Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling

Editor’s note:
Information for each candidate, including biographical information, qualifications and reasons for seeking office is published below and in the December issue of Counseling Today. Online voting for all ACA, division and region elections will begin Dec. 1. The following answers are published as the candidates submitted them. They have not been edited.



Jacqueline Swank

Hi! My name is Jacqueline Swank and I am an associate professor of counselor education at the University of Florida. I am honored to be nominated to serve as President-Elect for the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling. It has been a privilege to have served AARC in a variety of capacities including Treasurer, Conference Chairperson of the 2012 AARC conference, Emerging Scholar, and member of the Diversity Committee, and to continue to serve as an editorial board member for Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation. It was also an honor to receive the 2017 AARC Exemplary Practice Award: Professional. My research and teaching interests align with the mission of AARC, including a research emphasis on assessment and instrument development in counseling practice and counselor development. I am proud and excited to be a part of an organization that focuses on advancing assessment and research within the counseling profession and I would be honored to serve AARC as President-Elect. As President-Elect, I would be dedicated to working with the AARC leadership team to continue to advance the mission of AARC. This includes supporting existing initiatives, while also developing new initiatives to enhance services to members, foster continued growth of the organization, and promote best practices in assessment and research for the counseling profession.

Stephanie Crockett

I am honored to have been nominated for President-Elect of AARC and look forward to serving our membership if elected. My involvement with AARC began as a master’s counseling student where I received a warm welcome from members. I have continued to make AARC my professional “home” for the past 10 years. I currently serve on the AARC Executive Council and have held the offices of treasurer and MAL-Awards. In these leadership positions, I have had the opportunity to help grow our organization and ensure its continued vitality. I also served a member of the Diversity in Assessment and Research Committee which produced the AARC Standards for Multicultural Research. Serving in these capacities, I am familiar with AARC’s leadership and governance procedures, as well as the organization’s financial and organizational structure. I believe that my leadership experience and organizational knowledge have prepared me to serve in the position of President-Elect. I am seeking this position because I have a deep commitment to AARC. I have received invaluable mentorship as a student and professional from AARC members. I consider it a privilege to be able to give back to an organization that has given me much. If elected, I would continue to support our mission of promoting and recognizing excellence in assessment, research, and evaluation in the following ways: 

  • Give back to our membership through continually enhancing the emerging leaders program and supported scholarships
  • Support our leadership team as the organization works to improve our online presence 
  • Collaborate with ACA divisions, branches, and regions to promote best practices in research, assessment and evaluation
  • Continue our national, regional, and state advocacy efforts with regards to assessment and evaluation 
  • Support the continued growth of MECD and CORE
It would be an honor to continuing serving AARC and its membership if elected as President-Elect.


Governing Council Representative

Donna Gibson

It has been my privilege to serve in several leadership roles in the counseling profession, including those related to training counselors in university programs as well as those in professional organizations. Currently, I am serving as AARC Governing Council representative, Chi Sigma Iota International Exemplar Editor, and Chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Counseling and Special Education. Although these three roles sound very different from each other, the commonality is that they require me to see the “bigger” picture and make impactful decisions. In leading, I have learned that these decisions also come with tremendous responsibility. As a member of the Governing Council since 2015, the political climate in our country has experienced several shifts that has required the Governing Council to respond thoughtfully and expediently. During these times, I observed the Governing Council gathering the necessary information from ACA staff and considering this information for potential consequences before making decisions. With the intention of serving the whole profession as a member of Governing Council, it reminded me that leadership does not favor a few but serves all. In the years to come, there is no doubt that there will be a need to make more difficult decisions if I am serving on Governing Council. I intend to continue advocating for resources for research to demonstrate evidence-based counseling and promoting core professional identity as a counselor in the decisions that are made by the Governing Council. With our current work on the ACA strategic plan, I will use these same ideas as we look forward to setting ACA goals in addition to responding to the needs of the profession. Undeniably, advocacy will underpin addressing future and current needs. As always, it is an honor to be nominated to serve our profession.

Rick Balkin

I am honored that AARC identified me as a nominee for ACA Governing Council Representative. As a long time AARC member, I have served the division in numerous capacities (e.g., President, Editor of Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, committee memberships). Additionally, I serve ACA in a variety of roles (e.g., ACA Research and Knowledge Committee Chair, ACA Publications Committee Member, Professional Standards Committee Member, Editor for the Journal of Counseling & Development). I believe I have a firm grasp of ACA’s mission and our role in the counseling profession. In the past 10 years ACA has grown considerably and worked to address issues of portability, membership, advocacy, and advancement of the counseling profession. An ongoing challenge is that too many counselors do not join ACA. I hope to be able to bring a voice to how ACA can continue to market their excellent resources to the counseling profession and move the profession forward with a vibrant, active membership. Even today other professional organizations attempt to limit the scope of practice for professional counselors. Producing data that demonstrates the role counseling plays in addressing society’s needs is extremely important, and I will advocate for ACA to commit resources to that end. In closing, you have two strong, experienced professionals seeking this position, and you really cannot go wrong with either one of us. Still, I would really appreciate the opportunity to serve in this role.


Ryan Cook

I am honored by the nomination to serve as Secretary for the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC). AARC plays an important role in helping counselors and counselor educators identify and integrate best practices in assessment and research. Through the dissemination of practical resources and quality scholarship, AARC is pushing the field of counseling forward so that we can best serve our clients and demonstrate our effectiveness as counselors. I believe my experiences as a licensed professional counselor and counselor educator have prepared me to serve in the capacity of Secretary. During my doctoral program at Virginia Tech, I worked as a graduate assistant in the Office of Assessment and Evaluation. Now as an Assistant Professor at The University of Alabama, I serve as the Clinical Mental Health representative four our CACREP Assessment Committee, and as the faculty advisor for the Rho Chapter of Chi Sigma Iota. Over the past year, I had the pleasure of serving on the AARC Assessment Committee and as a member of the editorial board for Counseling Outcome Research and Evolution. I would be humbled to work with AARC leaders to support the mission of AARC. Thank you for the opportunity to run for the position of Secretary for AARC, and I appreciate your consideration.

Member at Large, Awards

Madeline Clark

I am seeking office as the Member-at-Large, Membership in AARC because I believe in the mission of the division. I am committed to the cause of research and assessment in counselor education. AARC became my ACA divisional home as doctoral student at Old Dominion University; I have been a member for five years. AARC has been instrumental in my development as a counselor educator and researcher. I am running for the MAL-Membership position because I know, personally, how AARC has impacted my career progression. I’ve been exposed to mentorship, writing and publication opportunities, and scholarly support through my membership in AARC. I feel at this point in my career as a counselor educator, it is paramount that I serve the division that has been so instrumental in my own development. I have been involved with AARC in a variety of capacities. First, I was a member of the AARC diversity committee which created and published the AARC Standards for Multicultural Research (2016). Additionally, I was the 2015 AARC Donald Hood Student Research Grant awardee. I received my MSEd in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (2013) and PhD in Counselor Education (2016) both from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I am currently employed as an Assistant Professor and Doctoral Program Coordinator at The University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. I am pleased to have been nominated for the AARC MAL-Membership position and I hope you will consider my qualifications and experience to serve the division.

Dennis Lin

Candidate information unavailable