President-Elect, Shawn Spurgeon
Dr. Shawn L. Spurgeon is an Associate Professor of Counselor Education at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, currently serving as Coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. He is currently the faculty advisor for the Upsilon Theta chapter of Chi Sigma Iota.
Dr. Spurgeon serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling Research and Practice and the The Professional Counselor. He currently serves as President for the Southern Association of Counselor Educators and Supervisors (SACES) and as the Past-President for the Association of Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC). He is the first recipient of the Courtland C. Lee Multicultural Excellence Scholarship Award. He is currently licensed as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in North Carolina and Tennessee.
As I reflect on my own personal growth and professional development, I realize that CSI has been instrumental in helping me live out its intended mission for its members. I value the opportunity to continue to build on the legacy established by its founders and enhanced by the wonderful and talented counselor educators who have served in this capacity before me. I hope to maintain CSI’s presence by focusing on two critical areas of development: chapter collaboration and research partnerships.
One of the major strengths of CSI is its structure. The founders of the organization understood the need for the combination of both a national presence and grass-root efforts at the state and regional levels to support developing counselors and counselor educators. CSI chapters play a vital role in helping counselors-in-training develop a strong counselor identity by connecting the trainees with relevant resources essential for their development. I encourage you to take a look at past publications of the Exemplar to gain a better understanding of the important role chapters have in the development of the counseling profession.
I would like to expand this role by increasing collaborative efforts amongst chapters. CSI has already encouraged this collaborative process by creating statewide networking grants. I would like to expand on this idea by finding ways to place this collaboration at the forefront of chapters’ grass-roots efforts. Such efforts are essential to the development of a strong presence in a given state and I believe that we can provide an even stronger foundation for these efforts by increasing the importance of chapter collaboration.
An essential element of the growth of the counseling profession is the ability to disseminate relevant research that highlights evidence-based practices and interventions necessary to support the clinical work counselors do. Accordingly, counselor educators are encouraged to engage in research and critical thinking about the techniques and skills they teach their trainees. CSI has been a relevant part of this engagement, developing chapter and research grants for its members.
I would like to enhance these research opportunities by creating stronger collaborative efforts between counselor training programs and practicing counselors. The goal of this initiative would be to strengthen the alumni presence in CSI chapters. It can be very difficult for practicing counselors to engage in research projects. This challenge can be met by connecting CSI alumni members with faculty. There are some strong connections that can be made and these connections can most certainly enhance the grass-root efforts of mental health counselors and school counselors across the country.
Life is full of surprises, daily challenges, and ups and downs. Regardless of our situations, we work hard to push through the challenges and value the experiences along the way. I am humbled to have been afforded the personal and professional development experiences I have encountered and so appreciative of the support I have received from CSI and other professional organizations. It would be an honor to serve as President-Elect for this organization.