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Don W. Locke on Leadership, Leading from the Middle, and His Vision of the Counseling Profession
Each year at this time ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals invites the incoming ACA President to speak to members engaged in counseling studies and those just beginning their careers in counseling. When ACA President-Elect Don W. Locke was approached for an interview, he presented an interesting alternative to the standard interview.
It seems that Locke had just been interviewed by Natalie Williams, a doctoral student in counselor education and supervision at Ohio University, and believed that the message he conveyed to her on matters of leadership and vision would match exactly the thoughts he wanted to share with ACA students and new professionals. Following then, is an abridged and edited version of a paper by Williams for her OU doctoral Leadership class, taught by Dr. Tom Davis. Locke's term as president is July 1, 2011 -thru June 30, 2012.
Evolution of Leadership
Dr. Don W. Locke is the dean of the School of Education at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS and is President-Elect of the American Counseling Association (ACA). When asked to describe his development as a leader, Locke discussed his early experiences within the divisions of ACA. He served on and chaired committees, which allowed him to grow and develop his capacity for leadership. Locke stated that some individuals are born leaders; however, he describes his personal leadership development as a process of continued growth. He accepted small tasks and incrementally increased his commitments.
Locke learned about leadership through involvement in organizations; however he also was heavily influenced by his father, an influential mentor and crucial force in the development of his leadership philosophy. His father was in the military and often repeated the mantra, "Don't accept a position unless you are willing to accept the responsibilities that coincide with the tasks you take on."
Recommendations to Graduate Students and New Professionals
Locke emphasized the importance of joining professional organizations early in one's career (especially ACA and its divisions). He had a mentor early on who encouraged him to join national, state, and local professional associations. Locke believes it is important for graduate students and new professionals to become involved in order to begin functioning and growing as a professional and to stay current on changes in the profession. The skills learned through professional development experiences can then be transferred into one's practice. After 40 years, Locke says he still learns something new every day.
The best advice he ever received as a leader: "lead from the middle." Individuals often have strong opinions to the "right or to the left, or the front to the back," depending on one's perspective. Leaders have a responsibility to understand the positions of both sides and why they believe the way they do, similar to the skills used in the counseling relationship.
Regardless of your individual opinions, as a leader you are responsible for keeping your "eyes, ears, mind, and heart open to all the folks," according to Locke. It can be difficult to do this, especially when a leader is passionate, enthusiastic, and has strong personal views on a particular topic. There is a difference between leading a cause and leading an organization. As the incoming leader of an organization that includes 46,000 members, he will strive to remain sensitive to all points of view.
Vision for the Future of the Profession
Locke's vision for the future is exciting and on the cutting edge of the development of counseling as a profession. He acknowledges that his work stands on the backs of many great ACA leaders who came before. Over the past 4 decades of his career, he has witnessed the profession grow full circle from a "rag-tag bunch of folks" to a professional group with standards, accreditation, licensure in all 50 states, as well as national bodies that oversee the certification of counselors (NBCC) and the accreditation of counselor education programs (CACREP).
Looking to the future of the profession, he envisions increased advocacy and a stronger professional identity to accurately reflect "who we are and what we do." He would like to see professional counselors obtain a similar level of recognition as any other professional group, both on state and federal platforms. Locke mentioned that the bulk of the advocacy work is taking place at the grassroots level in individual states; however, there is also a growing movement at the national level. He discussed pieces of legislation affecting counselors, which are coming up for review soon. Some of these laws will sunset unless they are reactivated.
Over the next 15 months, Locke's priorities include advancing the "20/20 Initiative," which is one attempt to define what we do as counselors, while also advocating for license portability across all 50 states. Another agenda item: encouraging the development of the Clinical Doctorate for Counseling, similar to a Doctor of Psychology or Doctor of Pharmacy, which are terminal degrees for practitioners.
Locke would like to see an advanced degree for clinicians who seek additional education and training, beyond the Master's degree, but who are not interested in teaching. He has been thinking about this concept for several years and plans to publish an article in an upcoming issue of Counseling Today. He is excited to have a "pulpit" to develop this program at his current institution. Locke has been approached by many clinicians who share his desire for a doctoral degree for practitioners.
Personal Strengths and Areas for Growth
On personal strengths, Locke did not hesitate to list "bulldog tenacity" at the top of the list. He has strong beliefs and is willing to openly share his thoughts, feelings, and opinions, when given the opportunity. Locke discussed his willingness to listen, however he described himself as somewhat opinionated. He has no "hidden agenda" and "plays his cards full up," which, he mentioned, may not always work to his advantage.
Regarding personal improvement, Locke quickly shared the French phrase, fermé la bouche, "close your mouth." He discussed his tendency toward impatience, which stems largely from passion. "When you believe in something so much, you fail to understand the passion of the opposition." The "cloud of your own passion" can sometimes overtake the passion that exists in others, he said.
When asked whether his leadership skills were innate or developed, Locke said he never had trouble speaking in front of others. However, he works diligently to give everyone the opportunity to share their feelings and has learned to listen carefully in order to understand all viewpoints.
Locke also discussed the importance of selecting leaders to assist him. As dean, he relies on the leadership of his department chairs to ensure the continued success of the School of Education. He used the metaphor of running alongside a bicycle wheel as a child. Once he was successful in getting the wheel to roll, he only needed to "give a little stroke" for the wheel to maintain momentum.
Locke strongly identifies as a counselor and a counselor educator, and these professional identities continue to play a major role both in his leadership style and leadership philosophy. In all that he does, his identity as a counselor, first, is always at the core.
Natalie F. Williams is a first-year doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at Ohio University. She has a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Langston University, in Oklahoma City.
Laptops in the Classroom: Helper or Hindrance?
Using admittedly flawed tactics, two recent studies reported in InsideHigherEd on student use of laptops in college classes have added fuel to the debate about the use of laptops in the classroom, one that has led to bans or restrictions by many instructors. In one study, spyware was inserted—with student approval—in the laptops of University of Vermont business students by professors who wanted to monitor student Internet activity during class. In another, a law professor at St. John's University employed graduate assistants to eavesdrop on laptop users to observe their Internet movements during lectures. What did they find?
Students engaged in Internet activity deemed to be distractive two-thirds of the time: checking email, instant messaging, and surfing unrelated sites. The St. Johns study revealed that second- and third-year law students were the worst offenders, using their computers for non-class activities such as those mentioned above more than half of their time in class. The InsideHigherEd story presents more detail about the actual distractions, times when they were mostly like to occur, and suggests the debate over laptops use in the college classroom is far from over.
In the News: Graduate Student Debt Worsened by Interest Starting Time
Facing on average more than $40,000 in debt, graduate students are not being helped by a component in the FY2012 federal budget that has interest kicking in on borrowing while students are still in school. Assured by federal officials that loan paybacks will not be required until graduation, the new interest-start action is of little consolation to the growing numbers of students who must take out federal loans to complete graduate study.
ACA members who are having or expect to have difficulty repaying education loans should consult the Solutions for Borrowers Who are Having Trouble Repaying Student Loans link at www.finaid.org. In addition, those in danger of defaulting on federal loans should contact the FSA Ombudsman's Office at the U.S. Department of Education:
Recent ACA Guide for Maximizing Counselor Job Search
A Job Search Manual for Counselors and Counselor Educators: How to Navigate and Promote Your Counseling Career
This handbook presents how-to tips for counselors seeking positions in counselor education, college and community college counseling, schools, and community agencies. Whether you are trying to land your first job, changing career paths, or launching your own private practice, this book demystifies the process and highlights what you need to know to find fulfilling work. Topics include tapping into the hidden job market, developing a resumé/vita, writing winning cover letters, using job search planning tools, enhancing networking skills, interviewing with search committees, handling rejection, and moving from one counseling setting or specialty to another. Hodges and Connelly offer frontline expertise and humorous personal anecdotes that help make the search process more enjoyable. Please note that ACA is offering members free shipping during the month of June.
2010 | 200 pgs
On the Lighter Side: Outrageous (But Real) Resume Blunders
CareerBuilder.com, the largest online employment service, recently asked 2,500+ hiring managers to identify the most outrageous and eccentric things they had seen candidates place on their resumes. Their survey uncovered a dozen items that led to the applicant's demise. Here is a sample:
The full list of resume blunders can be found on the
ACA Bloggers Reflect on Careers, Volunteering
ACA blogger Robbin Miller, a seasoned professional with 14 years in the trenches, used a recent entry at
Future File: Purchasing College Textbooks One Chapter at a Time
Nothing hurts the graduate student wallet more than the cost of textbooks, and the damage is even greater when a professor only requires the reading of two or three chapters from a text that costs $70+. A cost-saving alternative is emerging in the form of Inkling, a new technology company with investment startup support from publishing giants McGraw-Hill and Pearson.
Inkling is offering electronic multimedia iPad versions of college textbooks by the chapter or the full textbook. Inkling offers only limited titles now, but says the list will be expanding in the coming months. The projected cost to purchase a chapter: $3.99.
Students Take Home ACA Awards from New Orleans
At the recent ACA Conference & Exposition in New Orleans a significant number of counseling students were honored for their professional achievements. The students earning national ACA awards included:
Glen E. Hubele National Graduate Student Award
Courtland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award
ACA Best Practice Award – Student Recipient
Gerald and Marianne Corey Graduate Student Essay Competition Winner
Read the essay
Ross Trust Graduate Student Essay Competition for Future School Counselors
Read the essay
ACA Student Ethics Competition
Master's Level Winning Teams
Doctoral Level Winning Teams
Quotable Quotes of Notable People: Robert Frost on Working
"By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day."
Robert Frost (1874-1963) Popular and often-quoted American poet.
Volunteer for 2012 Conference, Get Half-Price Registration Fee
Becoming a volunteer is the best way to connect with fellow ACA members, develop your leadership skills, and become an integral part of the American Counseling Association - all while making a difference in the counseling profession! As a student volunteer you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with leading counseling professionals.
ACA is seeking up to 100 graduate student volunteers willing to work a minimum of eight (8) hours during the ACA 2012 Conference & Exposition in San Francisco, CA, March 23-25, Pre-Conference Learning Institutes, March 21-22. In exchange for your time and commitment, ACA will waive one-half of your registration fee. We are also pleased to offer graduate students who have previously volunteered in this program in 2011 only full reimbursement for their registration fee. The deadline to sign up for this program is Friday, November 30, 2011. For more information about this program, please click here, or contact Robin Hayes at 800-347-6647 ext. 296.
Study and Work Tip: Nap Your Way to Improved Performance
Health education professionals at the University of California-Davis, working with a recommendation from the National Sleep Foundation, have been extolling the virtues of a short daily nap: improved academic performance. Citing Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Leonardo DaVinci as celebrity "nappers," the UC-Davis Student Health Services office offers the following tips on how to work in a regular nap:
Proponents of napping presented information about what UC-Davis and other campuses are doing to encourage the practice at the recent conference of the American College Health Association. And a number of business and human resource development websites have carried stories recently about the value of the "power nap" in the workplace. The greatest concern seems to be how the strategy is viewed by supervisors and managers.
Summer JCD: Counseling Research and Publishing
During the summer months, check out the special section on research and publishing in the Journal of Counseling & Development. Scheduled for early June distribution, Volume 89, Number 3 will include the following:
Note: The above is only a partial list of articles in the issue.
What Would You Like to See in Future Issues?
What keeps you awake at night? What information would save you time? Provide inspiration or pleasant reading? Do you like reading personal profiles of your peers? Let us hear from you so we can make your enewsletter as valuable and helpful as possible. Simply email the editor at any time with your thoughts: email@example.com
About ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals
ACAeNews for Counseling Students and New Professionals is one of four new electronic newsletters that are published three times each year each by the American Counseling Association for the benefit of members. It is disseminated as a free benefit of ACA membership and made available via an
Past editions can be found at
The other three special focus enewsletters are:
Any reference to a product, service or activity or listing of a web site in this publication does not imply endorsement by ACA. Any views and opinions are those of the sponsoring organization and may or may not be shared by ACA.
Direct comments, questions and submissions to Frank Burtnett. All submissions will be subject to review by ACA for accuracy, timeliness and relevance to the readership and may be edited.
Marcheta P. Evans, President
Richard Yep, CAE, Executive Director
Debra Bass, Director of Marketing and Communications
Frank Burtnett, NCC, NCCC, ACAeNews Editor
Don Kenneally, Internet Development / Production
ACA Website: www.counseling.org
Copyright 2011, American Counseling Association, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304. Telephone: 703/823-9800. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce anything contained in this newsletter as long as the American Counseling Association is identified as the original source of the information.
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