|Action||Requirement for CACREP accreditation for educational programs|
|Comment Period||Ends 7/1/2015|
I am writing in response to the proposed requirement for CACREP or CORE accreditation for educational programs in Virginia. I am writing in my capacity as a Professor and the Academic Program Coordinator of the Counseling and Development Program at George Mason University, as the former department head of the counseling programs at Ohio State University and Johns Hopkins University, as a Fellow of the American Counseling Association and as a former member and Vice Chair of the Maryland State Licensure Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists. From this framework I want to very strongly encourage that the Board rejects this proposal. From my experience I am firmly convinced that this regulation that results in an accreditation body dictating state licensure laws regarding training is harmful for university training programs in Virginia and establishes a very dangerous national trend whereby states lose their autonomy to determine criteria for licensure.
Having held leadership positions in three states it is my strong belief that licensure boards and accreditation bodies should remain independent of each other. Despite not having CACREP, George Mason University has received the 2013 Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES) Outstanding Master’s Degree Program award and continues to pride ourselves on training excellent counselors, many of whom are licensed and hold state leadership positions in Virginia. There are many other universities in similar positions to George Mason University. Thus we at George Mason strongly believe that requiring accreditation as part of state licensure policy is highly inappropriate and has serious negative ramifications for both Virginia and the field of counseling. In fact states such as New Jersey rejected a similar proposal based on the same concerns being voiced in this letter.
In summary I am strongly opposed to this legislation and speak on behalf of many of my colleagues at George Mason University as well as colleagues from across the country who have written to the Governor (approximately 100 letters from colleagues at major universities across the United States have been sent in the past several months). We and others across the nation are highly concerned about the danger of state licensure boards joining accreditation agencies to formulate policy and regulations.
Dr. Fred Bemak
Professor and Academic Program Coordinator
Director, Diversity Research and Action Consortium
George Mason University