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Transcript for November 2015

>> Hey, everyone. We're going to get started. It's so great to see such a big group here today. And my name is Chuck Degeneffe. I'm the coordinator and a faculty member in the program. We also, just so you know, have a number of people online who are joining us. And so it's great to see your interest in the rehab counselling program. So we're going to do a lot of things tonight, including you're going to have a chance to talk about yourself, talk about who you are, you know, what brought you here tonight thinking about this as a career and as a program. And one thing is we thought it might be a good idea to kind of get us thinking about the professional rehabilitation counselling and really give a picture to this degree, which at times is kind of hard to define in a sense. Last year we made a promotional video and this will kind of give us again I think a good starting off point to talk about the program, talk about the faculty, the students, the alumni, all the things you can do with this career. And again, you can really share from your point of view what is it that brought you here. So let's take a look at this video and we'll go from there. For the online people, unfortunately you won't be able to watch this, but you can hear.

 

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>> For people who get their master of science degree in rehabilitation counselling there are various options. Even though rehabilitation counselling has been around as a career since the 1950's, not everyone knows what rehabilitation counsellors do. Counsellors partner with individuals with disability to help them make important choices, build viable careers, live independently in the community and pursue a meaningful life. The primary focus of career preparation in rehabilitation is developing counselling skills, acquiring knowledge of disabilities, and demonstrating respect and sensitivity to people with disabilities. Combined with a solid foundation of specialized education in the rehabilitation field, dedicated rehabilitation professionals help individuals with disabilities achieve their goals. Individuals who rely on rehabilitation counsellors include wounded warriors from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, teenagers with disabilities transitioning from school to adult life, and persons who experience physical or sensory disabilities from injury or illness, whether they were born with a disability or acquire them later in life. Students in our program who obtain a master's in rehabilitation counselling degree promote [inaudible]. The degree is 60 semester units and typically takes two-and-a-half to three years to complete.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

Upon graduation, a rehabilitation counsellor is qualified to work in a wide variety of settings. The outlet for employment in rehabilitation counselling is excellent. Our graduates typically find employment as counsellors, evaluators, assistant technology specialists in a variety of settings, including governmental agencies, community programs and other nonprofit or private settings. Our program is distinguished by how we respond to the needs of local, state and international events. We actively engage with our community partners to develop curriculum, create assignments, advocate for needed services and programs and present a real life perspective to the work of rehabilitation counselling. Here are some testimonials about rehabilitation counselling master's degree, alumni and employers.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

>> Just from the start I felt very welcome. I got a lot of guidance, especially as far as second year students.

[ Inaudible ]

>> I work with graduates from this program. And I can't tell you, as an alumni, how proud I am of what we do.

[ Inaudible ]

>> We encourage you to explore the rest of our website to learn more about our program. We look forward to hearing from you.

>> All right. It's great we have one of our speakers here tonight and he'll be talking. He now is an alumnus. He has identified as a current student, probably graduated from our program recently. So he's going to go on to do great things in our field. So first does everyone have a copy of the agenda? All right, so we're pretty much just going to go off of this. And we're going to start by having you guys talk a bit about who you are.

 

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So we're first asking our prospective students to ask these questions. Later on we'll have some of our current students and alumni talk about what they're doing in the program, what they're doing with this degree, what drew them to this field. And I think when we get to that part of our meeting, it will be very helpful to get those perspectives. Because our current students and our alumni are in the same position you guys are in right now, thinking about, is this the program that would really provide what you want in your career, deliver what you're looking for in terms of a master's counselling program in rehabilitation. So we'll definitely get those perspectives tonight. And as you see, later on in the agenda we'll have basically an overview from the faculty about what we focus on, our specializations, our different areas that we can really mentor you in if you have particular interests in different domains of rehabilitation counselling. And at the end, Dr. Tucker and myself are basically going to go through a nuts and bolts kind of overview about how do you apply. You're going to hear terms like CNC mentor and apply now. We want to talk about the GRE, transcripts, all these kinds of very nuts and bolts things that you need to know in terms of applying to the program. And this is really a chance to ask any questions you have. So we want this to be as discussional as possible. Don't feel like you have to hold back and ask questions or say something at a particular time. Any time you want to jump in and say something, please do that. And then it also applies to our guests online. John, how many people do we have online?

 

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>> We had one. It looks like she left.

>> Maybe she'll be back. All right, and then this will also be our kind of interwork website. So when we have future students come in or prospective students come into our office and ask us about the program, we'll have them view this meeting. So you essentially will be part of introducing people to this program and to this profession. Okay, good. Maybe we'll get some more on the line. So because I really don't know the prospective students that well yet, at least I know some of them by phone and email, but not the person. I'm just going to start with my closest over to this side. We're going to ask you guys basically to say your name and I put on the agenda on campus or distance. Right now, the next time we recruit for the distance program will be 2017 or 2018, but not for next year. But if you are interested in distance you can also say that. And I think it's a general question about what brought you here today. When you heard about this open house, when you heard about this master's program, what appealed to you about that? So let's start over here.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

>> I wanted to find out what the program has to offer and what skills we're going to learn and how it will be applied to the work site.

>> Awesme.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Okay. We have a lot of our students and graduates out there. Yeah. Great.

[ Inaudible ]

Awesome, okay.

[ Inaudible ]

Serena is one of our current students and the president of our students association. So we'll have Serena talk a little bit later, so in a few minutes.

[ Inaudible ]

This is the right place to be.

>> My name is [inaudible] and I also work at the regional center. And I have been two five of these open houses already at the regional center. But now I feel like I'm more ready in my life.

[ Inaudible ]

>> That's great. And over the last 10 years we've had a lot of regional center counsellors who have gone through our program. We've had graduates of our program go to regional center. And we'll talk about one of the specializations we have in the program is cognitive disabilities which I coordinate, which I think is a good preparation, especially for regional center. There's definitely a lot of I think applicability to what we do in the program.

[ Inaudible ]

You know, maybe one of the things from the video you may have picked up is the variety of things you can do in this field. In fact, a lot of people that graduate from our program can go on to a variety of different settings, whether it's working for the federal government, the state government, nonprofit agencies, rehabilitation. So if you're looking for different options, definitely there's a lot of things you can do in that regard.

 

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>> Hi everyone, my name is Gena Frazer. I currently work for the Disabled Veteran Outreach. I'm currently working on my bachelor's so I'm not exactly ready for this program yet. But I want to see what is required to get set up for it. I'm a veteran myself and I do a lot of jobs for veterans on a daily basis.

[ Inaudible ]

I find ways to help them get their resumes together, get their interviewing skills together and become employable after they leave the service. So I stumbled across this degree program by doing a web search and I'm really enthralled with it. I called Chuck last night actually. He said, "You're just in time for an open house." So I'm really excited to be here to learn firsthand about [inaudible].

>> It was great to talk to you. And one of the things we'll talk about tonight is the program is very hands-on. And one of the advantages of having a small program, we take around 25 students per year so you get to know all the faculty, all the students, all the staff. The program is very hands-on, very collaborative. And as far as veterans, that is very much a growing direction of the program. We have a lot of veterans in the program. We have a number of students that go on to work with veterans with the VA, nonprofit agencies like Veteran's Village, Veteran's Transition Services. A number of different agencies around town. So if you want to continue in that area, definitely you can do that. Sure.

>> Hi everyone, my name is Carmen. I also work for the regional center. A lot of my colleagues have done the program and they've given really good reviews by it. So I'm really interested either continuing to work at the regional center or maybe going somewhere else.

>> Great. And for the online people, if you want to type something in, we have a chat box on the online program we use. So maybe we'll talk a bit and if you guys chat in a statement, John, one of our part-time faculty who also works the regional center, will basically say the statement and then we'll respond to it. So from the video, and then maybe to what you're heard from other people. Maybe you mentioned you went to a presentation about the program. Coming into this room here today, what did you think about rehab counselling? If somebody asked you to define what this field was about, what do you think you would say? What comes to mind? Yeah.

[ Inaudible ]

Okay. Very common because of the rehabilitation part of the name. But knowing what it is, you said you know what it is, from that perspective, what would you say?

>> Rehabilitation?

 

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>> Rehabilitation counselling, yeah.

>> Working with people that have gone through some sort of trauma or disability, helping them assimilate into a typical [inaudible].

>> Yeah. It's sort of like perceived quality of life. I think typical is a good word. I think we all have dreams to have a job, live independently, pursue our goals, things like that. And a rehab counsellor really has the potential to help facilitate that in a variety of different ways. So I think in terms of having a profession, a job, where you really feel like that term like making a difference, satisfying, fulfilling. A lot of people will say that about this field, because you really are doing that. It's not like a made-up term. And tonight we'll get into some of the ways where that can really be a reality. So when you go home every night, I may have really dramatically changed the direction of somebody's life because of my counselling approach to the services I have provided, what I can bring to the table with the work I do. What other kind of perceptions or ideas do you have about this profession? Anything else? Let's say what populations do you think you would work with as a rehabilitation counsellor?

[ Inaudible ]

Yeah.

[ Inaudible ]

Yeah, definitely that's a big population we work with as rehabilitation counsellors. And the goal you mentioned of independent living definitely applies. Yeah?

>> I think we would also work with people with serious mental illness.

>> Absolutely. Yeah. And that's a growing area in this profession. And Dr. Martin, one of our faculty members, will talk about her specialization and that area and the option also becoming licensed as a professional clinical counsellor. That's an area where more and more of our students are looking at. And there is a need. Whether we're talking about the VA, the California Department of Rehabilitation, community colleges, four-year universities, knowing how to work with people with psychiatric disabilities is an essential part of this job. So there's definitely opportunities for that. Anything else? Anything else? All right. Well again we'll have a lot of chances to talk and like I said, just jump in and ask anything you want to. John, any chat?

 

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>> It actually just popped up. Carmen is one of our online individuals and she made a comment about help individuals with disabilities live a more fulfilling life.

>> Excellent. That kind of sums it up in a lot of ways. All right, well at this point we're going to shift to talking to our faculty. We'll have each of our faculty members say a bit about who they are, what they do, just to get to know them. Because you probably have seen them on the website so far, but now we get to see them in person. So first on this, Dr. Caren Sax is a faculty member and also the chair of the academic department for rehab counselling program as part of the administration rehabilitation post-secondary education. Caren?

>> Welcome, everybody. It's a quiet group. So what if this were part of your interview? Don't you want to show us what you're thinking about? We might be sitting here rating you for your first part of your interview, right? Not to add any pressure. For many of you, you'll learn quickly that in graduate school we have a much more interactive way of involving students in coursework. Our classes are smaller. We know everybody, everybody knows us. You can't hide in graduate school, okay? And that's a good thing. Because you'll be counting on us and the connections that the faculty bring, the connections that your classmates bring, for employment. And we all want to make sure that you get employed when you get out of this program. And most of our students are employed while they're in the program. How many people are already working in the field, connected to the field? Okay, great. See, there's already network. And the rehab community is fairly small, relatively speaking. And so people that you meet in the program, whether it's other students, whether it's students from other years in the program, whether it's graduates of our program, we like to keep people involved. That's why you see people who have already graduated from this program coming here tonight. And people in the program coming here tonight. Because they believe in the program. And we think it's probably so much more credible coming from them. I mean of course we're going to say everything is perfect, right? That's why we're in the top 10: it's a great program. But I think it comes off with a little bit more credibility when you talk to students who are actually in the program and students who have graduated from the program.

 

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And we do keep a really nice growing circle of people who have bene involved with us. They stay involved because they're the ones that are going to hire you or give you internship opportunities or give you ideas for projects. And so we want to make sure you take advantage of that. And that's what this field is all about. It's not only helping clients whom you are going to serve in a variety of settings, but also helping each other because you're putting a lot of yourself into this field. Most people aren't doing this because they're looking to make a million bucks. If you are, sorry. You're in the wrong room. Most people aren't in it just for the money. There's other rewards. [Inaudible] But it can be life changing, both for you and the people that you're serving. And we see that every day. We see it with our students. We see it with all the people that they're serving. And I'll tell you, there's nothing better than that. And so as the chair of the department, we're part of the college of education. So that's our bigger umbrella. There's the university, then there's the college of education. And then within the college of education there's eight departments. We are one department in that college. And so we are the department of administration, rehabilitation and secondary education. And that gives us an opportunity to have students in all graduate programs. So we have other master's degrees in the department and also a doctoral degree. So it gives us an opportunity for you to meet students who are in the student affairs, post-secondary education, people who work in community colleges and higher ed, folks who are working with all sorts of student services. And of course disability services is one of those services. And so it gives us an opportunity to interact across our program. And then this institute, the interwork institute is our umbrella over all of our grants and contracts.

 

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And the reason that we have this, so any money that comes in from outside the university, whether it's a federal grant, whether it's a state contract, whether it's a grant from a private corporation, all of that comes through our research foundation into the interwork institute. And everybody in the institute, we all write grant proposals and we all bring in lots of different money. You'll hear more about the scholarships that we bring in that help support you. And we do that because of the opportunities that it provides. So it provides students opportunities for getting involved in projects that we do around research, around training, around other kinds of activities that happen in this field for professional development. And it's not that we're so bored that we have to find extra work to do. But we do it because it's such an amazing opportunity that it provides for students and that it connects us with all of our community partners. So whether that's the university, community colleges, nonprofits, the county, you name it. We partner with everybody, both in San Diego, across the state and across the country and also internationally. So you'll find that one of the things that will be really important is to really find out all the things we do. There may be some opportunities that you haven't even thought about that we can help with. I also run a specialization in the rehab program around a certificate of technology. We have a certificate of rehab technology that we do with our college of engineering. That's been around for -- I don't know -- a long time, almost 20 years. And so you would get that concurrently with the degree, but we would set up your program that you would take the courses that you need to take as part of the 60-unit degree. And we do that with other specializations. Other people will talk about their specializations. We also have a supporting employment and transition specialist certificate that's available also to be done as part of the master's degree. So those are kind of the two areas that are the most involved with. That's probably enough.

 

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>> Thanks, Caren.

>> Hi, everybody. I'm Marge Olney. And I'm probably best known for being involved in all things mental health. So one of the things that Caren just mentioned a moment ago is that there is a specialization certificate in assistive technology. There's also one of those in psychiatric rehabilitation. So if you have a special interest in that area, that might be interesting to you. Sometimes people sort of wonder what psychiatric rehabilitation means. And if you think about the way people were describing rehabilitation earlier, the whole idea of working with an individual to help them get the life that they want to live, it's basically doing that with people who have mental health issues. So it's not a real complicated concept. Some students decide that they are so committed to working with people with mental health issues that they want to do that for their whole career. And those are the people who might even approach the idea of licensure. One of the things that a person can do in this program is take a concentration in clinical mental health and clinical rehab counselling that provides all the coursework you need to get the LPCC, the licensed professional clinical counsellor. So that's just kind of what I do. I also teach some of the early classes in the program and I really enjoy that because I get to meet people early and hopefully provide a little influence early on as far as how they think about this field and how they go forward into the world. So that's my great joy. And also the professor that introduces the APA style papers, so people approach that with a certain amount of fear and trepidation, but there's lots of support. My research area is of course mental health, but I also have done a lot of work in work incentives, looking at the Social Security system. How many people are familiar with Social Security disability? Yes. So I've looked at the differences within that program and studied that from a number of different angles. I also have a real strong background in supportive employment. So I'm very interested in employment. And I have been pretty dedicated to looking at specifically employment as it pertains to people who have psychiatric disabilities. So those are my interests. What am I like as a professor? I think I'm fun. I give people lots of opportunities to interact.

 

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And I try to mix it up a lot so that two hours and 30 minutes goes fast. So people in my class are doing a variety of different things. Maybe spending some time in group work. And I'm guessing this is true of all of us, that we have figured out to make those two-and-a-half hours really move. Another thing is that, and I think I speak for all of us, we're very interested in each of you as individuals. So our doors are open. We want to meet with you. It's a small program, maybe 25 or so students each year. So we want to know you personally and we invite you to come in and spend time with us and get to know us. And there's a lot of advantages to doing that, because we know a lot of people. And when it comes time to getting letters of recommendation, if somebody knows you they're going to be able to do that for you. If they've never had a conversation with you, I don't think they're going to do that. So think about kind of joining in. We have a student organization that is just vibrant. Serena is here. She's the president and she can talk more about that. But get involved. Grad school is such a gift. I always call it brain candy. Because you get this opportunity to delve deeply into topics that you've thought about. You know, especially for those of you who are working, you're probably zipping through the day thinking, "I would love to know more about this. I'd love to know more about that." This is your opportunity to delve in deeply and really, really learn about what it means to be out there in a rehabilitation role helping people get a life. And sometimes that means understanding the theory underneath it. Sometimes it means learning the techniques. So all those things are at your fingertips. If you're going into the program just so that you would have the master's degree and you don't care what's going on for that two-and-a-half to three years, that's not good. Make sure you engage and make it work for you. What else can I share? I'm trying to think.

>> Maybe the classes you teach.

>> Oh yeah. I teach the [inaudible] class, which is the introductory. I like to teach classes when people are new. I teach the job placement class, which is everyone's least favorite class when they're taking it. And when they leave and come back and talk to me they say, "It was the most important class I had." So it's one of those things that people might not like it because it's a little scary. You actually have to talk to employers and get used to interacting with the business community. I teach counselling theory where we go from Freud all the way up through the dead white men.

 

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>> That's good.

>> To current day. But anyway, you get to study 11 different theories of counselling. So I also teach two courses in psychiatric rehabilitation. It's a part one and a part two. The way I designed them is so you can jump in either semester. I put them together so that it works for you to take one or the other. And some people take those as electives. And other people need to take them because they're in that specialization. Anyone who's in anything related to mental health in our program needs to take those two classes. That's what I teach.

>> Excellent. Mark?

>> Hi, I'm going to stand up. I've been sitting down all day. I'm Mark Tucker. Second year as a full-time faculty member in the rehabilitation program, but I worked here for 14 years before that. So I'm kind of familiar. Also graduated from the program years and years ago, so I have a little bit of empathy for what folks are going through. So I can remember back to some of that. It was a while ago, but I still can remember it. Courses that I teach in the rehab counselling program, there's a two-semester sequence entitled medical and psychological aspects of disability that I teach. People usually take that their first year. Not everybody, but most folks do. And that's a little different in that it's one of the few classes that's not held either up on campus or down here. We hold it at a separate working rehabilitation facility. Which is great because it brings us into contact with a lot of professionals who work in rehabilitation on the medical side. And we'll have contact hopefully with rehab counsellors at some point when folks go from inpatient to getting back into the community. So and then I kind of want to -- so maybe job placement is people's least favorite class.

 

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Maybe research methods. We could get a show of hands if you want to, but I figured. Some people definitely say it's their least favorite class, but research methods isn't that bad. It is one that's kind of an integral part of our program and it actually builds towards a few of the other classes that are in the program, so having those skills as you kind of get into some of the other classes is helpful. And then I also tend to work a lot on projects and grants and contracts and things like that which are coordinated here through the institute. It's a great way for us to sort of remain in contact with the organizations that hire our graduates and agencies that partner with local rehab organizations. And it occasionally gives us a chance to have students work with us as graduates and that can be a really nice experience too in terms of getting familiar with different rehab organizations and players in the rehab field and looking at things from a different level. Folks may intern somewhere where they're a counsellor or working with a counsellor and be sort of direct servants. And then a lot of things that we're involved in are kind of wider system kind of issues, so you kind of see things from a different level there. This is one example. We've got a project right now going on that's called PROMISE or California PROMISE. And it's a collaboration between us and the state rehab agency, 22 school districts throughout the state, and a bunch of other kind of state level partners. And ET family resource centers located throughout California. And they're really zeroing in, the population that's the focus of this project, is 14-15-year-olds who are the recipients of Social Security disability. We're testing some interventions to see if we get a number of services coordinated for families, youth and families, early on. Does that change the trajectory of where folks go? So basically are they on Social Security disability for the rest of their lives? Or do they kind of make a change and get into employment and out of poverty. We're tracking that not only for the individual, but also for their family as well. So this is kind of one example of a variety of different grant contracts and things like that that we have going on here to keep us involved in the field so that we're not just teaching classes and then disconnected from everything else that goes on.

 

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>> Mark, do you want to mention the interns that are working as part of Cal PROMISE?

>> Yeah. We have interns through Cal PROMISE. They're covering southern California, right? You know more about this. But we also have interns associated with other universities throughout California, because this project spans the state who are involved up north and we basically have San Diego and Orange County, right?

>> Yeah. The interns primarily come from our program. The rehab counsellors program is always the first choice for the interns because a lot of the elements of PROMISE, you're really prepared to do that through this program. So I wanted Mark to mention that because it's one of many things where because of the grants and contracts that we have, students can get involved with things directly and you gain skills and background and knowledge in the field. And also you're paid for working in the field while you're working in the program. So I think it's a distinctive part of our program.

>> That's one example. You can talk to any of us. We'll be able to tell you a bit more about the other things that we have going on in terms of things besides just classroom activities in the program. Research area-wise, I'm kind of interested in how education and post-secondary training level, maybe not the whole playing field for folks with disabilities. A lot of the work I focus in on is around that. We have rehab cases that involve post-secondary education training, that kind of thing. So that's one area. Another area of interest for me is basically professional evaluation and vocational rehabilitation. That's one of the things that we're doing on the PROMISE project as one of several significant levels. We have project evaluators for that program, so we're kind of keeping track of what everybody's doing throughout California and feeding that back to the project so we can kind of make improvements as it goes along.

 

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>> That's good. As far as what I do, teaching-wise I primarily teach the assessment classes. So in the program you would have six units of assessment and we talk about career development assessment and career development counselling approaches. We talk about assessment from the point of view of vocational assessments where we look at how do you measure a client's abilities, their interests, their values? We talk about neuropsychological assessment. So if someone had a brain injury or some sort of neurological injury, how would you assess their functioning after the injury? We talk about psychological assessment, like mental health assessment, depression screening, anxiety screening. Just a whole variety of things to really give you a set of tools when you're working in the field. These are all things that you can draw from. I commonly teach the internship class, which you would take typically your last year or last semester in the program. And then my primary scholarly area is in cognitive disability. So we'll talk about the specializations a little bit later also, but I direct a specialization in cognitive disabilities, which focuses on brain injuries, learning disabilities, autism and intellectual disabilities. So a lot of students who come into my specialization have a particular interest. They may have background in those areas and they may have specific goals of really wanting to work in those areas in the future. So I would say we have a lot of graduates who come from that area that go to regional centers. DOR is pretty common, the VA is pretty common. What's called the DSPS office in the community college, which is they work with students with disabilities, providing academic accommodations. So a number of the people in my specialization will go on to that area. And then in terms of research, a lot of my research primarily focuses on looking at how families are impacted following a brain injury. So things like if you had a spouse, if you had a child, had a stroke or brain injury, how does the family mobilize around that? How do they provide care? How are they psychologically, emotionally impacted from that? And one of the areas I've been trying to look at more and more is the dropoff after acute care. So in the United States, especially in San Diego, if you have a brain injury, you have probably the best care almost in the world. It's really an ideal place to get treated for this kind of injury in a hospital setting. But when you get out of the hospital there's a huge dropoff where families really have to bear the brunt of that care without a lot of support. So really trying to identify some of the gaps in terms of that area. And then kind of a secondary focus is looking at professional issues in rehab counselling. So I've done some research on adjunct faculty and rehab counselling programs. And one of the things we'll talk about tonight is that adjunct faculty such as John Philips to my right, they play a major role in our program. And one of the advantages of adjunct faculty is they bring in working in the field day to day. What kind of things do they see? And they can bring that into the classroom. I've done research on international students. We've had a number of international students in our program.

 

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And looking at how can we really better facilitate their participation in programs and really utilize their background and skill and knowledge in terms of rehab counselling programs? And just a number of other issues like that. And actually one of the things, this is another distinctive element of our program, that we have a master's as the highest level of our program. We don't have a doctorate program, but I think probably an advantage to you guys is if you want to do research with faculty, if you want to write for journals, present at conferences, we all have done that. All the faculty have done that. We really welcome that. So if you have an interest in really looking at things from an academics point of view, you will have opportunities to do that within the program. And I mentioned the fact that we don't have a doctoral program. Because if we did have a doctoral program, we probably would be working with doctoral students. That's typically how it works out. But since we have master's students, we're going to work with you guys. And I think that's of value to us, because you bring your energy, your ideas to these projects that we work on. And you have the opportunity to really do this kind of work. So one of the things that some of our graduates will do is they go on to doctorate programs. So if you have an interest in that, this program can also prepare you for a variety of different doctoral options down the road. So at this point I want to shift our discussion to our current students and to our alumni. And if I could ask them, we'll start with the current students. And basically talk a bit about what -- when you think back to when you were in this position a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, thinking about going into this program, what questions did you have and what have you been able to get in this program to this point? What's been your experience in the program? And maybe also touch on what you hope to do after you graduate. And we have Serena, who Marge mentioned is the president of our student association. We also have a number of officers from our student association, the rehabilitation counselling student association, here tonight. And also some of our other current students. So Serena, if I could maybe have you start, talk about some of those questions and anything you might want to say about the RCSA as well.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

Is this second or third?

>> Third.

>> Third year, yeah.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Yeah, there's a lot of opportunities for students to get involved in proposing ideas to the university to try and get funded. It's kind of like an opportunity for new grants writing. It's a way for students to educate other people and benefit other people in making professional decisions. This is one of the ways that we're hoping to get a couple of people onboard to talk to various academic departments in the university about different aspects of traumatic brain injury, as well as professionals as well.

>> Last year you wrote a successful grant to get a speaker. Do you want to talk about that?

>> There was an opportunity last year the first time it came about. I took advantage and worked pretty diligently with Marge who was my advisor for that grant and what we did was we proposed an opportunity for a leading expert in child development to come out and speak about an innovative and cutting edge topic in rehab counselling, which is customized employment.

[ Inaudible ]

It was an opportunity to bring people all over the state out to come learn more about the topic. A lot of students were involved and a lot of alumni were involved. It was a really strong event. We're hoping the same thing happens this year with a traumatic brain injury event. There are so many opportunities for people to guide you along the way. But if you don't know how to go about it, who do I go to? The faculty are just amazing to be able to support people who don't have experience doing it. Hopefully that helps a little bit. I have a lot to say.

>> That's basically it I think. Everything that we talked about will be posted on the website.

>> Do you want to say a little bit about what you hope to do after you graduate?

 

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[ Inaudible ]

Great. We'll just go down the room.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Hi, everyone. I'm Nick. I'm a second year student and I'm also part of the RCSA. Thinking about before I got into this program, I was working in [inaudible].

>> Yeah.

>> I was also in the same position you were in, in post-secondary ed and trying to find a way to advance myself in this career and find out how to get to that counsellor role. What does it take to do that? And I found out rehab counselling is the way to go. And one of the colleagues that I was working with pointed me in the direction of this program. And after interviewing and everything I decided that this is the right program for me. It was basically the best decision of my career as far as advancing and providing opportunities to grow and learn about people with disabilities and also about various professions within this field. Since I've got here, I'm a new student in a new area. Not anymore, but I was. I quickly reached out to Chuck when he was sending out job opportunities. I got employed before I even got started in the program. There were a lot of opportunities out there. So it's really great to do that. I had never seen a program like that. I started working in post-secondary education again and Chuck brought another opportunity along to me through the department of rehabilitation, which I applied for and also got that position. I thought I was going to do post-secondary education. I was pretty fixed on that and being in this program has really opened my eyes to what else is out there. Getting to experience vocational aspects of rehabilitation has been an experience that's invaluable. And so what's next? There's a lot of avenues. I'll probably be going back to [inaudible] one day if all goes as planned eventually because of the steps I have taken to get there in various roles. Oh, and as far as RCSA, if you guys enjoy student life or involvement and want to continue to be involved in that when you get back into graduate school, this is an opportunity to do that. So we're really working on visiting membership right now. And we're trying to provide opportunities for learning through out-of-class workshops. So to increase your knowledge further, to get to network with other professionals. And we're trying to kind of make our name known on the SDA community campus. And any involvement that we can get [inaudible].

 

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>> Katie.

>> My name's Katie and I'm a first-year student. I'm also in RCSA. I guess Nick said a lot about what we do and how we got started and decided to get more people involved. But it's been a really good opportunity for me to be involved with RCSA to plug myself in and trying to get involved and not be a wallflower and not participating.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Do you have any plans of what you want to do after you graduate?

[ Inaudible ]

Okay, thank you guys. Thank you to all our students for talking about your experiences in the program. I want to shift to talk to our alumni and kind of hear the same thing except with a focus on, since you graduated from the program, what are you doing with this degree? How is it a part of your ability to pursue what you wanted to do in this job? You can also speak a bit about just your experiences in the program. I want to start with to my right, John Philips who I mentioned before is an adjunct faculty in our program. Obviously a graduate of our program. So, John, anything you want to say?

 

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>> Yeah, I graduated the program in 2003 with the assistive technology certificate with Dr. Caren Sax. I now co-teach one of those courses with her in the area of technology. It's a wonderful program. And the one thing I know it did for me at the time I graduated, what's really nice about the faculty is that these are not just academic leaders. These are faculty who have worked in the field, and so they bring this rich background of experience of having actually worked with the populations that they are experts in. So they can bring those details to their teaching and share with you stories about what they encountered. As Mark said, she worked in supportive employment, wrote papers on supportive employment, which I've read. So everyone who's faculty has worked in the field. So they don't just have the academic degrees. They have the experience. But one of the things it did for me, at the time I graduated in 2003 is it really helped me take on more leadership responsibilities. Because that's one of the things this program will help you do is become a leader. If you really invest yourself in the program and take the opportunity to learn from the faculty. Because I went from just kind of being a manager of vocational programs with one of the vocational agencies here in San Diego to being a director of a number of different vocational programs. We have programs in multiple cities around California. So at one point I had responsibility for all those vocational programs in San Diego, San Bernadino, San Jose, Oakland. So it really helped me become more knowledgeable in a broader sense about how to manager these programs, how to develop new ones. We developed a job placement program who are deaf/hard of hearing here in San Diego. So writing a program design, putting a budget together. These are all things you learn in this program. So it's not just about working with clients and as people have said, getting them back to a life that is just as rich as everybody else's, regardless of what the disability may be. It's also about, you have a grant writing class in this program. And one of the things I never expected actually to use was the grant writing piece. So in 2012 a colleague of mine and I at the regional center, we co-wrote a grant together, a proposal. We got the grant funded. It was a small one.

 

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It was only like $20,000 but we ran for two years and we created a partnership that still works to this day with the Sweetwater school district. And one of the partners, interestingly enough, is a master's program of rehab counselling. So Chuck's students in his assessment class have been meeting with students from the Sweetwater school district to do an assessment. Which helps kind of create a vocational picture for when they go out and find a job and work with an agency after graduating or after leaving school. Hopefully that helps get them into a job position they're looking for. So this program gives you so much more than just the basic skill package you need to be a good rehab counsellor. It can give you the leadership skills. It can give you a big-picture vision of moving up and not just being the counsellor, but being someone in charge of counsellors or being in charge of a program. Or as Nick had mentioned, a small grant opportunity. Write a grant and create an agency of your own. So it's a great program and it is like a family. We stay connected. Students I graduated with I still stay in touch with. Students that I have helped Caren teach in the APA class I still stay in touch with and communicate with and sometimes we're writing each other's letters of recommendation. So it's a community of people that once you graduate from this program you meet these people, they might move on to other states, but you're still in touch with them. And the one thing I usually tell people, when you have an opportunity to go apply for jobs and you put on your resume that you have a master's degree from San Diego State University, that actually carries a lot of weight, because it is in the top 10 in the United States for rehab programs. So when people see that on your resume, they take notice.

>> And Drew?

 

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>> Hi folks. How are you doing today? I'm going to go along with what John was saying and I'm going to give you a testimonial too. You know, this program is very useful. I did two internships. I did one with the VA. I did one with...

[ Inaudible ]

The manager up there, she told Milton she wanted to hire me right then. And I was still in the program. I graduated in May. History shows that if you apply yourself and these professors that work with you, you'll be so much prepared and you'll be so far ahead you'll do some great things out in the field.

[ Inaudible ]

They'll work with you and treat you like family so it will help ease you through the anxieties going through a master's program. Let me stand up to tell you about this one.

[ Inaudible ]

I got a chance to work with this young high school student. And I went through the form, went through the questionnaire. And as I was getting ready to leave I asked the young man one question before I walked out the door. I said, "What is something that I can do for you or something that you want to do, a capability? What would be number one on the list?" And the young man told me, "You know what? I want to be able to perform my responsibilities." That stuck with me. You know, I've been in the military 30 years. I've seen a lot of hard things. That hit me so much in my heart. I left to get in my car and go home and I got on the computer and started researching. I was going to find something. And sure enough connected with a young lady in North Carolina who works with the department of health and human services over in North Carolina who works with a big university to develop this thing called [inaudible]. To make a long story short, they were able to make and bring that technology, which was expensive, to that young man. It helped that young man, made a difference with him. But then it made a difference with me. So just like you said, you want to do something that gives back to touch somebody's life, this program is going to help you do that. But it's also going to touch your life too. And doing the papers, doing the research, you're going to have all opportunities. Like I said, these guys are marvelous.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

And last but not least I always talk about caring. And I'll make this quick. In the Navy, you have to notice people. You notice things. Like sometimes you might have people that...

[ Inaudible ]

>> That's great.

>> Hopefully I didn't go too long. It's a highly authentic program. I'm an old person. I tell you what, I love it and I'm going to be a wonderful counsellor out in the field. I'm prepared from all of this program, working with my man Nick.

>> You get a chance to take some classes with other students outside of you cohort too, depending on the specialization. It was really cool having Jerome in the class. That's one thing that Gina talked about a little bit, just being able to learn from each other. It's like, "Wow, everyone was totally different."

>> And I always want to come back. Even when I go out to the east coast here in a couple months, I'm always going to stay in touch.

>> We'll make you stay. Thanks, Jerome. At this point we want to go over some of the features of the program. We'll touch on some of the things we talked about before. And let's just kind of start with the on-campus program.

 

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So the program itself is typically three years. With the on-campus program you have a fair amount of flexibility in terms of how long it's going to take. But I think most students have the best experience when they do the program in three years. And that's going to mean around three classes, four classes a few semesters. One of the things I'm going to do before we leave tonight during the last half-hour of the presentation is when Mark and I go over all the requirements to apply to the program we're going to show you the website that has a suggested three-year sequence of going through the classes. And we always say three years because it gives you enough time to take part in some of the different things some of the students, some of us talked about tonight, like jobs that are available, RCSA activities, student association activities. Networking with your fellow students, taking part in research projects. And when you do three years you really make that possible. The other option that I think feasible as well is two and a half years. That's going to mean you're going to have a few more semesters in which you do four classes per semester. Now technically it's possible to do two years, but it's not worth it to your mental health one you get out of the program. It means you have to do five classes per semester. And when we have students do five classes per semester, if they can make it through, that's the first question. But they make it through, they're just going to be dancing through the classes just enough to pass them. But I don't think they're having the real kind of insightful, reflective kind of experience you want to have in a counselling program, master of rehab counselling program. So that two years really makes a difference. So again, two and a half, ideally three years to get through the program. The classes themselves are one day per week, Monday through Thursday.

 

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No classes on Friday. And the class is either going to be 4:00 PM to 6:40 or 7:00 PM to 9:40. And I think the benefit to you is that you can do your clinical training in the program. You're going to have a couple classes, three classes in which you're going to be doing clinical training as a rehab counsellor. But if you have a job that, especially if it's a job that's applied relevant to the work of rehab counselling, it gives you an opportunity to be able to do that. So like Katie mentioned CTC. We have a number of students who are in the CTC program, which is a program that provides opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities and autism to go to the community colleges and pursue their education. So again, the structure of the 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM classes makes that possible. We don't have classes in the summer, so all of the classes would be in the fall and spring semesters. In the fall semester it typically starts around the second, third week of August, goes to around the second week of December. The spring semester starts around the third week of January, goes to around the second week of May. And you know the thing about three years, like sitting here right now you're probably thinking that's a long time. But it really goes tremendously fast. I think Jerome can probably attest to that. I can't believe you were here talking to that one. Aren't you going to be in my class tomorrow? It goes very fast. I can envision meetings like this with people who have graduated and remember when they came to open houses and I can't believe that they're already done with the program. So it's fast for us, but it's even faster for you. So you really want to maximize those opportunities, those things you can do in the program. Make those three years, two and a half years, the best you can do for yourself and for your professional development.

>> Can I add something to that?

>> Absolutely.

>> One thing too, the internships and opportunities you're going to have here.

[ Inaudible ]

 

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So not only are you going to be learning the skills, you're marketing yourself. And like for VA, VOR, there are so many people from VOR. You've got all those regional centers. Whether you work here or work somewhere else in the country, you're really developing a good resume for yourself going forward.

>> Absolutely. Yeah. The specializations. First of all, one thing to keep in mind with the specializations, we talked about cognitive disabilities, psych rehab, supportive employment transition, rehab technology, the LPC option. These are all options. You do not have to do one of these when you come into the program. We have a lot of students who do what's called a general track, which is where they don't do a specialization. And you know, you would have the opportunity to also take classes on those specializations even if you're not in the specialization. And I have a number of students who are not in cognitive disabilities who take one of the two specialized classes we have in cognitive disabilities. So that's an option to you also. I think the main thing you want to really know is that if you do a specialization, it doesn't extend the time in the program. You still would have 60 units. I think one of the biggest differences, and Marge will talk about this when Marge talks about the LPCC's, you do take a number of different classes than the other students in the rehab counselling program would take. In terms of the time, it does not actually extend the time in the program. So I really want to reiterate that thing again about if you apply the program and you get accepted into this program you do not have to do specialization. I think the specializations are helpful when you know that you have a particular interest to go into one of those areas. And one of those things I tell students about the specializations also is that, back to this networking piece, in the specializations you're going to have people that are going to probably work in those areas. So the people Maya mentioned, the VA, DOR, DSPS offices, nonprofit agencies that work with people with cognitive disabilities. If you want to network and really get to know people in those areas, this is a good opportunity to really be able to do that. As John was mentioning, you may be in a position where you're hiring someone that you went to school with, or they're hiring you or you're making referrals to them. So doing that, the specialization can be helpful in that regard. And we all have some different requirements for the specializations. When you apply to the program, we'll talk about this later, you don't necessarily have to indicate right now that you have an interest in doing the specialization. You can decide that when you come into the program. Marge, can you say a little bit about the LPCC and kind of what it's all about?

 

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>> Sure. I'll come over here. I need to be able to look at everyone's faces. The LPCC is a concentration, which means it's a different track within the master's of rehabilitation counselling program. So you're not taking exactly the same classes. There are a number of what we call clinical classes or classes more focused specifically on mental health. And we end up taking classes in other departments too, which is kind of interesting. Son one of the ways that we're able to create this concentration leading to LPCC was to pool our resources, because it's expensive to offer those programs. Some of the things that you'd be taking in another program would be things like psychopharmacology, substance abuse, helping people who have gone through trauma learning the DSM. So those are the kind of courses that you would be taking. Then there are several courses within the regular program that you wouldn't take. So it's a different track and it's almost identical to everybody else. It turns out to be actually 63 units. When I put it together I could not figure out a way to get that last three units out of there because it turns out there's something called the SRC, the Suicide Rehabilitation Council credential. And in order to qualify for that you need to take certain classes. In order to qualify for LPCC you have to take certain classes and you need to overlap all of those to make sure that they all fit.

 

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So that was quite a feat. I always tell people the only reason that you really want to go for licensure is if you are dedicated to working with people with psychiatric disabilities and that was the only population you want to work with. Because you need a license in order to move up. You can get entry level positions in mental health. But in order to move up in those systems you need a license. You do not need a license to work at DOR. You do not need a license to work at the VA. You do not need a license to work in the community colleges or any of the not for profit agencies around. But in order to move up in the mental health system you do. Now one of the things about the LPCC that I think Serena alluded to is that you take the coursework gradually and then you start an internship after you graduate which is 3,000 hours. So you have to find a job where you have a supervisor who will provide supervision for you for that length of time. Then you get to take a couple of exams. Then you get your license. So it's really a long drawn-out process. And we don't want to discourage anyone, because if you want to go in that direction, it's the way to go. If your interests are more mixed, it's probably not the way to go. However, I will say that one of the things to keep in mind is that you can take the psychiatric rehabilitation track without taking the LPCC track. They're parallel tracks. So you can get the regular degree in rehabilitation counselling, the master's in rehabilitation counselling without the concentration taking the same courses as other people. The only different thing is you pick up a couple classes specifically in psychiatric rehabilitation. So I did make a handout because I think that my program is a little confusing. And if anyone is really interested in going one of these directions, I'd be glad to talk to you. So is there anyone who's specifically interested in mental health? One person? Yeah. Two people, okay. A couple people. Make sure I give you my card before you go.

 

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>> This probably ties into our next point. One of the last things we have in here before we get into the application process is we have RSA stipends. So the federal government provides money to rehab counselling programs across the United States, from the US Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration. They give money to programs like ours to give to students in the form of stipends, monthly stipends. And the stipends can be anywhere from $600, $700, $800. It kind of depends how many students are receiving the stipend. So the reason that they do that is the government has recognized that we need more master's-level rehab counsellors to work in the field. So the feeling is that if we provide financial support to students, they have more of an opportunity obviously to complete programs. So if you're accepted into the program, we would then tell you what the opportunities for the stipend might be. And it's hard to guarantee what that amount would be and if there would be an opportunity. I think this is a good chance. It really depends on how many people from this year would continue to receive a stipend. We have a number of people that would be graduating.

 

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And we all have one different stipend program. So I have one. Caren and Dr. Nan Hampton, who couldn't be here tonight, have another program. Marge has another area. We all have some differences in what we focus on. But the bottom line is that it's really helping support your participation in the program. Part of the stipends would be that if you agree to receive a stipend, there's something called the employment payback, which is for every semester of support, you then owe one year of employment payback where you basically agree to work either for the California Department of Rehabilitation or another state vocational rehabilitation agency. Every state in the US has their own state VR agency. They're all called something different, but we all have them in different states. Or you can work for an agency that in some way is affiliated with the state VR agency. And the reality is lot of the jobs, or most of the jobs in the field are going to qualify for that kind of requirement. The one area that probably would not qualify would be like if you did what's called private rehabilitation, which is something we talk about in the program. There's not a lot of opportunities in California because of the way that our laws are written in California. But basically it's where you might get paid by an insurance company is someone is injured in an accident and then you're paid as a rehabilitation counsellor to help kind of train that person perhaps to go back into that job with accommodations or maybe to think about a whole different career. So that's typically not affiliated with the state VR agency. So one of the things that will happen, and Mark and I will talk about this when you apply to the program, you have an interview. And this is one of the things we can get into deeper and talk to your further about so you have as much information on this as possible. So the bottom line is that there's a good chance there would be financial support for you within the program. And the last thing I wanted to make sure we talked about is international experiences.

 

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And Caren, you've done a lot in this area. If you could say a few words about that.

>> Sure. So as you know, rehabilitation is international. And the university also puts big emphasis on international experiences for students for everybody. Many of the undergrad programs are requiring international experiences for students. We recommend it. We don't require it. I think often people would like to have it, but it's difficult when you're working and trying to have a life here. It's difficult to take off for a semester, but we have set up some different opportunities for people. So we've done like a week-long or two weeks long opportunity for people to go to -- we took students to China and Hong Kong. The first one was Marge took students as part of a course and they went to Hong Kong for a conference and then they had the option to go to China. We did another trip where we took students and went and visited a bunch of rehab centers and assistive technology centers in both China and Hong Kong when Dr. Hampton was on a Fullbright scholarship over there. So I brought students over and we met up with her. A couple summers ago I took a group of students and we spent a week in the Netherlands and a week in Ireland going to different transition programs. We visited some programs for people with a variety of disabilities that we take a look at, how their operative service is over there. We also have people come here a lot. We have different groups of people that come. We just had our seventh group of colleagues from the Netherlands who were just here who come and meet students and set up site visits for them in the community. So it's really exciting. And then students can do individual internships. A lot of times it's based on those relationships. So last semester we had a lot of students who did an internship in Spain. Now another one just got one set up because of the connections that she made there. We have another student who is going to go next spring and do her internship in Spain. We're working with another student to get her set up with some of the folks from the Netherlands. We've had students do internships in Ireland, the Netherlands.

 

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>> Thailand.

>> Thailand. Mexico. So we've got connections. We know folks all over the world. And if we don't know somebody, then we know somebody who does know somebody. And so it can be an amazing, transformative experience to go someplace, whether you go for a short period or you go for a whole semester. There are some funds, graduate student travel funds that will give you up to $1,000 for travel. Every once in a while we're able to work out something to help out. But I think when you have the opportunity you'll never regret it. It's one of those things that's like, "I'm too busy, I'm too busy." And then after you're out of graduate school you say, "Why didn't I do that when I was in school?" And I think we could say that about a lot of the things in the program. We've heard from a lot of different people, different experiences, both from the instructor side and the student side. I really want to reemphasize what Chuck said about taking the time in the program. There's really only been -- I mean I can count on one hand how many people have done the program in two years, and two of them have come back and said, "I wish I wouldn't have done that." Not one person has ever come back and said, "That was the best idea that I've ever had." Because we discourage people from doing it. And literally there's maybe been four or five people, if that. And they all regret it because the way the program is set up, it builds. You know, you want to build on the knowledge that you have each semester.

 

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And taking three years is still going full-time. That's the thing. Taking nine units, or three courses in a semester, is full-time in graduate school. And of course most people are working. So taking three courses is a lot. And we have a lot of people who take three or four. And taking four is a whole lot, especially depending on the combination of the courses that particular semester. And you're just going to get so much more out of it because you do have a chance to build on the knowledge and to actually apply the knowledge. And one of the real benefits of the program is again, what many people alluded to: you do real work. You know, it's not a bunch of theoretical stuff. You're working with real people in real situations. Whether it's from an assessment approach or you're actually doing projects with people or you're interviewing people. I mean, you're doing the work and you're relating it to what you're doing now. If you're already working in the field, it gives you a new perspective. But also it gives you an opportunity to branch out again. We encourage people to take a step outside their comfort zone and try some different environments. Again, this is your opportunity to do that while you're in school. And sometimes it's a week. It's always hard to kind of balance that. We'll work with you on that. And again, whether you end up going into work in any of those places, at least you'll understand because you're going to be coordinating with people. That's why we like people to have at least some opportunity to work in the department of rehab. Because no matter where you go, you're going to have to coordinate efforts probably with the department of rehab at some level or another. It's so great to be able to have that knowledge of what the process is like and how people work and making those connections. The networking is essential. And you'll learn that about trying to help other people get jobs. It works for you too. So that networking is really, really critical.

 

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>> Can I say one thing, Caren?

>> Yes.

>> At the department of rehab they offer so many different categories.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Another thing, they also expose you to a bunch of other agencies that we're connected with as well. So if you're working with them you're still going to be affiliated really early on in your career, tapping into other agencies as well.

>> So did we overwhelm you or are you excited? Good answer.

>> Well at this point our student alumni, John, if you want to stick around we're basically going to go over how to apply, all that kind of stuff. So you guys are welcome to stay, but you don't have to.

 

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>> You can get my handout on the way out. I know nobody wants to walk up in front of the room and take it.

>> All right, so we're going to start with the website that I want you to get to know. The interwork institute website. So this website is probably the easiest way to do this. In the search engine just type in interwork institute. It's going to be the first thing that comes up. So this takes us to this building network for the institute. And it talks about all the things going on, all the different programs, all the different projects. So we have some things we talked about tonight that I think would be good for us to look at. We have one. We talked about the international opportunities in the rehab program. So if you go to training, click on that. Go to the bottom and the area for training webinars for rehabilitation counselling students and alumni. We've got a lot of them. You can find out information on different kinds of disability areas. Because we often have speakers who come in and talk about different things they've been working on. But the thing I want to alert you to is we have some presentations from students who have done international internships and international travel abroad opportunities. So here if you go to the one about the Netherlands and Ireland, the students talk about the things they were doing on that trip, different kinds of exposure that they had. We've got one for Hong Kong and Thailand. We have one for somebody did an internship in Ireland at a brain injury support program. So that's a good place if you have an interest in international types of placements, it's a good place to kind of find out about those things. So we go back to the website, or we're going to go back to the top here, home. Now let's go to [inaudible]. So this is where you're going to get specific information on the rehabilitation counselling program. So we're going to click on that. And the thing I would -- if you get a chance to look at everything on this website, one place you may want to start is to look at faculty and staff.

 

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This will talk about all the faculty, some of the ones who are here tonight, just to find out about their background and what they focus on, what they can provide you students in terms of mentoring or like the different areas of specialization. That's one area I would look at. Another area I would look at is schedules. We talked about typical students are going to be in the program for three years. This will tell you from semester to semester if you did do it in three years what that would look like. So if you click on on-campus, it's going to show you that in your first year your first semester you would take three classes. You're going to have a beginning class in foundations that Marge teaches. And that class really talks about the philosophy, the history of rehabilitation counselling. This is where Marge will talk about APA style, because that is primarily the formatting that we're going to use in all the classes for all the papers. Mark will teach a class on medical and psychological aspects of disability. And this actually is the only class we have off-campus. It's taught at Sharp Rehabilitation Services. And one of the value of that -- two classes actually. The benefit of that is Mark can bring in physicians and medical experts to talk about the different kinds of areas that you talk about in that class.

 

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And then we have a beginning classroom class where you learn about your beginning aspects of counselling. So you learn how to do an interview, how to ask questions. Just some of the basic elements of counselling. Part of that class is you're going to do role plays in class with each other to kind of get practice in doing that. Your second semester, you've got a class on multicultural dimensions in counselling. Another medical and psychological aspects of disability class. And then the theory of counselling class. Then we go to your second year and now you have community practicum. This is going to be your first class in which you are actually doing the work of a rehabilitation counsellor in the field. So you're supervised in your practice. You get to do real-life activities that a real counsellor would do. And part of that class is to further your skills in doing counselling. So one of the things you would do is you would come into a room like this and you would have to videotape yourself doing an actual conversation with the client and show it in class. And then the instructor and all the other students would be able to see that session and give you feedback. And things like do you ask too many questions or do you have mannerisms that are distracting to the client? All these things that you see that you really can't see unless you videotape the session. You also have a class, Mark's class that he talked about, the research class that people are a little bit afraid of. But it's not too bad. Group dynamics, how to do group counselling. Then we have a class in assistive technology that Caren teaches. And your fourth semester you have an assessment class with me. That's where we have things like neuropsychological assessment, vocational assessment, psychological assessment. You have a practicum. This is somewhat optional. This is like where if you're in a specialization, this is typically where you would take that. But in the disabilities area we have an advanced practicum class and types of disabilities. And then 755 would be disability systems where you learn about how the major systems in disability work together, like the VA system, the Social Security administration, the Department of Rehab, all these major components of working as a rehab counsellor.

 

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How do they interface? How do they work together? And then you're final year you're going to have job placement. This is where Marge talked about you get used to working with employers, how to talk to employers, how to prepare your clients for the job search process and job placement process. You have a class in organizational development, which is where you work with a team of students. You basically go into a real-life business, a real-life agency and you help analyze how they work together. Or maybe they don't work so effectively together. And you do an analysis of that and you write a report. You provide recommendations to that business or agency. But then you take career development, which is the second class you would take from me. This is where we talk about career development theories, career counselling approaches, different assessment approaches specifically in career development. And your final semester you take program development, which is where you learn about grant writing. You actually write a real grant. It could be a real grant or it could be an [inaudible]. But you basically learn the ins and outs of writing grants, which is very helpful when you apply for jobs, especially if you work at a nonprofit agency where they have to rely on grant writing to survive basically. And then you take an elective. Again, if you're in a specialization you would take the elective in the specialization area. And then you take internship, which is where you put everything together. At that point you're working pretty independently as a rehabilitation counsellor. You have more advanced kinds of activities than you would have when you take intermediate practicum your second year.

 

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And then you finish the program. So that three years goes very quickly. And what happens, we put on here suggestions because in the on-campus program you have some flexibility. You don't necessarily have to take it exactly in the sequence. When you come into the program, your assigned faculty advisor, someone like Mark or myself, and we would basically sit down with you every semester and plan out what your sequence of courses will be that really fits your interests, your schedule and your needs at that particular point. So you could take some of these classes out of sequence. But I think ideally it really fits within this particular set of classes. All right, let's go to prospective students. And we're going to go to admissions procedure for the on-campus and distance program. So when you apply to the program -- does everyone have the recruitment letter? It's going to have a couple website links to some of the things you need to know for the application into the program. So essentially you have two applications. You've got one to SDSU which is called CSU mentor. The second one is to the program, directly to our program, which is called the apply now application. So CSU mentor, you have to pay a $55 application fee. And you have to enter your information to this application by March 1st of 2016. And I always stress to applicants, you have to meet that deadline because it won't give us any extensions on that. So it's got to be done by March 1st. So that's just to get the application. Now you have until April 1st to submit any kind of transcripts you have from any undergraduate, community college, any other graduate program you might have been in. All that has to be electronically submitted. You could have official paper copies of the transcript as well. It has to be received by April 1st. Again, that's a really firm deadline. They don't give us any kind of leeway on that. The second thing that has to be reported to CSU by April 1st is the graduate record examination scores. And has anybody heard of that test before? So tell me what you think? What comes to mind when you hear GRE?

 

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>> Anxiety.

>> Yeah. For most people it is kind of an anxiety creating exercise. Now Mark and I don't want to sound like it's not important. We do look at the GRE scores, but it's not to the same level of importance where some programs would say, "You have to have a minimum score before we even will consider you to apply to the program." It's not like that. We look at it, but we don't really find that to be the most important type of factor in our applicants. We're going to look at things like your reasons for wanting to be in this profession, your personality, your attitude about people with disabilities, your future goals. You're going to have a faculty interview with either Mark or myself or one of the faculty members. We sit down with you for an hour, hour and a half. We have a lot of questions to really find out about who you are as a person, why is it that you want to be in this profession, in this program. What do you want to do down the road in the future? That's a very important part of the process, much more so than the GRE. But the GRE is something that you have to have. And I wouldn't put it off too long. And I wouldn't recommend necessarily that you take like a Kaplan course or that you spend months studying for it. I think take it, do the best you can. But it's not the most important part of the application. It typically takes two or three weeks for the scores to get back to you. So as we're getting closer to April 1st, 2016 you don't want to wait too long. I would take it like now or take it in the next month or so to make sure that you get that out of the way and you can focus on other parts of the application. So that's CSU mentor. Now the other thing you're going to do is you're going to apply to something called apply now. If you click on this part of the website, it's going to take you to this thing called a supplementary program application.

 

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And everything we talked about tonight, if you have any questions along the way, my email and my phone contact information is on the letter. Contact me at any time. I don't expect you to have all this nailed down tonight. But just making some broad strokes in your mind about the things that you need to do. That's really what we want. So when we get to this application, this one is due April 1st, 2016. And this is totally separate from the CSU mentor application. So when you do this, you're going to upload everything electronically. In the old days, Mark and I would have to deal with paper and letters and all that stuff coming in and all that stuff. None of that at all right now. I think it's easier on you, it's easier on us also. So you upload a statement of purpose. You talk about your reasons for wanting to be rehabilitation counsellor. You talk about what's drawn you to this field. You talk about what you want to do in the future. And every statement is different. There's no correct way to do this, other than I would say don't have any typos or grammatical mistakes. Make sure it's written well. But in terms of the content it's very individual to who you are and what your reasons are. And some students will talk about family members who have had disability or their own disabilities. Or some work experience that they've had. Something that has really drawn them to this field. But it really gives us like a picture about who you are and what draws you to this. And we ask you about this during the interview. So you really want to carefully think about this. Like back to the GRE, I would put a lot more time into this than the GRE. I think this is going to be more important to your application. You're also going to have a resume uploaded to the system. And then the third thing is you put in the contact information, the name and the email address for three letter writers. And they're going to upload a letter on your behalf. So you are never going to ask them for a letter physically. They're going to electronically submit it to us.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

Just ignore that. I'm glad you asked that. CSU mentor asks for a statement of purpose and for letters and all that. Just totally ignore that. All you need for CSU mentor are transcripts and the GRE scores. So when you get to this, that's when you're going to worry about that. And the letter writers, I would say have at least one professor who could talk about your ability for graduate school. You know, if you don't, maybe if you've been out of school for a while, if you don't have that kind of letter, you don't have to have it. But it's helpful in some ways just to give us a sense of again your ability, your potential for graduate study. And then I think you also want to have people that have supervised you, especially if it's related to something in the field. Like if you've done some sort of volunteer work or if you've had a direct kind of job, like if you've helped somebody in a group home or a residential living situation or some kind of agency where you do some kind of human relate work. I think that's very helpful. And I've said supervisor because you really want somebody who can talk about you from that point of view. It's less helpful for us to get like a coworker to write a letter, because they're probably going to say nice things. Not to say your supervisor wouldn't, but it's just helpful to get that perspective in terms of those letters. You definitely don't want a family member. We do have sometimes a parent that will write a letter. But we can't really weigh that that heavily because we assume they're going to obviously say nice things about you.

 

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[ Inaudible ]

Yeah. And the letter writers too. If you're not really sure who to ask or if let's say you're concerned because you don't have a professor that you can identify for this, contact me and we can talk about the different options. So we definitely can help you through that part of it. And the letter writers, like everything, start that process now. Don't wait until March to do that. You want to give your letter writers enough time to really think about what they want to say and not feel rushed in writing the letters. And the letters are something we really carefully look at. So a strong letter can make a big difference in terms of your application. And then in terms of the GPA, SDSU has a requirement that in your last 60 units of any kind of post-secondary education that you've had that your GPA has to be 2.85 or above. And if not, we do have a possibility to admit people on what's called conditions, which is where we would say like in your first 15 units, typically your first year in the program, you'd have to maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the program. And basically that's like the basic requirement for graduate school anyways. So that's something we would make as a requirement. And then we have to give a reason. We have to talk about -- sometimes students will say they had a personal crisis they were dealing with the time of school. They have some kind of issue that really caused them to not have as high of a GPA as they would have liked. So we have to give a compelling reason when we admit people conditionally. And then the last thing is we talked about these deadlines. I would really encourage you to apply sooner rather than later. So we take 25 students. When we get to 25 people we really thing we're good for the program. We may say that that's it or we may put you on a waitlist if we admit you and we have 25 people already. And basically, when you have all your materials in and we interview you, if we feel like you're a good fit, we can admit you at that point. We don't wait until like May or anything until we admit you. We can admit you in January or February. As soon as you have those materials in, we initiate that process. So we'll be doing interviews for probably January all the way through May. Yes?

>> When does the admission process open?

 

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>> It's open now. It opened on October 1st. So you guys could all go on your computers tonight and start the process if you want.

>> Does it matter which prat comes first?

>> No. But I probably would start in CSU mentor first. Just get that out of the way. Yeah?

>> Did you say you have quite a large number of applicants applying for this?

>> It varies from year to year. It can be anywhere from like 30 to 45 or 50. So it's not like some programs where they're going to 400, 500, 600 applications for 30 or 40 spots. It's going to be less because a lot of that is because a lot of people don't really know about this field. But even with lower numbers, we're going to carefully look at each person. Sometimes if we have a lower admission year we just haven't found 25 people that we really feel fit the feel for this particular program. So typically I would say anywhere from 30-50. Yeah.

>> Okay.

>> Any other questions that kind of come to mind right now? Yeah?

>> In the letters of rec, does it matter how long you've known the person?

>> No. As long as they can give you an informed perspective. It's hard to say how long that would be, but I would just try to find somebody who really can speak in a very informed way about who you are. Yeah?

>> When you were talking about the length of the coursework and how it can take two or three years. Are there ever any times where it can take longer than that? Like someone takes only one or two courses a year?

 

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>> You could do that. You could take up to seven years to complete the program. We've had students do that, yeah. Yeah?

>> Are you able to take classes on campus and then virtual classes simultaneously?

>> No. Unfortunately the distance and on-campus are totally separate. So it would all be on campus then. Any reactions to everything you've heard tonight? I'm sure you have a lot of stuff swimming around in your heads right now, probably just a lot of information. Yeah?

>> One question I never heard anybody answer is how much does it cost to go to school? What's the regular tuition?

>> For in-state, I've got to double check this, but I believe it's around $4,100-4,200 per semester for in-state. And then for out of state it's an additional I believe $327-367 per unit for out of state. So definitely it's a big difference for in-state versus out of state. And you can apply for financial aid also. We have a lot of our students who are receiving financial aid on top of stipends if they're receiving a stipend for the program. And so one of the people who wasn't here tonight, her name is Leesa Brockman, L-e-e-s-a. And she's somebody you'll get to know once you apply to the program. Her position is called an academic coordinator. And so she oversees the stipend programs, but also the financial aid. She's really an expert on the financial aid process. And she can tell you how to apply, all of the rules that go with it, how it all works. She knows the financial aid people at SDSU very well. So whenever I have a student who asks me a financial aid question, I just say go talk to Leesa. She'll be able to answer the question. Yeah?

>> When is an appropriate time to contact Leesa before needing all the stuff?

 

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>> I'd contact her on Monday. Anytime.

>> I have a bachelor's to complete first, so it will probably be about this time next year.

>> Well it's like we were talking on the phone. If you feel it's possible to complete the bachelor's before August, we have had people that have done that. Who have graduated in August and have been able to enter the program.

>> So if I was to take classes --

>> As long as you had your degree before you started classes. Yeah.

>> Thank you.

>> Sure.

>> Is financial aid based on your income level?

>> Nope. It's totally not based on your personal income at all.

>> Do you need to be full-time?

>> Yeah, the way we run it is if you're full-time, which is three classes. At least three classes for graduate study.

>> There is some interaction between stipend and financial aid, right?

 

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>> Yeah.

>> That's a good Leesa question because I'm not sure.

>> A good Leesa question, yeah.

>> Because there's like a maximum amount. So if you're getting the maximum amount and then you find out you're getting the stipend, it will reduce your financial aid. But I'm not sure of the exact mechanisms on that.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Let me get that right now. So if you guys go back to the interwork website and go to faculty and staff, Leesa's website will be right here. So Leesa's number is 619-594-6406. And her email address is just lbrockman.

>> Leesa's is @interwork, right?

>> Yeah. @interwork.SDSU.EDU.

>> Yeah, if you go back to this website tonight, it should work on your computer. If you click on it, it will have the information. Mark had her email and her phone number. If you happen to come on-campus, we're located on campus. We're in the education and administration building. Leesa gets there typically 10:00 AM every day. And then she typically stays to 6:00 PM. And it's fine just to drop in for a visit and just introduce yourself and if you have a few questions. Typically Leesa will be able to meet with you. If not, she may ask you to come back. But typically she'll be able to meet with you.

 

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>> She is taking a couple classes right now, right?

>> Yes, that's a good point. So you may want to schedule a time before you come over. Yes?

[ Inaudible ]

The way we do it is we give a lot of discretion to the individual faculty members. So when they interview a prospective student, if they recommend admission, that's pretty much what it comes down to. Sometimes we may interview a student a second time if we feel we need to get more information. Then it may come to me or to another faculty member. And because our faculty size is so small, we talk about applicants quite a bit as well. So it's kind of like an informal committee in a sense of all the faculty members. It essentially comes down to the faculty member doing the interview.

>> And then can one of the faculty members write a letter of recommendation?

>> Probably not in that case.

>> Is there an attempt to, you might not even know at first, but to get an even number of students in terms of what specialty?

>> Not really, nope. It's just really the 25 who are a good fit for this profession. Yeah. And that plays out differently every year. Some years we get more people to go into the psych rehab area. Some years we've gotten a lot of cognitive disabilities specialization students. Some years we've had a lot of students on the general track. So it really varies.

>> A lot of folks don't necessarily know what they want to pursue when they're coming in. Some folks know and they're very committed and they'll be on that track. Others take a semester or to to really figure out, "I'm really passionate about this population or that population." [Inaudible]. So they kind of make their minds up during the first year. That's fairly common.

 

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>> Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah?

>> If we are undergrad currently, can we transfer?

>> No, it will all be automatic.

>> Even if there's other colleges?

>> You have to get the other one.

>> Because I did community college and then I got my undergrad.

>> So they have it then. You shouldn't have to submit anything then.

>> Do you want other colleges [inaudible]?

>> Everyone, yeah.

[ Inaudible ]

>> Is there a seven-year cap on the college that you have the credit? Is that a rule as well? I don't know why I'm asking that. Never mind. Never mind.

>> Normally it's like you get into the program -- correct me if I'm wrong, Chuck. You get into the program and you start taking classes and maybe you decide you want to take more classes per semester or something like that. After seven years, the classes you took seven years ago won't count toward the degree anymore. So you are in a position where you would need to retake those classes.

>> You know, one of the nice things about the program is you do have a lot of flexibility. So we've had students who have had children, who have had personal illness or family members had an illness and they need to take a semester off or they need to take like one class. So you definitely could do that and then pick up to full-time later on. We've had a lot of students kind of change their course of study that way.

 

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>> I have a question. Is that for on-campus?

>> On-campus, yeah.

>> Every now and then there's a class down here.

>> Yeah, every so often.

>> But most of them are on campus, and then there's the classes over at Sharp.

>> Where is Sharp?

>> Sharp is maybe six, seven miles from here.

[ Inaudible ]

>> We're going to have another open house January 22nd. So you definitely are welcome to come to that if you like. And if you want to visit a class, if you want to meet individually with any of us, if you want to talk to alumni individual, just let me know. We can arrange anything like that. So we try to be very supportive in the application process as well as throughout your entire time in the program. So just call on us anytime. All right. Thank you guys.

>> Did I miss any other paperwork other than what you gave me?

>> Did you get this? This is just the agenda we had for tonight.

 

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