SBU MSED in Counseling: The Residency Experience

SBU MSED in Counseling: The Residency Experience

Program Director Dr. Christopher Siuta shared program information about the online graduate programs in education counseling, as well as the two residencies that are part of the curriculum. Current students in the School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs joined the webinar for a panel discussion about their residency experience and to answer Q&A from the audience.

TRANSCRIPTION

Katie Macaluso: Hello everyone and welcome. Thank you for joining us for today's webinar for the online Master of Science and Education Counseling Programs at St. Bonaventure University. Today, we'll be focusing on the residency experience and we're thrilled to have several students with us today to share their own experiences. Before we get started, I'd like to cover just a few housekeeping items. You are in broadcast-only mode, which means you can hear us, but we can't hear you. So, during the webinar, please feel free to type your questions into the Q&A box at the bottom of your screen. We've reserved some time at the close of the presentation to answer your questions.

Alright, so on our next slide, here's our look at our presenters for today. My name is Katie Macaluso, and I will be your moderator. I'm joined by Kristen Lafevor, our senior admissions counselor for the counseling program, who many of you may have already spoken with.

Today we have our featured speakers, Dr. Christopher Siuta, who is the director of the counseling programs; Lisa Bruce, a student in the school counseling program; and Justin Towers, a student in the clinical mental health counseling program. On our next slide is a quick look at our agenda for today. We'll start with a quick discussion about St. Bonaventure and a review of the online graduate counseling programs, then we'll discuss the residency experience and move into a panel discussion with our student panelists. And then finally, we'll wrap up with some information about admissions and reserve some time for any questions that you might have. So, without further ado, I'm going to turn it over to you, Dr. Siuta.

Christopher Siuta: Thank you very much, Katie. Thank you to everyone who joined us today. Hopefully, this information session is helpful to all of you and we look forward to working with you in the future. A couple of fast facts about St. Bonaventure. We were founded in 1858, and we're a private, non-profit Catholic Franciscan University. In particular, our counseling programs on campus have been around for 45 years. So, although our online program is only going into its second year, we've been around for quite some time and we do hear that many students come to us based on that history at St. Bonaventure. We definitely key in on personalized attention with all of our students, whether that's through advisement, whether that's through clinical supervision. We do offer quite a bit of that care along the way. And that's through your individual advisor, that could be your clinical supervisor within your practicum or internships, that could also be your student success coach, that you work with at St. Bonaventure.

A couple of rankings that we're very, very happy about: We were ranked number one in New York State, and number two in the North for Best Regional University Values by the 2019 US News and World Report. That gave us a lot of notoriety over the past year or two, and we're very, very proud of that. We are accredited by CACREP, that is our governing body across the country that helps support not only school and mental health counseling, but many other counseling specialties in the area. We are currently in the writing of our interim report, where we should have our full accreditation to 2024 thereafter.

Moving into school counseling, our graduates work in many different school districts across not only New York state, but throughout the country. Elementary, middle, and high school settings are generally the target in public settings, but many students end up in private schools, and again that could be elementary, middle, or high school settings. We really do pride ourselves on blending theory and practice together. We are definitely a practitioner-based university. All of the individuals on our faculty are practitioners, whether that be mental health counseling or school. I myself am certified in school counseling and licensed as a mental health counselor. So, we do try to do our best to not only teach the theory, but apply it in practice, with individuals.

We're very proud of our completion rate of 95%, not only for finishing the program, but then becoming certified down the line within their state of choice. One other key to this program is that we moved to 60 credit hours just recently this past fall. It moved from 48 credits up to 60, and that now puts us in line with where CACREP and our New York state registration would like us to be. They were asking all programs across the country, specifically New York state to be at 60 credit hours and we are definitely above the curve with that. And we're very happy that that is intact for all of our students. So, you do not have to come back for an Advanced Certificate for that program as you'll finish your 60 credits straight through. And here's a couple of examples of the courses that you'd take within the specialty area of school counseling.

Mental health counseling. At one point, up to about three years ago, we were a community mental health counseling program and we moved it to clinical mental health counseling, which is in line with the accreditation standard with CACREP. Our graduates work in diverse settings. Generally, though, they do work in clinics, hospitals, or agency settings within their cities of choice. After they finish the program with us, there's usually a year-and-a-half to a two-year experience on site to get your full licensure. And again, we look to blend theory and practice, and our completion rate is just a bit different in mental health counseling, where it's 95% for completion rate and 98 for the certification/licensure rate. And just like the school counseling program, we are at 60 credit hours. And, again, for the online program that's a three-year program for both school and mental health. And, again, underneath some of those specialty courses are amplified so you can see what you'd be taking.

In regard to the residency experience we just went through our first residency on campus this past June. It was an incredible experience, we had 43 students, both mental health and school counseling, come to campus to engage in a combination of workshops, presentations, and experiential activity. We did our best to blend what they're learning in the classroom to practice, where students were able to practice together, in small groups, the clinical skills that they learned. And those residencies included guest speakers from mental health and school. They were hand-chosen by myself and a couple of the other faculty members to join us for this experience. There are two residencies required for our program, one is at the end of the first year, and the other is at the end of the second year, and both of those are in June at the end of those years.

And now we're on to our panelists. Again, we're very, very happy to have Lisa Bruce and Justin Towers with us. And what I'm going to ask is that each of them will introduce themselves a little bit, and then share why did you choose to earn your master’s degree online from St. Bonaventure? Why don't we start with Lisa?

Lisa Bruce: Hi everyone, I'm Lisa. I have lived in Seattle for about the last 12 years, and I was looking for a program that would certify me in New York state because I did my undergraduate degree in New York City. I had a degree in history with a minor in education and I got into the education field. And for the past decade or so I've been involved in higher education at University of Washington in Seattle. But I was looking to return to the New York City area and I was looking at New York state schools with the goal of getting certified for school counseling in New York, New York State. But I wanted a program that would allow as much flexibility as possible, both to allow me to work but also to allow me to travel. I'm trying to learn Spanish in Mexico and I wanted to be able to pursue a life outside of school and work and travel and at the same time work toward my degree. So, I chose St. Bonaventure partly because I wanted a flexible online program and partly because I wanted a program that would certify me for New York.

I also looked at the affordability of the program, but one thing I really liked about this program and why I chose it is that it's tied to a traditional university. So, it's not just part of some huge conglomerate online school where they don't always care about their students. This program is part of a real brick-and-mortar and very respected institution, and that's something that was important to me. So that's my story and why I chose to get my master's from St. Bonaventure.

Christopher Siuta: Thank you Lisa and now on to Justin.

Justin Towers: Hello, everyone. So, to make a long story short, I was living in Massachusetts. I followed some friends out to New York to a rural area in New York and was working in a program, running after school programs and had done some case work before that, and I realized that there was a pattern forming as I was working with children, that trauma was endemic. And I really wanted to get more specialized in that. As the funding for that program phased out, I transitioned into another case worker position. And doing that transition, I was like, "Yeah, it's probably time to go back to school. I've hit the ceiling on the work I can do, and I really want to specialize and work directly with youth in a more profound way. So, let's look around for some master's degree programs or even doctorate programs." So, I looked around. There were a couple of things that I wanted to find.

Specifically, I wanted them to be affordable, I wanted them to be able to be done in conjunction with working full-time. And when I found the St. Bonaventure program, I noticed that it was continuous, but it was one class at a time. It was paced really well and ideally, there was also the campus was nearby. And that was something that was important to me as well. Going through the process of applying was really comfortable. I really enjoyed working with the staff to get my paperwork in. I enjoyed talking to Dr. Siuta. It just had a good feel. So, I really knew that that was the program that I wanted to stick with.

Christopher Siuta: Okay, thank you very much. Now on for our next slide. And again, we'll start with Lisa for this next question. If you could just share a little bit about the residency experience from this past June, and what you believe future students should expect when they arrive.

Lisa Bruce: Sure. I had never been to St. Bonaventure. I had actually never been to that part of New York. So, it was all really new to me, and unfamiliar. And so, I was a little nervous. I experienced a little bit of trepidation going into it just because I knew it would be an intense couple of days with a lot of people I didn't know, and in an area that I wasn't familiar with. So, I had some anxiety around that, and it turned out to be absolutely fine. I think my favorite thing about the whole experience was that you finally put faces to names with all the people that you've been interacting with online, your professors and your classmates. And it was wonderful to have in-person conversations with them and there was a lot of class time spent with our colleagues and peers. But also, there were social events and it was just a great opportunity to find out what every... Everyone had really interesting stories. We're sort of an alternative group of students, and so everyone had a really cool life story and the reason for why they were making a career change or going on to get an advanced degree. So, I guess my favorite part was just getting to know the other people and finding out, "Hey, I'm not alone in this journey of trying to change my life around or switch careers or just shake things up a little bit."

It was very reassuring, a reassuring weekend for me. And at the same time, you accomplished a lot of useful tasks in terms of getting some workshops done that are required for licensure, and then talking with people who are already certified as mental health counselors or school counselors. So, the in-person interaction was really valuable, and it really didn't take that much time away from my everyday life. It was just a weekend. So overall, I thought it was a very positive experience.

Christopher Siuta: Very good Lisa, thank you. And now on to Justin.

Justin Towers: Alright. So, Lisa really touched on the big, salient point, and that's reassurance. When you're in online program you're talking to a lot of people. You're talking to your professors, you're emailing, there's lot of text. There's some live classes, you're seeing people's faces in little boxes. And none of that fully connects you with the people that you're doing this work with. And going to the residency, that was the profound takeaway for me was, I belong here. I'm with peers who want to talk about this stuff. They're really interested in the field. Some are eager people who have never worked, never been in the field, don't have any experience, are eager to get started. And other people that are veterans that have been doing it for a long time, they just want a more documentation, more... A higher degree so they can go farther with it. And it was a really cool experience. It was great to spend time with your professors as well. They were all really warm and personable, which was nice. They sat with us, they talked to us and then also the workshops where, I thought looking at them a lot, of them are going to be reviewed, that this is stuff that I've covered before, I've been to workshops like this. And that wasn't the case, there really was a lot of practical material to take away from them as well.

Christopher Siuta: Wonderful. And I guess, I'll ask a quick question for both of you. There was some nervous energy going into the first day when you showed up that first morning, would you agree that by the end of that first day, it was more excitement than nervousness or anxiety?

Lisa Bruce: Oh yeah, for sure.

Christopher Siuta: Sure.

Lisa Bruce: Yeah, I think for me it started off again, like not knowing anybody, not really knowing what to expect, but by the end of the day, I felt like I had friends, some of us organized to go out to dinner, to a restaurant. I felt like I had connections with people, and by the end of the first day I was looking forward to the next day.

Justin Towers: Yeah, I'll agree with that. I think by the end of the day we felt much more comfortable. I was surprised at how much we knew about each other, just from reading each other's posts and chatting with each other online. I had a couple of people come up and shake my hand and hug me right off the bat and they were like, "Oh, it's Justin," [chuckle] I was like, you know "But I've only seen your face in this little box" and it was cool. It really felt like again, going back to that reassurance that this is where we're supposed to be, it really cemented that.

Christopher Siuta: Yeah, I really wanted to ask that, because I felt as program director, not knowing how this residency experience would play itself out, and how the relationships would form. I was just in awe of how connected all of you were. And in many ways, I almost felt like there was more of a connection with your cohorts compared to what we even have on campus. And I believe a lot of that is because there is such a strong dialogue throughout each week of your courses that you do get to know each other, and you know each other on a much different level compared to even what the campus students experience. So, I appreciate that response. So, we'll start with Lisa again. What would you say you found most impactful about your residency experience and any takeaways that you'd like the audience to hear about?

Lisa Bruce: I think besides actually getting to know people on a more personal level. My favorite part of the residency was, when we did almost like a practice counseling session in much smaller groups. So, some of the activities we did were in large groups and were more like lectures and workshops. And those definitely conveyed a lot of critical information. But I think the part that stuck with me the most was, one session where we were in much smaller groups and paired with a professor and we actually got to practice our counseling skills, which at first, obviously, was a little bit awkward, because you're practicing on your peers, but at the same time it was really helpful and almost kinda fun to get to actually interact. Because so much of what you do in any academic program is just that, it's academic, you're writing papers, you're writing discussion posts, you're having very academic conversations. But in this case, in the residency, we got to pretend to be counselors and practice our acting skills a little bit. And that was the part that stuck with me the most.

Christopher Siuta: Great, and how about you Justin?

Justin Towers: I'd agree. I would say that the practical experience. So, I was with Dr. Siuta for my breakaway piece that Lisa is talking about. And doing that practical work, getting feedback, and then actually observing one of your professors doing the work and showcasing some of the skills that we talk about or read about really was... Was my greatest takeaway, aside from feeling the connections with my peers and feeling like I belonged in the program, that was probably the most practical. I think if I hadn't been experienced previously, and had some of the information from the workshops, some of the workshops really stood out as really practical. I think of some that actually talked about really specific things that you'll need to do in the field regardless of what you're doing specifically. And those really would've stuck out for me if they hadn't been reviewed, that was cool.

Christopher Siuta: Excellent. Yeah, and the workshops and presentations that both of you were involved in, got very, very high grades in the evaluations, but one thing we did hear about in regard to our evaluations are "We love the clinical experience. Let's do more of that next time". So, for when you come back for residency two, yeah, you can be safe for sure that we're probably going to add to what you had in your residency one. We're adding more clinical practice to the residency. Okay, moving on. Lisa, what has been your favorite course in your program so far and why?

Lisa Bruce: So, I actually really enjoyed the course that was paired along with the residency. So, we started working on the course a little bit before the residency and it was about sort of solution-based counseling and it was something that was new to me. Some of the other courses had been a little bit of review because I did take a lot of psychology in my undergrad, but this was a style of counseling that was new to me, and it was more about moving forward with the problem rather than rehashing the past, and I liked it so much. I started using it on my family members and friends and resolving family conflicts. It was just sort of an eye-opening way of looking at problem solving for me. So, I would say that course was my favorite not just because it'll help me as a future school counselor, but I found it was very helpful in my day-to-day interactions with people that I was trying to either help or come to some kind of agreement with or mediate between family members. So, I just thought that was extremely applicable to not just my work but my everyday life.

Christopher Siuta: Great. Thank you, Lisa. And Justin.

Justin Towers: Oh, that's a really tough question. It really depends on how I slice it. So, I'm probably going to give two answers. For general experience with the classroom, I would say research methods was my favorite. [chuckle] I'm probably a minority who would say that just because I'm kind of a research nerd and the class was led by, I believe, Adam Holden, who I think was in Panama at the time, who was juggling research and doing the class. But was extremely attentive, really made research exciting. [chuckle] Which is difficult to do sometimes, and I felt like every part of the class built up practical skills for doing research and utilizing research in your work in a way that was profound, that I haven't seen before. And I've taken a lot of research courses in the past. So that really stood out.

As for practical learning and use, I would say group counseling was probably the one that stood out for me. There was a lot more practical stuff we did. We'd led a group and then got feedback on it via Zoom. And I felt that was really helpful because that's something that I don't have a lot of experience doing, and the way that class was set up was really strong because that's something that you can do in almost any level of mental health. And you can be a case worker and do groups, so I felt like that was something that was really cool and useful, and I took a lot away from that class.

Christopher Siuta: And would you say, Justin, that that was also a strong course for you because of the amount of synchronous meetings that you had with not only your professor, but your cohorts? You had quite a great deal of time together when you ran those experiential groups. Was that a piece of that?

Justin Towers: Absolutely. So, we had weekly Zoom meetings, which for those of you who are unfamiliar, it's essentially Skype. That was awesome. That really anchors the course. It makes you feel like you're in a class, discussion, posts and things like that are kind of indirect way to stay in touch. But the Zoom... Seeing the people, talking with them in real time, hearing the professor give feedback in real time was perfect. That was really helpful.

Christopher Siuta: Okay, thank you very much, Justin. Thank you, guys. So just moving on to the overall online experience. Again, what I said previously in regard to the interactions on a weekly basis with not only your professor, but your cohort is extremely strong, and that virtual learning environment allows you to do that at your own pace, on your own time. There are deadlines, midweek and at the end of the week typically but generally, it allows you to facilitate your own learning, again, at your own pace. And again, we're looking to apply that content as consistently as possible where you're using skills in your clinical area of practice, whether it's school or mental health. And with this online experience, we really do try to give you personalized attention, one-on-one, where you're getting consistent communication, not only with your student success advisor or coach, but your faculty advisor on campus, and then the faculty member that is teaching the course in that moment. We do pride ourselves on that, and as program director, I am constantly getting into the courses to make sure that the communication is direct, not too much time is passing. And I think we try to get back to students within a 24-hour period if there's a question or if there's a discussion board. So, we do try to be attentive to those types of needs.

And now we're on to Kristen with the application process.

Kristen Lafevor: Hello everyone, I am so excited that you joined us today. We wanted to cover the admission steps for about school counseling and clinical mental health counseling plan. So, the program entry requirements do include a minimum of a 3.0. However, students with a 2.7 bias can be provisionally accepted into the program. We do require a completed bachelor's degree. However, it does not have to be in a specific field. We do also complete an interview over the phone with each candidate that is interested in applying for acceptance to this program, to confirm that you do qualify to be considered for acceptance. And then as it relates to our application requirements, the first step would be to complete the online application. We do not currently have an application fee to apply. We will need official transcripts from all institutions attended to complete your bachelor's degree.

The program does require a personal statement, outlining why you want to pursue the program, as well as two letters of recommendation. Now, the personal statement will prepare you for your faculty interview with Chris.

Katie Macaluso: Alright, alright. So, with that said, I think we're ready to jump into our Q&A session for today. As a reminder, if you had any questions throughout the webinar, feel free to ask them at this time using the Q&A box below on your screen. We'll do our best to get to as many of them as we can, and thanks to so many of you who've already submitted questions. So, let's see what we've got.

It looks like our first question is... I'm going to send this to Dr. Siuta. The question is, do you think that the online program can give the same value to students as a face-to-face program?

Christopher Siuta: It can, and it needs to. A part of our negotiation and arrangement with CACREP our crediting body, is that our online and campus programs are as identical as possible. The delivery format is different, but the content is the same. The integrity is the same. We are constantly looking for ways to improve on the clinical skills being practiced. We are developing ways for there to be more synchronous meetings between students and cohorts for all of the courses, not just the clinical courses. So, we certainly are priding ourselves on that, and we are overseen by CACREP to make sure that that integrity is intact.

Katie Macaluso: Very good. Alright. Our next question is, what are you looking for specifically in the phone interview? I'll start that with Kristen.

Kristen Lafevor: Good question. So, during the admissions interview, we are looking for solid candidates for this program. Students that possess compassion for helping others, and just a passion for wanting to be either in mental health counseling or school counseling. But I'd also like to turn this question over to you, Dr. Siuta, as it relates to the faculty interview.

Christopher Siuta: Sure, I certainly am looking for passion when I do my interviews as well. We certainly look at whether communication skills are positive, whether your writing skills are positive, with the statement of intent that needs to be filled out. But truly I'm looking for energy, I'm looking for passion, because that needs to be present in order to help others in this profession.

Katie Macaluso: Great, thank you. Alright, our next question is for Lisa. The question is, did you find any additional difficulties due to being a long-distant student in terms of perhaps time zone differences?

Justin Towers: Well I only live an hour away from the campus, so I really didn't have any issues with that, but I have heard people bring that up during classes. I think one of the big things is, in the beginning of each course, the professors have been really great about setting up like a Google Doc or a spreadsheet, or whatever to set up times and they're usually all over the map. So, I've had courses where there's required times where you have to be present for the courses. But those were set up in a way that they were spread out enough that everyone could make one or they could make whatever was required by communicating with the professor and voting for times that were appropriate for them.

Lisa Bruce: Hi, I hope you guys can hear me. I was accidentally on mute for a second, but I actually did not have any problems doing the program from Seattle. In fact, I had a little bit of a cushion, I think in terms of, I could get started on my stuff earlier in the morning or... Sorry, I could work a little bit later into the night. So, I found that there were no problems. That was something I was worried about at first. But I think the only... I'll be honest, it is difficult to travel across the country for the residency, but you only have to do it twice and it was worth it, so it turned out that it was a totally fine experience. And there were other students doing this program from the West Coast, Alaska as well, and I think it was fine for them too.

Christopher Siuta: I agree, Lisa, very positive responses.

Katie Macaluso: Glad to hear it. Our next question is, in addition to the residency requirement, how many hours of internship are needed and how many hours for the residency versus internship? Kristen, do you want to take this one?

Kristen Lafevor: Sure. So, the internship will be a total of 600 hours, that's total hours are broken up over the course of two semesters. The residency is actually three days scheduled in June, typically, about a year after you start the program, and it's Thursday through Saturday.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, great. Our next question is... Let's see, can I do my internship at my workplace? Dr. Siuta, can I send that one to you?

Christopher Siuta: Sure. And yes, it certainly is possible that something that would go through the faculty member who's teaching the course, as well as myself as program director. Those things just need to be approved, but it is certainly possible.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, great, and we actually have a second question. It's kind of on the same topic. This question is, what types of institutions typically qualify for meeting internship requirements in either programs, and is there assistance available for placing students into the internship?

Christopher Siuta: Yes, we have a field director on campus who does assist with solidifying placements. We also have a certification officer that helps with those placements as well, and also making sure that all of the right requirements are met prior to that placement beginning, whether finger printing needs to be done for school and/or agency, ACA membership needs to be intact for liability insurance, and again, just making sure that supervisors have the right paperwork on site for when they need to be filled out at the end of the semester. As far as schools and agencies, there is quite a bit of diversity, we're not only working with New York State, but other states across the country now. So, what we do is we set up MoUs with those agencies and schools, where there is an understanding of what the site needs to provide, as well as what St. Bonaventure will provide on their end. And that's a formalized agreement that is met between both bodies.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, thank you. Our next question, actually, I think also, probably for you, Dr. Siuta, is how does the university through this program help students learn to manage fatigue in the social work field?

Christopher Siuta: We... If I'm hearing this question correctly, I think we're talking about self-care, where we're helping our students to prepare themselves for what they're getting themselves into, and steps along the way to alleviate stress, and again, focusing on self-care, so that you're juggling work-life balance as best you can. That those are things that we do discuss in certain classes at different milestones in the program, and you certainly will get that within the advisement/clinical supervision aspect of the program.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, great. Our next question is just wanting to verify, after completion of a degree in mental health counseling, will I be able to sit for a license as a mental health counselor?

Christopher Siuta: So, every state is a little bit different. Just speaking about New York State right now. Once you finish your degree at St. Bonaventure, because of we are registered program, your education is approved, no questions asked, and you will apply for something called The Limited Permit, and with that limited permit, you'll be working under a supervisor for 3,000 hours, and usually that's a year and a half of full-time work, but you have additional time on top of the year and a half to finish that. And then once those 3,000 hours are met, you then are eligible to apply for full licensure.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, great. Our next question is actually for the student panelists. The question is, how much time do the panelists typically devote to course work each week, and is it hard to balance with work? I'll start this one with Justin.

Justin Towers: That's a very good question. I typically spend, I would say, about an hour or two per day, I guess, on course work. It really depends on the course itself, but I have very variable hours throughout the week, so I tend to spend less time during the week and more time on the weekends, and when I have days off, spending on course work. So, there's always a discussion that's due midweek, and then there's generally answers that need to go out to other discussion posts after that, and then there's kind of the meaty assignment of the week. Generally, I'll do that stuff on the weekends. It hasn't been an issue balancing it, it really hasn't.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, great. And Lisa, did you want to add anything to that as well?

Lisa Bruce: Pretty much what Justin said, I spend on average, an hour a day. And I think, sometimes I take a total break and don't do any school work. Other days I'll do a couple hours if I want to knock a chunk of the paper out of the way. I think one of the nice things about the program is just that it is so flexible, and you can do the work when you have time. And on a busy day, or if you're trying to spend a day with your family and prioritize them, then that's fine too. You shift your schedule, your school work schedule, to match your work and family life.

Katie Macaluso: Great, thank you. Alright, our next question is, how long does it take to get a decision once you apply for the program? Kristen, I'll start that with you.

Kristen Lafevor: It's a really good question. The process does vary. I tell all of my students, "I work at your pace", so the quicker you can get your documents sent to me, the quicker we can determine whether or not you can be accepted into the program." But on average, the process of collecting the documents and then submitting everything over to a person in the faculty takes about two weeks.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, thank you. Our next question is, is it possible to do a paid internship for the 600 hours needed? I'll send that to you, Dr. Siuta.

Christopher Siuta: Yes, it certainly is possible. I would say, any given year in our program since I've been here, we have probably two or three students that are engaged in a paid internship through their employment, so it certainly is an option.

Katie Macaluso: All right, thank you. Alright. Our next question is, how much group work, if at all, is involved in the online program? I don't know if you want to start that, Dr. Siuta, or if any of the students want to jump on.

Christopher Siuta: So, we have a group counseling class that is heavily based in experiential learning. Each student has a requirement of leading a group, whether it's school or mental health, and then also being a member of a group. So, you're doing that within the seven weeks in group counseling consistently, and that's again synchronously through Zoom. For other courses, there are group projects where students are together, and I would say groups between two and four students at a time.

Katie Macaluso: All right. It looks like we have time for one last question, this question is, "How are students able to network in an online community versus sort of a traditional on-campus setting?" Kristen, I'll start that with you with what you've heard.

Kristen Lafevor: Sure. So, I did speak with one of my students who started in the August session. From what he shared with me, it does seem like the California group is a very interactive bunch. They started their own discussion boards to bounce off ideas as it relates to homework assignment off of one another. It seems to be a very engaging program for both school counseling and mental health counseling. Although, Chris, can you kind of elaborate as well?

Christopher Siuta: Sure. I mean, I do think that the networking for the online program is even stronger than our campus. For the simple point that there's so much communication and dialogue happening per week that these, I guess, discussions surrounding school and agency counseling in the community are discussed, where options for learning, options for gaining experience are sent out there via Moodle. So, you see that communication occurring not only on Moodle, whether it's asking the professor or around the water cooler, but then having sidebar conversations outside of class via email and phone, where students are discussing networking opportunities.

Katie Macaluso: Okay, all right, thank you. That is going to wrap up our Q&A session for today. So, we want to thank you for joining us. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact your enrollment advisor or send an email to the email address on the screen. Also, we want to let you know that there will be an on-demand recording available of this session beginning tomorrow. So, if you missed any of it or if you want to go back, check out the link that will be sent to you by email tomorrow as well. This concludes today's webinar, thanks again for joining us and have a great rest of your day.

Christopher Siuta: Thank you.

"The two main differences I see in myself as a St. Bonaventure University graduate (compared with others in my field) are that I’m more motivated and I have a kinder spirit. I think the motivation comes from the fact that Bonaventure is a small school. "

Emily Sorokes
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Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications