School of Professional Studies

School of Professional Studies

History of the Counselor Education Program

The Counselor Education Program began in 1974 as a 33-credit Master of Science degree designed to prepare students for certification as school counselors in Connecticut. Faculty members from the WCSU Psychology Department were responsible for the initial planning of this program, known as the Guidance and Counseling Program.  The program was proposed and established in “A Report prepared for the Connecticut State Department of Education in accordance with the Procedures and Standards for Certification” and housed in the Education and Educational Psychology Department.

In 1985, a Community Advisory Board was established to help with the ongoing development of the Counselor Education Program, and in 1989, a 33-credit Community Agency Counseling option was developed as a separate option from that of program’s School Counseling option.

In 1990, the Counselor Education Program explored the feasibility of national accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). In 1995, the credit hour requirement for both Program options was increased to 48 semester hours and the Program received initial CACREP accreditation.  In 1997 full accreditation was granted, and CACREP accreditation has been maintained since that time.

In order to meet 2009 CACREP accreditation standards, the 48-credit M. S. in Counselor Education—Community Counseling Option was changed to a 60 credit M. S. in Counselor Education – Clinical Mental Health Counseling Option which begin in the Fall of 2010.

In 1977, Drs. Daniel Joynt and Mary Friel were transferred from the Psychology Department to the Education Department.  Dr. Joynt was charged with developing and coordinating the Guidance and Counseling Program. Dr. Joynt served as the Program’s coordinator for 14 years.

In 1985, Dr. Barbara McNelis joined the Program and became the Coordinator of the School Counseling option.

In 1992, Dr. Theresa Canada joined the Counselor Education Program.

In 1994, Dr. Barbara McNelis assumed position of CACREP Unit Leader.

In 1996, Dr. Kathryn Campbell joined the Counselor Education Program. She became the Coordinator of the School Counseling Program and CACREP Unit Leader in 1999.

In 1998, Dr. Michael Gilles joined the Counselor Education Program, replacing Dr. Daniel Joynt who retired. Dr. Mary Friel also retired that year.  Dr.  Gilles assumed the duties of Coordinator of the Community Counseling option, which later became the option in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

In 1999 Aram Aslanian joined the Counselor Education faculty, replacing Dr. Barbara McNelis who retired.

In July 2003, Dr. Michael Gilles assumed the position of CACREP Unit Leader when Dr. Campbell  stepped down to become the Department Chair of Education & Educational Psychology.

In 2009, Dr. Gabriel Lomas joined the faculty joined the Counselor Education Program, replacing Dr. Aram Aslanian who retired. Dr. Lomas became CACREP Unit Leader in 2014.

In 2017, Dr. Nicole DeRonck joined the Counselor Education, replacing Dr. Michael Gilles who retired.

In 2018, Dr. DeRonck became the Coordinator of the School Counseling option.