The first open-ended question that the current study analyzed asked: "What was most useful about the HPPAE?" The second question asked: "How could the program have been improved (including content, knowledge, skills, or experiences that should have been included in the program)?" Only one respondent did not provide an answer to the first question, and 69 respondents did not provide a response to the second question.
The research team included the manuscript's first author, who has served as the faculty leader of a HPPAE site in the Northeast, and the manuscript's second author, a doctoral social work research assistant with prior experience in qualitative data analysis.
The sensitizing concepts were derived from previous theorizing on the HPPAE model (NYAM/SWLI, n.d.-a), as well as prior evaluation research on the HPPAE (e.g., Ivry & Hadden, 2003; Lawrance et al., 2002; Lawrence et al., 2007; Lee et al., 2009; Mertz et al., 2007; Naito-Chan et al., 2005; Scharlach & Robinson, 2005).
Formal Components of the HPPAE Model That Graduates Found Most Useful
Many graduates' responses regarding what they found most useful related to the six core HPPAE components (i.e., field rotations, university-community partnerships, recruitment into the field of aging, the expanded role of the field instructor, competency-based education, and leadership).
In summary, field education was the most commonly referenced theme within responses to the question regarding what respondents found most useful about the HPPAE. Many respondents also indicated competency-based education, recruitment into the field of aging, and university-community partnerships.
Other Aspects of the HPPAE That Graduates Found Useful
In addition to themes that relate to the formal components of the HPPAE model, other themes emerged from respondents' answers to the question regarding what they found most useful about the program.
An additional commonly identified theme was the perception of the HPPAE adding value to the MSW degree (22% of the respondents).
The next most commonly identified theme addressed the HPPAE's value in enhancing participants' relationships with others at the university (19% of respondents).
Finally, 15% of respondents indicated the utility of the HPPAE in terms of career assistance.
In summary, in addition to themes related to the formal components of the HPPAE model, respondents noted other valuable attributes of the HPPAE.