The following awardees were recognized at the WACES Business Meeting in October, held at the ACES 2015 Conference in Philadelphia, PA.
Graduate Student Award: Kiri Horsey has served the WACES board with an energy, passion, and commitment to reach out to graduate students and connect them with professional possibilities. Thank you for your service to WACES, and the counselor education and supervision community.
Professional Service Award: Dr. Terry Bahr has served the WACES community in several substantive ways including serving as Treasurer for many, many years. Thank you for keeping the WACES books balanced.
Professional Research Award: Dr. Jack Simons has published in the Journal of Counseling and Development considering the social justice needs of immigrant and Gypsie populations in postcommunist Czech Republic. His current research investigates school counselor attitudes and advocacy actions, specifically exploring historically marginalized populations (LGBT). His colleague wrote, “Schools are microcosms of society thus this study is timely in both that it can add to the national discourse while helping school counselors serve a student population that is often increasingly in the spotlight and under distress.”
Professional Publication Award: With a 12-month study of 24 clinical mental health counselors, Dr. Thom Field and colleagues has published his research in the national Journal of Mental Health Counseling with a second, follow-up publication accepted for 2016. This publication has generated multiple requests for manuscripts and for trainings on the topic. Titled, “The New ABC’s: A Practitioner’s Guide to Neuroscience-Informed Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy” the goal of this model is to make it understandable and applicable for lay practitioners and students to consider our automatic responses to triggering events prior to rational reasoning.
Innovative Counselor Education Program: City University of Seattle has developed a program that is focused on social justice and advocacy. The program has evolved and a CACREP site team visit recently stated that all standards have been met. They will know in January of 2016, but it looks like their dedication to a quality education has been recognized.
Professional Leadership Award: Although nominated for another category, the committee decided to award Dr. Keith Dempsey. Keith served as President of WACES, extending his term by one full year to assist the association through some leadership change. Additionally, he has maintained leadership roles at his university and within his community. He received exceptional comments from nominees recognizing his years of mentoring with young African American males in grades 3rd, 4th, and 5th to his individual leadership and guidance for undergraduate students of color on a campus that is predominately White. He has aided his students with multiple publications and presentations and deserves this recognition. His colleague shared: “He is a ready sounding board, an honest and patient influence in my development as a more culturally sensitive human being, an example of the sort of professor I aspire to be—one who both challenges and supports students with grace and truth, and with style and substance.”
Professional Mentor Award: Dr. Eugene Moan received an incredible nomination packet from multiple colleagues, chairs, a Dean, a Professor Emeritus, Program Coordinators, a Part-time Instructor, Alumni, and current students. It’s challenging to select one quote that sums his excellence but here is a combination from some of his supporters: “For decades, Professor Moan has had a major role in preparing hundreds of highly ethical, effective, and successful counseling professionals." “In my estimation, Dr. Moan’s leadership achievements, though outstanding, are slightly overshadowed by his mentorship accomplishments. “ “His outstanding wisdom, critical thinking and genuine compassion have contributed greatly to the functioning of our department.” “He is a tireless advocate for the counseling profession.”
WACES Special Recognition Award: Although this was a challenging decision, the committee agreed that Dr. Ellen Carruth deserves special recognition for her dedication to professional counselors in the state of Washington. Through efforts spearheaded by Dr. Carruth, legislative change has occurred to allow Master’s level counselors work without an additional two-years of experience. Washington requires the title “Mental Health Professional” and allowed social workers to perform assessments and diagnoses without additional experience. Due to her statewide alliances and challenges to the rules, the Secretary of State has accepted the rule-change and in April of 2016 the two-year barrier will be eliminated, allowing Master’s level counselors the title of “Mental Health Professional” without additional requirements.