Counselor Education Program (MA, PhD)

Needs Assessment: fall 2021 Summary and Response

UToledo Counselor Education Needs Assessment Summary & Response 

In September 2021 the counselor education (CED) faculty at UToledo conducted a needs assessment of student experience focused on the areas of a) program satisfaction, b) instruction, c) course offerings/times, d) advising, e) diversity, equity, and inclusion, and f) program strengths and weaknesses. Students were asked to rate the program on a scale of one to five (1 to 5) stars in the previous domains and were also offered the opportunity to provide comments/qualitative feedback regarding those areas. These data were collected via a survey using Microsoft forms and was sent to all students in CED program (Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMH), School Counseling (SCH), and the Counselor Education PhD (PHD). The faculty have reviewed this student feedback and will provide a summary of findings and a response to the feedback below.

28 students completed the needs assessment (~30% response rate). Student respondent demographics include:

  • Specialization: CMHC (n= 8), SCH (n=9), and PHD (n= 11),
  • Gender: cisgender female (n= 26), cisgender male (n=1), non-binary (n=1)
  • Age: M= 27.85, Range 23-45
  • Semesters in program: M=4, Range= 1- 8
    • CMHC: 4.25 (Range 1-8)
    • CED: 2.54 (Range 1-6)
    • SCH: 5.55 (Range 3-7)

Students across programs are well represented in these findings and composition of respondents is reflective of the gender and age demographics of the program. Note: We did not elect to collect demographic information re: ethnocultural identity to protect anonymity of student respondents. Findings from the measured domains of interest are presented below.

Student Rating of Program

Overall students rated our program 4.18/5 stars. Ratings by program are below:

  • CMHC: 4.38/5
  • SCH: 3.78/5
  • PHD: 4.36/5

Faculty are pleased with an overall high rating from our students and believe it reflects the quality of our program. However, ratings were disparate between our CMHC, SCH, and PHD programs, with our SCH program being rated the lowest.

Student Satisfaction with Instruction

Students rated instruction 4.14/5 stars. Ratings by program are below:

  • CMHC: 4.5/5
  • SCH: 3.44/5
  • PHD: 4.45/5

Qualitatively, students shared instructors provide a safe space for authentic classroom discussions and that instruction is consistent and supportive. Students also shared that online learning environments in COVID were sometimes confusing, restricting, and inconsistent. Other students indicated that online learning/hybrid courses were helpful for their busy schedules. School counseling students particularly indicated that they would like additional content in school counseling specifically, either integrated into foundational counseling courses and/or additional school counseling specialty courses.

Satisfaction with Course Offerings/Course Times

Students rated course offerings and times 4.12/5 stars. Ratings by program are below:

  • CMHC: 4.25/5
  • SCH: 3.33/5
  • PHD: 4.64/5

For many qualitative comments, students were satisfied with course offerings and course times. Doctoral students specifically mentioned challenges related to research courses and scheduling RESM courses regarding their plans of study. School counseling students indicated that additional school counseling specific course offerings or instruction would be helpful.

Satisfaction with Advising

Students rated advising 4.32/5 stars. Ratings by program are below:

  • CMHC: 4.75/5
  • SCH: 4/5
  • PHD: 4.27/5

Students commented that they appreciated the support and attention that they receive from their advisors. Some doctoral students indicated that they would be interested in more frequent check-ins with their advisor, especially in the beginning of their program. Some students also indicated some challenges with advising due to faculty turnover. Overwhelmingly, students were pleased with advising and appreciated efforts undertaken by advisors to attend to student needs.

Satisfaction with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Students rated DEI efforts 4.54/5 stars. Ratings by program are below:

  • CMHC: 4.63/5
  • SCH: 4.22/5
  • PHD: 4.73/5

Students indicated that DEI was a specific strength of our program and expressed appreciation for its infusion across curriculums. Students indicate that they recognize that DEI is a program priority through teaching, research, new course creation (Advanced Multicultural), and hiring decisions. Students indicated that a more diverse student body and student-driven diversity initiatives could further strengthen DEI in the program.

Program Strengths

Students were asked to qualitatively provide feedback on program strengths. Students identified strengths in the following areas:

  • Open, affirming, and inclusive classroom environments
  • Up to date course content and evidence-based practices
  • Organized clinical coordination
  • Experiential learning opportunities
  • Caring professors engaged in student learning outcomes
  • Clear Communication from faculty
  • Assistantship opportunities for doctoral students
  • The Intersectionality in Counseling research lab
  • Adherence to CACREP standards

Program Areas for Improvement

Students also provided qualitative feedback on areas for program improvement:

  • More experiential learning focused on risk assessment and integrating theory into practice
  • Doctoral-level research courses taught within the CED program
  • Educational Leadership taught sooner in doctoral course rotation
  • Increase in number of faculty members overall
  • Greater preparation for doctoral level instructors before fall semester start
  • More focus on school counseling courses/content

Program Response

Faculty are appreciative of student feedback and the additional data to support our goals of program improvement. Upon review of the needs assessment data faculty have identified three primary needs to address as soon as feasible: a) school counseling course content/integration of content, b) doctoral preparation for teaching, and c) student engagement with DEI efforts.

School Counseling Course Content/Integration

Upon review of this needs assessment faculty immediately recognized an increased need for attention to our school counseling program. There have been challenges with this in past (e.g., understaffed in the concentration area/faculty turnover), but we are confident that with the addition of a strong school counselor educator in collaboration with our school counseling program coordinator, these issues can be addressed. The program plans to address this in two ways, specifically. First, the school counselor program coordinator has created a new course specifically for school counselors (COUN 6100: Comprehensive School Counseling Programs) that will run for the first time in Spring 2022 (this course replaces consultation). Second, it is clear additional attention is needed across the curriculum. School counseling program faculty (along with the rest of faculty) will, over the next year, identify areas/assessments/assignments/readings that can be integrated into core COUN course (e.g., diagnosis, career, research, etc.) that are directly applicable to school counseling students.

Doctoral Preparation for Teaching

Faculty recognize the need for additional teaching preparation, especially for first semester doctoral students. To that end faculty are addressing this in two ways: first, faculty are preparing resources that can be provided to doctoral student teaching graduate assistants in advance of their attendance in the fall semesters. This will also include addendums to GA orientation to increase the focus on teaching preparation. Second, Educational Leadership will be moved from a biannual spring course to be taught every fall for every first semester student. This will change the first fall semester from a rotation of courses to the same core courses in teach term: Educational Leadership (4 credits), Supervision (4 credits), and Internship (4 credits; for full time students). We hope this will provide a solid introduction to the field of counselor education for our doctoral students in their first semester of study.

Student Engagement with DEI Efforts

DEI was recognized as a program strength throughout sections of the needs assessment. This is something we are particularly proud of, as we are intentional in these efforts. We recognize that we cannot stop our intentional focus on DEI and honor student feedback regarding additional involvement in these efforts. To gain insight, the program has started a student diversity committee which is chaired by two doctoral students. This committee’s charge is to identify student DEI concerns, needs, and suggestions and present them to program faculty. DEI is an evolving and ever-changing landscape and we hope through increased student engagement we can stay on the
UToledo Counselor Education Needs Assessment Summary & Response 4 forefront of DEI and continue to be models not only for other programs at UToledo, but in counselor education at large.


Overall, the results of the fall 2021 needs assessment indicate we have a highly rigorous and highly rated program, from student perspectives. In concert with our recent 8-year re-accreditation we are pleased with where the program is but also excited for this opportunity to integrate student feedback to continue to make our program the strongest it can be. We will increase our focus on the above three identified initiatives (school counseling program, doctoral teaching preparation, student DEI engagement) in this academic year. We will re-assess students’ needs in fall 2022 with another needs assessment to identify further needs and areas for programmatic growth. 

Last Updated: 11/21/22