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Meeting of the Board of Regents | June 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 11:50pm

TO:                                                 The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:                                         Frank Muñoz


SUBJECT:                             Master Plan Amendment: Medaille College, Rochester Campus, Master of Arts (M.A.) in Mental Health Counseling.


DATE:                                      June 8, 2010


STRATEGIC GOAL:             Goal 2








Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)


                            Should the Board of Regents approve an amendment to the master plan of Medaille College authorizing the College to offer the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Mental Health Counseling at its Rochester Campus?

Reason for Consideration

              Required by State Statute.

Proposed Handling

This question will come before the full Board at its June 2010 meeting where it will be voted on and action taken.


Procedural History

              Master plan amendment is required because this would be the institution’s first graduate degree program in the disciplinary area of social sciences at the Rochester Campus.

Background Information

              Medaille College proposes to offer a Master of Arts degree program in Mental Health Counseling at its Rochester Campus.  Currently, the College offers the same program at its Amherst Campus.  The Rochester Campus has offered graduate programs in business since 2001.

The proposed program will be offered in a unique weekend format that allows students who are unable to attend programs offered in a traditional delivery system to obtain their education.  Among these are individuals in mental health-related employment who seek to meet licensure requirements while continuing to work full-time, as well as students outside the immediate Rochester area, for whom a weekend program makes their continuing education possible.  Medaille College has been offering programs in adult-friendly delivery systems for over 30 years.

              Students will take 60 credits over nine semesters, including summers.  They will follow a fixed sequence of didactic courses to be offered on weekends in Rochester. The course work consists of counseling theory and practice, group dynamics, psychopathology, appraisal and assessment, foundations of mental health counseling, social and cultural foundations, career counseling and clinical instruction.  These content areas are complemented by courses in developmental psychology, research and evaluation, and professional ethics.

              Supervised internships will take place primarily during the day on weekdays and, with approval, can be taken in an approved setting near the students’ home or workplace.  Students must perform 700 internship hours – 100 hours are part of a clinical instruction class and 600 hours are included in a one-year, nine-credit supervised internship.


              Students must also pass a comprehensive examination, which assesses students’ abilities to integrate and synthesize theoretical and practical knowledge into an effective, professional method of, and approach to, counseling in order to earn the M.A. degree.

              Applicants for the proposed graduate program will have earned a baccalaureate degree from a nationally accredited educational institution or an appropriately certified international educational institution.  Minimum TOEFL scores of 213 (computer version) or 550 (paper version) are required of applicants whose native language is not English or who have not graduated from an institution at which English is the language of instruction.  They will need a minimum grade point average of at least 2.7 during the last two years of undergraduate study. An interview with the Program Director and letters of recommendation will also be required.          

This cohorted weekend program is designed to meet the needs of non-traditional adult students, especially minorities at rates comparable to the M.B.A. program in Rochester, which is 48% minority, and 27% African American.  The program will prepare students to sit for the examination for licensure as a Mental Health Counselor in New York State.  The total enrollment in year one is expected to be 20 with a total of 30 in five years.

              The 700-square foot library, through its electronic subscriptions, and other electronic technology enables students and faculty to access all major social science and mental health literature. The library also includes computer workstations and a multipurpose room that provides space for meetings and workshops. In addition, the College plans to acquire counseling-related videos, books, professional journals and assessment kits.  Classrooms are equipped with audio-visual aids and are wired for Internet accessibility.

              The College’s federal composite scores consistently show an interpretation score of “financially healthy”.

              Medaille College is in the process of searching for a Program Director for the Rochester Mental Health Counseling Program for immediate hire.  A Clinical Internship Coordinator will start with the College in 2011. Both positions require a Ph.D. in Counseling or a closely related field and licensure and registration to practice as a New York State Mental Health Counselor. These new faculty members will train with their counterparts at the Amherst campus in order to insure the academic and practical expertise necessary to deliver the proposed mental health counseling curriculum.

              Adjunct faculty will be hired from the Rochester area to teach the didactic component of the program.  Site supervisors for the internship will be Mental Health Counselors or other professionals who are authorized in regulation to perform this function.

              Graduates will be prepared to work in a variety of private, public and not-for-profit community social service agencies, hospitals and mental health clinics, or in private independent practices. Medaille College indicates that the field of mental health counseling continues to grow and that employment opportunities for both its own students and those enrolled in mental health counseling programs at nearby colleges in the Buffalo and Rochester area will exist.

              A canvass was conducted of all degree-granting institutions in the western region of New York State and all degree-granting institutions offering Mental Health Counseling programs statewide.  The State University of New York College at Brockport was the only college to raise concerns regarding the proposed program.  Brockport felt that there was a saturation of clinical sites in the Rochester area with limited employment opportunities. The College questioned the uniqueness of the program as it relates to needs not currently being met for adult and minority students, and questioned the “professional identity of the program.”

              Medaille College consequently provided a detailed communication in response to Brockport’s issues.  A survey of 37 Genesee Valley Region (Genesee, Rochester proper, Wyoming, Livingston, Orleans and Monroe counties) social services organizations was conducted by the College in 2008 to gauge the need for the proposed program from the point of view of potential employers of student interns and program graduates.  A majority of the respondents indicated that their organization would be willing to provide internship opportunities (72.9%) and hire graduates of the program (56.7%).

              The proposed program will be offered in a format different from the other three mental health counseling programs in the Rochester area. With the weekend format, a cohort of students will be available who currently cannot take didactic courses during the week, even in the evening. Medaille has a history of offering quality programs for adult students. The current M.B.A. program on the Rochester campus has a 48% minority enrollment and it is anticipated that a significant number of minority students will be attracted to this unique format. Medaille expects that students outside the Rochester area will also enroll in the program as they can go to Rochester for the weekends for their didactic course work and do their internship in an approved site near their home.

              Staff found that the proposed program satisfies the registration requirements of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education and that the College has adequately addressed the concerns raised by the College at Brockport.


              It is recommended that the Board of Regents approve the proposed master plan amendment of Medaille College authorizing it to offer the Master of Arts degree program in Mental Health Counseling.  This amendment will be effective until June 22, 2011, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case the Master Plan Amendment shall be without term.

Timetable for Implementation

              If the Board of Regents approves the master plan amendment, the Department will register the program and the institution will proceed to recruit and enroll program students.