Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

September 2012

Clinical Mental Health Counseling-Graduate Program Receives CACREP Accreditation


Southeastern CACREP faculty.
Members of the CACREP Accreditation Task Force were, left to right, Dr. Kimberly Donovan, Dr. Jon Reid, Dr. Ed Mauzey, Dr. Daniel Weigel, and Dr. Reba Criswell. All are faculty members at Southeastern.

The clinical mental health counseling master’s degree program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University recently received accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Southeastern is one of two universities in Oklahoma with CACREP accreditation and the first school in the state to earn the prestigious accreditation for a “Clinical Mental Health Counseling” (CMHC) master’s degree program.

The accreditation was based on the CACREP board’s extensive review of self-study documents, the visiting team’s report, and Southeastern’s response to that report. The eight-year accreditation period extends through October 31, 2020. Eight years is the longest period of time for which a program can receive accreditation.

“This is a significant achievement,’’ said Dr. Douglas McMillan, vice president for academic affairs at Southeastern. “This specialized accreditation demonstrates the quality of our counseling program and is a real tribute to the efforts of our faculty. In addition, it will enable us to better serve students in a critical field of mental health.’’

One of Southeastern’s major strategic goals is to promote academic excellence by achieving and maintaining specialized accreditation for degree programs. CACREP accreditation adds to numerous other specialized accreditations held by Southeastern, including the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (undergraduate and graduate education programs); the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (undergraduate and graduate business programs); the Aviation Accreditation Board International (undergraduate aviation programs); and the National Association of Schools of Music (undergraduate music programs).

Attaining the CMHC accreditation has many benefits for students, according to Dr. Daniel Weigel, professor of counseling at Southeastern and the chair of the University’s CACREP Accreditation Task Force.

“The CACREP accreditation will greatly benefit graduates seeking employment and Licensed Professional Counselor licensure in Oklahoma or any other state,’’ Weigel said. “In addition, students will be able to attain national board certification as National Certified Counselors immediately upon graduation, as long as other requirements, including passing the national licensing examination, are successfully completed. Our graduates provide services in the behavioral healthcare field in nearly every capacity and that scope has become even broader with this powerful national stamp of approval.”

Continued Weigel: “Of particular importance to our community is the fact that the CACREP accreditation has been endorsed by the Institute of Medicine as the only specialty accreditation for mental health counseling that is recognized by federal insurance programs such as TRICARE, the Department of Defense (civilian and enlisted personnel), and Veterans Affairs facilities across the nation. This will allow our graduates to serve members of the military and their families at a time when there is great need and also a dire shortage of mental health providers in parts of rural Oklahoma and north Texas.’’

Weigel also noted that upon attaining state licensure, CMHC graduates qualify for student loan forgiveness through the National Health Service Corps in exchange for their work in designated health professional shortage areas such as southeast Oklahoma.

The CMHC program at Southeastern is the only program in Oklahoma that has been approved for participation in the “NCC for Graduate Students” application option offered through the National Board for Certified Counselors. According to Weigel, this approval will enable students to begin work almost immediately upon graduation as local or national Disaster Mental Health Workers through the American Red Cross.

In addition to attaining accreditation, Southeastern has also been granted formal approval to charter a local chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International. The Southeastern chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, Sigma Epsilon, has recently been notified of ratification.

Chi Sigma Iota is an international honor society dedicated to promoting excellence in the profession of counseling. Chi Sigma Iota has 276 chapters worldwide, having inducted more than 82,000 members since its formation in 1985.

Students with bachelor’s degrees from any major are invited to apply to the CMHC Master’s Degree Program at Southeastern. Further information about the program may be obtained by contacting Dr. Daniel Weigel at dweigel@se.edu.

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