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CHS: The Journey to Competent Caregiving

Lori Bruch, Ph.D.
May 16, 2017
By: Dr. Lori Bruch

Once again, our Faculty Moderator, Co-Editors, and Student Reporters exceeded expectations with this outstanding newsletter devoted to program outcomes. As you sift through the Counseling and Human Service program outcomes, you will find a foundation of excellence that is continually built upon. Our ongoing assessment activities provide evidence that program learning outcomes are being accomplished and student learning outcomes give us much to be proud of. This is due to our dedicated Standards Work Group and our recently established Assessment Action Committee. Thanks to my colleagues for the recognition of the importance of assessment and the willingness to invest significant time and energy on an ongoing basis. A feature article in this newsletter will further elaborate the work of these committees.

In addition to these program statistics, you will also have an opportunity to explore the stories behind the data. For me, stories capture the lived experience of members of our department: students, graduates, staff, and faculty. Stories connect us to each other in powerful ways and help us to have empathy for the daily struggles and triumphs. Research demonstrates that stories engage the brain and provide us with the motivation to become invested and connected to the people we serve (Zac, 2014).

As I read the draft of the Newsletter, what dawned on me is the 4th floor of McGurrin Hall is a place where people are encouraged and nurtured to bring their personal best in all they do. For faculty, staff, and students, it begins with our Dean’s Administrative Leadership team. The support that we receive from Dean Debra, Vicki, Ray, Dianne, Diane, and Pat is beyond compare. Our CHS department is blessed with this team that strives to help us meet our departmental and individual goals. In this newsletter, you will read about the student scholarship that was funded through the Dean’s Office and enabled students to present at the Pennsylvania Rehabilitation Association, Pennsylvania Counseling Association, Pennsylvania School Counseling Association, and the Pennsylvania State-Wide Chi Sigma Iota Conference. Our students Dr. Lori Bruch, Chair came back with great stories of their professional development, expanding networks, and ideas for the future, not to mention their adventures with faculty and fellow students.

Our Administrative Assistants are engaged with our students in a caring and professional manner, they go the distance each and every day. They listen to our student’s stories and help to connect them to University resources and services. They are appreciated for their daily compassion. Both Ann and Pam know that people always come first.

The Newsletter will provide you with a glimpse of how faculty work to inspire student growth and the intentional ways that students are mentored to become self-reflective practitioners, competent caregivers, and community leaders. Likewise, you will read about student perspectives as they navigate through the program and explore pivotal moments in their student counselor development. These stories provide insight into what a Scranton Education is all about.

The work from our David W. Hall Counselor Training Center (CTC) will showcase the numbers of graduate students in Clinical Mental Health, Rehabilitation, and School Counseling who have had the opportunity to develop their foundational counseling skills under faculty supervision. This Academic year, 25 counselors in training provided 1,574 sessions to 419 individuals from our campus and local communities, the real detail is found in the individual stories and successes of their work. Each day our students are making a difference through their work in the Counselor Training Center.

Our Counseling and Human Services undergraduates are actively involved in community-based learning through their coursework, volunteerism, and internships. This year, 54 CHS undergraduates have completed over 13,900 hours of internship experiences across 42 agencies. Likewise, our 43 graduate students completed over 24,806 hours of internship in community organizations, rehabilitation agencies, and elementary, middle and secondary schools. The internship placements and reflective components facilitate transformative learning experiences aimed at preparing students to enter their careers in Counseling and Human Services. In our Jesuit tradition, as men and women for others, they have witnessed their profound ability to make a difference in the lives of people including children, adolescence, the very young to the oldest of old. Through these powerful interactions, all are changed. On May 16, we will honor our interns and community supervisors at an appreciation dinner.

Recently, Dr. LeeAnn Eschbach worked with University Advancement, the Gerald R. Roche Center for Career Development, the CPS Dean’s office, and the CHS Department to invite our CHS graduate alumni to campus to share in a CEU/Networking program with current graduate students, faculty, and staff. The stories of career success and the personal accomplishments of our alumni were farreaching and heartwarming.

As Human Service professionals and Counselors, we recognize the importance of collecting demographic information, completing program evaluations, and providing accountability for the services that we provide. Outcomes are essential to our work and our livelihood, but really listening to a person’s story is at the heart of our profession.

As we come to the end of another semester, always remember that, “Your Life is Your Story.” We hope that you will invest in yourself and others, embrace opportunities with an open heart, and bring your personal best to all that you do. Have a great end of the semester and remember, near or far, the CHS faculty and staff are always here for you.

Read more from the Spring 2017 CHS newsletter, here.

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