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CITE program brings students from New York City to Alfred University
7/19/07

ALFRED, NY – Sixty-five graduate students from the New York City area are visiting the Alfred University campus this summer, each taking courses toward their master’s degrees in school counseling.

The students are pursuing their master’s degrees through the Centers for Integrated Teacher Education (CITE) program. The adult, non-traditional students take classes part-time at satellite locations in Brooklyn and Long Island, using the same curriculum as traditional students earning their master’s degree in counseling on the AU campus. Adjunct professors provide instruction at the Brooklyn and Long Island locations.

Three groups of students enrolled in the CITE program are taking classes over a three-week period at the Alfred University campus; the first group was at AU the week of July 9. They are taking classes in Career Development, Psychological Testing, Advanced Theories of Counseling, and Practicum I from professors in the AU School of Psychology. Each group of student will complete one three-credit course and parts of two others. The second group is on campus this week; the third will be at AU July 22-27.
Typically, it takes a part-time student enrolled in CITE two years — taking two to three courses on weekends during the academic year and during the summer — to earn their master’s degrees.

According to Dr. John D. “Jay” Cerio, professor of psychology at AU and the director of the CITE program, almost all the students enrolled in the program have a professional background in education, either as teachers, substance abuse counselors, or “paraprofessionals,” such as teacher assistants or aides.

“The experience is comparable to our campus-based program,” Cerio said. “We make sure the (adjunct professors) provide the same instruction as we do at Alfred. They (adjunct professors) are experienced school psychologists and most have prior teaching experience at other colleges and universities.”

CITE, which coordinates degree offerings from other institutions, provides registration and marketing services, recruits adjunct professors, and obtains space for instruction. Alfred is one of the first universities to offer a graduate degree program through CITE. AU is in its first year in the CITE program, which was established in 1983 to train New York City-area teachers in partnership with New York State-approved credit-granting institutions. In 2007-08, AU will begin offering a master’s degree in literacy education through CITE.

According Cerio, Alfred’s involvement in the program has been beneficial to both students and the University.

“It allows (students) to change their careers. Because they have full-time jobs and many have families, this program makes it doable for them. It would be hard for them to enroll in traditional (graduate degree) programs in the city,” he said. “They’re learning the Alfred approach, which is very practical and skills-based. They like the personal contact they get, not only from our faculty, but from the faculty they have in the city.”

Students visiting the AU campus from the New York area say the program has been a good fit for them.

“It’s fast-paced and accelerated and geared toward adults,” said student Merle Granger. “That’s why it works for us.”

“It meets the needs of the working adult and affords us the chance to go back to school,” added fellow student Valora Kotright. “If it wasn’t for AU and the CITE program, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

The benefit to AU, aside from enrolling new students in its counseling program, is the diversity that has been injected into the counseling program. “This is the most culturally diverse group of students we have at the University,” said Cerio, adding that a “pen-pal system” is being established where students in CITE correspond with traditional AU students, sharing their learning experiences and “communicating their cultural differences.”

It is hoped that as time passes, students who earn their degrees at AU through the CITE program will remain involved with AU, whether it be through involvement in alumni groups or recruiting new students to Alfred.

CITE students making their first visit to Alfred University were bound to experience some level of culture shock. They quickly became comfortable with and embraced the rural atmosphere and felt connected to the University.

“This experience (visiting AU) was important,” Kotright said. “At first I thought it was an inconvenience. Now, I feel more a part of Alfred University.”

“This reminds me of when I was away to college,” added student Kisha Jones. “I’m glad I came here. I have a sense of belonging instead if just an affiliation.

“My experience has been wonderful,” Granger commented. “I didn’t go away for college and I’m really enjoying my time here.”

The group of students who enrolled in the CITE program last fall will complete their master’s degree requirements next summer. Meanwhile, a second group — or “cohort” — of students, who will earn their degrees in 2009, is set to arrive on the AU campus July 29 for orientation. Cerio said approximately 90 students enrolled in the school counseling or literacy education master’s degree programs through CITE will take an introductory course before heading back to New York for weekend classes at the CITE satellite locations in Brooklyn and Long Island.

Cerio said he closely monitors the program, sometimes traveling to New York City to observe classes and meet with adjunct professors and program administrators. This fall, Cerio and Robert Bitting, associate professor of counseling, will be in New York to instruct the counseling master’s practicum course. As part of their degree requirements, students must complete an in-school, semester-long practicum assignment.

“So far, the response to the program has been good. The feedback from the students says we’ve done well,” Cerio said. “There will be glitches that need to be worked out, as there would be in any college program. But the response from the students has been positive. They’re learning to become effective counselors.”