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Waynesburg U. approved to offer online graduate counseling programs

Olivia Sanvicente Mar 26, 2024

The Waynesburg University Graduate Counseling Program was recently granted approval to add an online curricular pathway. 

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) approved the addition of fully digital delivery of the Master of Arts in Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision.  

I strongly believe that providing a fully digitally delivered option increases the opportunity for students to pursue their calling as professional counselors and counselor educators."

Dr. Devon Bowser, Director of the graduate counseling programs

The Addictions Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling concentrations within the master’s degree were approved to add an online pathway with asynchronous learning and synchronous learning for group supervision in practicum and internship courses.  

“Through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning experiences, our online option provides flexibility while ensuring that students are still able to benefit from meaningful interactions with faculty and classmates,” Dr. Devon Bowser, director of the graduate counseling programs and dean of graduate and professional studies, said. “Our programs have always included a digitally delivered learning component, allowing our students to earn a rigorous degree that incorporates accelerated learning strategies to build on adult learners' prior experience, motivation, discipline, and independence." 

Students still have the opportunity to earn their Master of Arts in Counseling via an in-person pathway. 

CACREP also approved the transition to a fully digital asynchronous and synchronous curriculum for the doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision for all future cohorts. 

“We recognize that online educational principles, strategies, and format have evolved over time, and our Graduate Counseling faculty consistently evaluate and update our methods to ensure we maintain quality and innovative programs. We also recognize that traveling to our Waynesburg or Southpointe locations each week can have a substantial impact on the time, energy, and finances of some students; offering accredited digitally delivered programs removes that potential barrier for student success. It is our hope that these changes offer an opportunity for new students who have strong potential as leaders in the counseling profession but who are hindered by being unable to travel to weekly in-person classes,” Dr. Bowser said. 

In 2021, with the reaccreditation of the in-person graduate counseling programs, a digital delivery of the programs was introduced after recognizing the need for an online delivery to remain flexible and innovative. 

“Interestingly, our counseling faculty first identified the need for a fully online Master of Arts in Counseling curriculum in the summer of 2019, not knowing the incoming impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Bowser said. “We began building the courses throughout the 2019-2020 academic year and matriculated our first cohort in the Fall of 2020. CACREP's board approved our report at their January 2024 meeting, now allowing us to share the benefits of a fully accredited program with more students.” 

The curriculum changes were approved without condition. 

Waynesburg University’s M.A. in Counseling was recently named one of the best online master’s in counseling programs by BestColleges, ranked at No. 8. In 2021 and 2022, the M.A. in Counseling was ranked No. 4 in the nation for addiction counseling by Addiction Counselor.  

“I strongly believe that providing a fully digitally delivered option increases the opportunity for students to pursue their calling as professional counselors and counselor educators. This need for increased access is particularly true in the rural Appalachian region where Waynesburg University finds itself, and we are committed to innovative approaches to continue growing the profession in these underserved areas,” Dr. Bowser said.