLED BY THE UNIVERSITY FOR REQUIRED MEMBERSHIP AND INSURANCE.

Students are responsible for their own medical and dental care while enrolled in the program, and for informing the University they have coverage or they will be automatically placed on the University student health plan. Students may need to submit to, and be financially responsible for, any reasonable health screening that is required by a clinical agency beyond that required by the Community and Trauma Counseling Program at Philadelphia University.