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.
ACCA DIVISION CANDIDATES
I am honored to be nominated for President-Elect for ACCA. I have worked as a counselor in college and university settings for over 18 years. I have worked at a smaller liberal arts college, at a community college, and at a large land-grant university. In each setting, I feel I have learned invaluable lessons about myself as a clinician, leader and supervisor, and about the needs of students in the college environment. The landscape of our profession continues to change with the times and the demands placed on our systems will likely not lessen in the near future. As college counselors, we must creatively meet the needs of students entrusted in our care, reduce stigma around mental health issues, and reach out to students in underrepresented populations. Our roles within the university and college environment are complex and essential. The services we provide to students go beyond mental health and safety issues to also directly impact retention, graduation, and university inclusion efforts. To meet these myriad needs we must make strategic use of the resources we have available, seek to gain additional resources, and develop strategies to work within our given settings to increase access to students. In that we often ask ourselves how can I do the most benefit with each resource, I am a strong proponent of program evaluation and data driven decisions in resource allocation. Counseling centers provide a rich, fertile training ground for counselors-in-training. In supporting training, college counselors contribute to the profession, increase the resources at little cost, and promotes professional development. ACCA is wonderfully positioned to support all of these efforts within the college counseling environment. I am proud to work to further the goals of this organization and am excited to lend my energies to the role of President-Elect.
Rebecca “Becca” Smith
I am currently involved with the ACCA as the Social Media Committee Chair. I became the Chair in February 2016 am currently serving a two year term. As the Social Media Chair, I built the committee up from just myself to a five person committee. The main goal is to reach all members (even hopefully future members) and provide them with resources and information about counseling and events that the ACCA is hosting, especially the annual ACCA conference. I have gotten the chance to meet many great people through being a part of the Social Media Committee. It’s one the best parts of becoming more involved. Being part of both the ACA and the ACCA have challenged me to meet new people and build better clinical skills. I believe I have I have the organizational and leadership skills to be the Secretary, but I’m always want to grow in new ways. As my role as secretary I hope to continue to grow in my leadership abilities and have more of an impact on how our organization educates, supports and encourages counselors, especially college counselors. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to serve on the ACCA Exec Board and would be honored if chosen as Secretary.
Member At Large
I believe I am distinctively qualified to be a Member-at-Large for the ACCA executive counsel. This is due to my leadership experience as a staff clinician at the George Washington University and my past position as director of counseling at the University of North Texas at Dallas. I have a unique passion for working with emerging adults in university settings. During my time in university settings, I have worked with many diverse and marginalized populations and have a specific passion for working with LGBTQ+ and veteran populations. Furthermore, this past year I worked tirelessly to serve the profession presenting 14 times at 13 different conferences. My favorite presentations were on an innovative case management model utilizing social workers and counselors in college counseling centers, creative interventions when working with university veterans, and LGBTQ+ student-athletes and career transition. Besides presenting I am an active member of MCA, ACA, EAPA, ACES, NCDA, and AASP. Additionally, in 2016 I was awarded ACCA’s emerging leaders award and look forward to using my leadership skillset to contribute to strengthen ACCA’s executive counsel. A final aspect of my identity is my role as a Ph.D. student at The George Washington University in Counselor Education and Supervision. I believe this signifies my commitment to growth and learning to contribute to the profession. As a Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee, I would strive to push forward initiatives that bring ethical best practices to counseling centers and college mental health. I am passionate about outreach and growing the membership of the organization through inclusiveness to all licensures and identities that serve students. I am excited about ACCA’s national conference, symposium, research grant, and emerging leaders program. I would like to continue to see these programs grow in exposure through creative advertising. I am enthusiastic about the direction of ACCA.
As an Outreach and Groups Coordinator, I am eager to share my knowledge and collaboratively work to increase the visibility of ACCA, assist in developing and supporting State Divisions, and increase communication between State and National Divisions. After being part of multiple multidisciplinary teams, particularly working with eating disorders, I believe that the most effective provision of clinical services to college students requires consultation and teamwork. Similarly, I believe that associations that consist of members from multiple disciplines have the benefit of sharing knowledge and learning from one another in ways that allow for substantial growth as a professional community. I am very eager to assist ACCA in recruiting from various disciplines and grow membership. Strengths which I will bring to these interactions are enthusiasm, initiative, open-mindedness, creativity, and optimism, as well as excellent time management and organizational skills. I envision coordinating online/phone meetings that allow members from State Divisions to learn from and support one another, as well as to feel more connected with, supported by, and heard by the National Division. I am also excited to ensure that all types of colleges and universities are represented in these conversations (e.g., community colleges, technical colleges). I am eager to utilize this information to create a State Divisions’ handbook of “Lessons Learned”. Finally, as Outreach Coordinator, I frequently network and connect with other community professionals, organizations, and businesses. I am confident that I would be able to successfully bring more resources (e.g., eating disorder facilities) to our ACCA conferences, which would allow both the visibility of ACCA as well as members’ knowledge and potentially training opportunities to expand. I am honored and excited to be considered to be a member of the ACCA Executive Council, and to assist in its growth as a well-recognized, appreciate, and respected organization.