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MTSU program celebrates 50 years of helping counse...

MTSU program celebrates 50 years of helping counseling students, clients

The faculty of the Professional Counseling Program poses at the Miller Education Building, where the June 15 reception celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary, took place. They are, from left, Robin Lee, program director; Tiffany Wilson, assistant professor; Virginia Dansby, retiring coordinator of the school counseling concentration; Michelle Stevens, associate professor; and Chris Quarto, professor. (Submitted photo)

As a veteran counselor retired following a brilliant career, an MTSU institution celebrated a half-century of public service.

The Womack Department of Educational Leadership observed its Professional Counseling Program’s 50th anniversary Saturday, June 15, with a reception at the Miller Education Center.

Professor Emeritus Keith Carlson, founder of the Professional Counseling Program at MTSU, speaks at the 50th Anniversary celebration held Saturday, June 15, at the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. (Submitted photo)

Professor Emeritus Keith Carlson, founder of the Professional Counseling Program at MTSU, speaks at the program’s 50th Anniversary celebration held Saturday, June 15, at the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. (Submitted photo)

Some students in the program in MTSU’s College of Education prepare themselves to work as professional school counselors at the elementary, middle and secondary school levels.

Other students who pursue the clinical mental health counseling degree track become prepared for licensure as professional counselors with mental health service provider designations.

MTSU established the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, now located inside the Miller Education Center building, in 2005, enabling graduate students to offer direct counseling services to children and adolescents, under faculty supervision, as part of the students’ practicum courses.

“The center is really part of the learning experience for the program, but it does afford us the opportunity to provide services not only to the MTSU community but the local community at large, as well,” said Dr. Robin Lee, center director.

The center recently shifted its emphasis to make sure that trauma content is embedded in all classes. All five faculty members and some counseling students have completed 50 hours of training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, an evidence-based therapy approach to help trauma victims.

Dr. Virginia Dansby, retiring coordinator of the school counseling concentration in the MTSU Professional Counseling Program.

Dr. Virginia Dansby

Colleagues used the anniversary milestone to honor Virginia Dansby, a former high school teacher and counselor who has been vital in the counseling growth’s program over the years, for her work as she embarked on her retirement.

Dansby was program coordinator from 2003 to 2015 and coordinator of the school counseling concentration from 2003 to 2019. Dansby also helped obtain essential accreditations from professional organizations.

She credits her colleagues for working together toward the goal of improving service to both students and clients.

“It’s such a team effort, and they have a really high level of professionalism,” Dansby said.

Sarah Brant-Rajahn, a board-certified counselor with more than 10 years of experience, will assume Dansby’s role beginning in August. The program will transition from a 49-hour program to a 61-hour program, resulting in a shift from master’s degrees to specialist’s degrees in education.

For more information about MTSU’s Professional Counseling Program, contact Lee at 615-898-2304 or robin.lee@mtsu.edu. You also can learn more about the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services by listening to a conversation with Lee on “MTSU On the Record” below.

— Gina Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

The faculty of the Professional Counseling Program poses at the Miller Education Building, where the June 15 reception celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary, took place. They are, from left, Robin Lee, program director; Tiffany Wilson, assistant professor; Virginia Dansby, retiring coordinator of the school counseling concentration; Michelle Stevens, associate professor; and Chris Quarto, professor. (Submitted photo)

The faculty of the Professional Counseling Program poses at the Miller Education Building, where the June 15 reception celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary, took place. They are, from left, Robin Lee, program coordinator; Tiffany Wilson, assistant professor; Virginia Dansby, retiring coordinator of the school counseling concentration; Michelle Stevens, associate professor; and Chris Quarto, professor. (Submitted photo)


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