DEPARTMENT OF PROFESSIONAL COUNSELING
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN OSHKOSH
OSHKOSH, WI 54901
PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR PORTFOLIO
A requirement for Professional Counseling Master’s Degree Students
A professional counselor portfolio is a collection of artifacts and reflective components that demonstrate mastery of program standards as evidenced in the student’s philosophies, abilities, work products, and attitudes. The goal of the portfolio is to demonstrate how assorted activities, experiences, and insights have contributed to and reflect the student’s development and readiness to enter the field of professional counseling.
Graduate students begin creating their professional counselor portfolio as they enter the counseling program, and continue to develop it throughout their program of study. Whereas the portfolio process is introduced during the initial student orientation, and discussed in more depth in PRF CNSL 700 Professional Identity and Ethics, students are advised to continue to review the portfolio process with their advisor as needed during the first semester of their program and when meeting with their advisor during registration. Portfolio requirements and resources will be housed on the department’s website. Students are responsible for accessing, reviewing, and utilizing these materials, and asking questions if anything is unclear to them.
Portfolio development is designed to facilitate a thoughtful and intentional journey through graduate studies and into the professional field. As students begin preparation in a professional career, it is important that they actively engage in each step of their learning. Reviewing one's strengths and challenges, setting goals for needed learning, pursuing a learning strategy, and evaluating progress regularly are all important steps in engaging with the learning process at the graduate level. Developing and maintaining a portfolio is a vehicle for this engagement.
Ongoing preparation for a professional career is best accomplished with the guidance of professionals who can serve in the roles of consultant, teacher, mentor, and supervisor. The process of portfolio development provides opportunities for regular faculty evaluation and feedback in a manner that includes dialogue between faculty member and counseling student. Active dialogue enables the student to shape and modify his or her learning with attention to personal needs and professional requirements. Dialogue and feedback will be given through ongoing review processes and advising.
The portfolio, which develops throughout the graduate student’s program, provides a systemic assessment tool as part of the program’s comprehensive assessment plan. The purpose of the portfolio is the presentation of standards-based collections of artifacts that represent mastery in the professional counseling domains. Artifacts represent work assignments, experiences, activities, and related products that are aligned with specific student learning outcomes. Collections of artifacts are supported by meaningful reflections that provide indication of competence in the applied domain. Successful completion of each portfolio review serves as a benchmark in the assessment of student learning within the department’s comprehensive assessment plan. A completed portfolio demonstrates mastery in program competencies, serves as one indicator of program completion, and can be used as an employment tool (e.g., showcase portfolio).
The portfolio process consists of four intentional elements that (1) facilitate the student’s purposeful shaping of their learning, (2) provide for regular faculty feedback, (3) serve as benchmarks in the program’s comprehensive assessment plan, and (4) provide a format for presentation of professional knowledge, skills, awareness, competencies, and qualifications.
III. Portfolio Structure and Format
Physically, the professional counseling portfolio is a structured, organized presentation of program artifacts, reflections, and self-assessments. The D2L ePortfolio platform provides the framework for uploading, collecting, and presenting the portfolio. Students may need to acquire training or tutorial in the ePortfolio platform, which is available through the D2L staff on campus. Students should be proactive in receiving training so that when they are beginning to construct their portfolio, they already know how to do so.
Self-assessments, artifacts, collections, reflections, and presentations will shape the portfolio. Students will provide periodic self-assessment of their professional goal statement. This will facilitate intentional goal setting and guide students as they engage in the decisions and behaviors that move them toward the completion of those goals. The statement of professional goals will begin during the initial course in the program, 700 Professional Identity and Ethics. At each subsequent review period, students will assess and revise their goals as needed.
As students complete assignments, projects, and work products that are aligned with specific student learning outcomes, they will upload the artifacts to the ePortfolio. Students will provide a description of and tag the artifact for ease of access later when they begin to create domain collections. The artifacts that are selected and added to each collection should demonstrate the student’s competence in that particular domain and be aligned with specific learning outcomes. A minimum of three (3) artifacts within each collection is required.
When deciding on artifacts to include in the portfolio, a guiding question to ask is, “How will this particular artifact represent my mastery of the standards within one of the professional domains?” A second guiding question for consideration is the primary message you want your portfolio to convey, and ask, “Do the artifacts that I have selected demonstrate the message that I want to convey accurately and completely?”
Students will select specific artifacts that demonstrate their work in a particular domain. Selected artifacts will then be accumulated within collections that correspond to standards-based domains represented within the accreditation standards (i.e., CACREP, DPI). Each program rubric lists the professional domains from which students will create each collection of artifacts (e.g., FOUNDATIONS).
Each collection should be accompanied by a meaningful reflective statement based on the criteria outlined in the rubric. The reflection should indicate integration, meaning, and depth, and represent mastery of awareness, knowledge, skill, and competence in aspects of the domain. When preparing to write each reflective statement, ask questions such as, “What awareness have I gained? What knowledge have I gained? What skills have I acquired? What was meaningful? How have I integrated my learning? What have I learned about being a professional counselor within the domain?” After writing the reflective statement, ask, “Is the reflection meaningful? Does the reflection demonstrate integration? Have I placed the reflection in the context in which I want to be understood? Does the reflection represent the level of depth that indicates my learning and mastery?”
IV. Portfolio Assessment Process
Portfolios will be submitted for review at specific times during the program of study in the form of a presentation. Instructions for how to create a portfolio presentation are provided in D2L and in Portfolio Training provided on campus. Portfolios will be assessed at two assessment points: Admission to Candidacy and Program Completion.
A. Statement of Professional Preparation and Goals (Beginning Summer 2014)
Submission: During the first semester of study (determined by 700 Professional Identity and Ethics Course Instructor(s))
Submitted to: 700 Professional Identity and Ethics Course Instructor(s)
Reviewed by: 700 Professional Identity and Ethics Course Instructor(s)
Returned by: 700 Professional Identity and Ethics Course Instructor(s)
In 700 Professional Identity and Ethics, students will complete a reflective assignment about becoming a Professional Counselor. As a part of this assignment, students will compose a Statement of Professional Preparation and Goals. This statement will be included in the student’s portfolio and provide the roadmap for his or her program and portfolio that reflects their journey. This statement will outline how the student intends to utilize the counseling degree, and how he or she plans to gain the competencies necessary to fulfill the program objectives of the counseling program.
The student will consult the program standards (CAREP, DPI) and provide an evaluation of their strengths and areas of growth that he or she brings to graduate study. The student will develop a concrete action plan for graduate study that includes a plan for continuing to nurture strengths and develop areas needing growth. The statement should also include a plan for other learning and professional experiences that he or she intends to pursue as part of their overall preparation (e.g., professional memberships, credentialing requirements, ongoing professional development outside the classroom, research involvement, areas of interest for pursuit in research papers, reading, etc.).
Students that have completed 700 Professional Identity and Ethics before 2014, are advised to use the Self-Reflection: Becoming a Professional Counselor assignment as a base for reflection about their professional journey. You can utilize what you wrote to reflect currently on your professional journey. Some things you may consider are as follows: What has changed since you entered the program in your view of yourself as a counselor? What professional activities have you completed? Are there ones you thought you would engage in that you did not? Are there activities you would add to what you hope to complete before you finish the program? What have you learned from your professional activities and class experiences?
B. Admission to Candidacy Portfolio Review I
Submission: Mid-term (specific date will be noted in 794 Counseling Practicum syllabus)
Submitted to: Practicum Instructor via the D2L Dropbox
Reviewed by: Faculty
Returned by: Practicum Instructor once the Admission to Candidacy decision is final.
Students will have been compiling artifacts since entering the program in different collections in D2L. When creating portfolio presentations, students will then need to make determinations about which artifacts will become part of their presentation submission. Questions to ask when selecting artifacts include, but are not limited to, “What have I accomplished since enrolling in the program that demonstrates my professional development and evolving professional practice as a counselor? What artifacts represent my developing mastery in the professional domains?”
Students should provide an assessment of the Statement of Professional Goals completed in Professional Identity and Ethics (and/or refer back to the Self-Reflection: Becoming a Professional Counselor assignment) to assess the progress made on their personal and professional goals. The self-assessment should focus on the development of strengths, areas needing growth, continuing goals, and plan of action. Students are encouraged to include a discussion of specific feedback received from peers and instructors, and specifically how they are integrating feedback within the context of awareness, knowledge, skill, and competence within the domain.
In addition to the student’s Self-Assessment of their Statement of Professional Goals, students will incorporate a reflection in each domain area. The student’s reflection should integrate his or her growth toward achieving mastery in the professional domains within the specific program. As students reflect on the standards within each of the professional domains, they are encouraged to ask, “What have I learned in this area? What feedback have I received? What learning experiences were particularly meaningful? What awareness, knowledge, and skills relative to this domain have been most valuable to my learning? In what settings have I used and do I plan to use the learning I have acquired?”
In addition, students should integrate areas needing learning, growth, and development in their reflection. Questions to reflect on during this process include, “What have I learned in this area? What additional awareness, knowledge, and skill do I need to increase competence in this area? What feedback have I received? What am I learning about me relative to this area? What is my concrete plan to achieve competency in this area?”
C. Program Completion Portfolio Review II
Submission: Mid-term (specific date will be noted in 798 Counseling Internship II syllabus)
Submitted to: Internship II Instructor
Reviewed by: Faculty
Returned by: End of the semester of Internship II
*Note: Students who have taken coursework out of sequence will need to work jointly with their advisor and Internship II instructor regarding coursework that they have not completed but that should be reflected in their Portfolio Presentation.
At midterm in the 798 Counseling Internship II course, students will submit their culminating portfolio presentation for final review and feedback from faculty. Development of the portfolio during internship typically involves reviewing the formative processes completed during the graduate program and reflecting on significant events and learning that have occurred. Other primary components of the final portfolio include an assessment of items previously presented in the portfolio and a reflection of how you have progressed since then. Students will include additional entries deemed appropriate for summarizing mastery and competence in the role of a professional counselor, and that are also important to the job-search process.
Questions to ask when selecting final artifacts include, but are not limited to, “What have I accomplished since Admission to Candidacy that demonstrate my professional development and professional practice as a counselor? What artifacts represent my mastery in the professional domains?”
Interns will provide final assessment of the Statement of Professional Goals that reflects progress made in realizing goals articulated at Admission to Candidacy. The self-assessment should focus on the development of strengths, areas needing growth, continuing goals, and plan of action. Students are encouraged to include a discussion of specific feedback received from peers, instructors, site supervisors, and how they are integrating feedback within the context of awareness, knowledge, skill, and competence within the domain.
In addition to the student’s Self-Assessment of their Statement of Professional Goals, students will incorporate a reflection in each domain area. The student’s reflection should integrate his or her growth toward achieving mastery in these and additional related areas. Questions to ask include, “What have I learned in this area? What feedback have I received? What learning experiences were particularly meaningful? What awareness, knowledge, and skills relative to this domain have been most valuable to my learning? In what settings have I used and do I plan to use the learning I have acquired?”
In addition, reflections should integrate areas needing continued learning, growth, and development. Questions to reflect on during this process include, “What have I learned in this area? What additional awareness, knowledge, and skill do I need to increase competence in this area? What feedback have I received? What am I learning about me relative to this area? What is my concrete plan to achieving competency in this area?”