Forty-five Alliance Graduate School of Counseling (AGSC) online students shut down their computers and travelled to Nyack’s Rockland County campus for the six-day annual residency portion of their online master’s degree program this week.
Dr. Lisa Steiner, director of the online mental health counseling program, was thrilled to see the fruit of her labor in collaboration with the Office of Admissions that was developed more than two years ago. After October 2015 approval by the New York State Education Department, the program launched in the summer of 2016 with an impressive distinctive that Dr. Steiner shared then. “Of the hundreds of private and public institutions of higher education in New York that offer psychology programs, according to OnlinePyschologyDegrees.com, Nyack College is one of the first New York colleges to offer the master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling licensure degree in a distance education format.”
The men and women hail from Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York and Brazil. For the week, some stayed in Nyack campus housing; others in hotels, AirBNBs or were guests in local private homes.
Enjoying the convenience and flexibility of the online program, the up-and-coming counselors are preparing to be licensed for such areas as the social services and healthcare organizations. Others in the cohorts are currently educators, case managers, adoption counselors, substance abuse counselors, pastors, pastors’ wives and businesspeople. One student is a soccer coach, evidence of the broad spectrum of areas where the graduates can serve.
Proud of the cohort of four scheduled to graduate in May 2019, Dr. Steiner reports that they all passed their four-hour comprehensive exam. She looks forward to this success story continuing which includes “admitting 20 incoming students for the summer of 2019,” and growing to “over 60 active students.”
She adds, “I am in the process of writing a self-study for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation along with the on-campus director and associate professor of mental health counseling, Dr. Antoinette Gines-Rivera and faculty and plan to submit this self-study during the 2018-19 academic year. Once we achieve CACREP accreditation, the national demand for our online program will increase significantly. Furthermore, current online students will be published in professional peer-reviewed journals, as all of the online students and I have been conducting scholarly research studies during our Research Methods and Analysis course.”