President-Elect Candidate, Spencer Niles
Dr. Spencer Niles, LPC, NCC, is Professor and Dean of the School of Education at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has also served as Distinguished Professor and Department Head for Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at Pennsylvania State University as well as Professor and Assistant Dean at the University of Virginia. He is a Fellow of the American Counseling Association and the National Career Development Association. He is also the recipient of the National Career Development Association’s Eminent Career Award, ACA’s President’s Award, ACA’s Thomas J. Sweeney Award for Visionary Leadership and Advocacy, the ACA David Brooks Distinguished Mentor Award, the ACA Extended Research Award, and the University of British Columbia Noted Scholar Award. He served as President for the National Career Development Association, Editor for The Career Development Quarterly and Editor of the Journal of Counseling & Development. He has authored or co-authored approximately 120 publications and delivered over 140 presentations on career development theory, practice, and public policy. He is an Honorary Member of the Japanese Career Development Association, Honorary Member of the Italian Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance, a member of the Executive Board for the International Centre for Public Policy and Career Development, and a Lifetime Honorary Member of the Ohio Career Development Association. He is a member of CSI, ACA, NCDA, ACES, ASERVIC, and ASCA.
The Impact of Chi Sigma Iota
I am honored to be nominated for the opportunity to serve as CSI President. The history of CSI links to the rise of excellence within our profession over the past 28 years. The strengthening of our professional identity, the increasing excellence demonstrated in counseling research, the crucial services provided by counselors globally, and the advocacy efforts occurring at all levels, connect to the mission and raison d’etre of CSI. Consistently, CSI members have been at the table when critical issues confronting our profession have been addressed. This presence has had a major impact on our profession. I have been honored to have had opportunities to engage in leadership roles over the past 26 years as a counselor educator and CSI member at the University of Virginia, Penn State, and now at the College of William & Mary.
Advocating for Counseling Professionals
Counseling professionals recognize the importance of advocacy. We take pride in our counselor education identity and for good reason. Our stories are too good not to be told and we are becoming more effective at communicating the stories of the essential work counselors do in every setting and with clients of all ages. Much of the credit for this can be ascribed to CSI. With 286 active chapters, over 90,000 initiated members, and over 600 counselor educators (as of the time this is being written), the reach of CSI is impressive but that reach must be sustained and extended. As president, I am committed to advocating for the excellence that our members demonstrate daily. Advocacy must occur at all levels: locally, through the impact we make on our communities; at the state level, through our active support of funding for counseling services and client access to those services; at the national level, where our voice must be heard as we educate legislators and policy makers relative to who we are, what we do, and why our services are so desperately needed. There is much work yet to do and the need is great.
Striving for Excellence
Professional counselors understand the importance of striving for excellence. Striving for excellence occurs at multiple levels but individual chapters offer key opportunities for emerging and experienced counselors to demonstrate excellence. Providing support and resources for individual chapters represents a critical role for the CSI President and I am committed to doing that as actively as possible. Sharing and showcasing best practices at the individual chapter levels sustains creative and positive energy. Activities that involve advocating for social justice and equity represent important grassroots ways that CSI members make a difference in their communities and demonstrate excellence. However, there is much yet to do and the need is great.
Connecting and Collaborating for Advocacy and Excellence
Although the need is great and the substantial work yet to do can feel overwhelming, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. When we connect to our counseling community writ large, our influence becomes magnified. Serving as a co-editor for the recently published book, Counseling Around the World, reinforced for me the amazing influence our profession has globally and the incredibly diverse contexts in which counselors work to make a difference. We have much to learn from each other, if I am fortunate enough to serve as CSI President, I will strive to strengthen our international connections to expand our advocacy efforts as we strive for excellence globally.
Although I write this statement from the perspective of my goals for the CSI Presidency, this statement is really about the leadership roles we each play every day. If elected, I would be honored and humbled to serve a your Chi Sigma Iota President to advocate on your behalf and support the excellence you demonstrate daily. Even though there is much work to do and the need is great, it is my sense that, together, we are up to the challenge.