Each host institution, in its application to host Student Affiliates of Seventeen, must identify areas it will focus on during its term. These areas of focus are called pillars, and they will form a foundation for our work during our three years as SAS host. The areas we have identified as essential to our field are: Multiculturalism; Scholarship, Engagement, and Collaboration; Social Justice and Advocacy; and Prevention and Promotion in Mental Health. Learn more about the pillars and our plans for our term as SAS host below.
Pillar I: Multiculturalism
Multicultural issues in counseling psychology have gained attention in recent years, and multiple efforts have been made to increase multicultural education and awareness. The Multiculturalism pillar not only supports and encourages diversity in a multitude of settings, but also focuses on expanding awareness to multicultural engagement in research and practice. Our goals include: facilitating increased research collaboration across academic settings and maximizing resources and the impact of research; consolidating multicultural resources for practitioners and students to increase access of information, promote learning, and provide a platform to multicultural advocates to address needs of various populations; increasing the visibility and accessibility of current practitioners and researchers who demonstrate multicultural competence, and continuing to engage students in discussion about current events related to issues of diversity.
Pillar II: Scholarship, Engagement, and Collaboration
Engagement of early career professionals is related to their long-term success. Thus, engaging students prior to employment increases the likelihood that they remain professionally involved upon degree completion. We believe this is done effectively by encouraging engagement with the professional organization and collaboration between organization members. As such, we have developed several concrete initiatives focusing on the themes of scholarship, engagement, and collaboration to further this objective.
We posit that creating opportunities for affiliates to meet in person will increase their participation in SAS. Utilizing the SAS Program Representative Network can help us achieve this end. As the host institution, we will encourage and provide support to regional and program representatives in the creation of in-person networking opportunities and events for SAS members. SAS pillar co-chairs will meet monthly either in person or electronically with regional coordinators to discuss networking activities. In turn, regional coordinators will meet semi-regularly with SAS program representatives in their region to discuss which schools will host regional networking events. We propose that one school in each region host one networking event per semester open to all SAS affiliates. In order to model such an event, BSU will host the first event in Region 4, which will include a tour of the department, meet-and-greet with faculty and current students, and a keynote address delivered by a current faculty member. This will be followed by an informal get-together where students can discuss relevant topics and get to know one another. Greater familiarity between students and faculty will enhance the preexisting roundtable discussions established by Cleveland State University (CSU) and the opportunity for programs to host SAS events will also increase SAS’s visibility on campuses.
While our first proposal addresses in-person networking, there are people with marginalized identities located throughout the country who may not have access to peers or mentors with similar identities. For this reason, we intend to continue and expand CSU’s E-Mentoring initiative. To increase engagement, we propose directly contacting faculty at various programs via program representatives to assess interest. We also recognize many students are interested in full-time practice. Thus, we intend to engage SCP members who are in full-time practice as mentors. Finally, we believe it is important to facilitate not only vertical relationships but also peer-to-peer relationships. Similar to the E-Mentoring system, our E-Buddy System will utilize program representatives to contact students in their school who are interested in developing a relationship with individuals with similar minority identities in other programs.
In the interest of increasing collaboration between research-minded and practice-oriented students, we have developed a Bridging the Gap Award. To apply for the award students will submit short videos that will explain the relevance of their research in practice settings. The host institution, regional coordinators and program representatives will review submissions and the winners will be featured on all pertinent media. These videos will serve as tools for practitioners, and increase engagement of SAS members throughout the scientist-practitioner continuum.
Pillar III: Social Justice and Advocacy
Social justice is not only a pillar of SAS but also a long-standing focus in the Counseling Psychology field as it is part of the APA and ACA competencies. Throughout our time as SAS host institution, we aim to increase awareness of ongoing social justice efforts and promote the development of additional efforts by student affiliates through 1) increasing awareness of legislative issues and calls to action through media, including social media, website, newsletter, and listservs and 2) promoting social justice in research and practice through collaboration with APAGS ACT, awards, national advocacy day, and the Great Lakes and APA Conferences
Pillar IV: Prevention and Promotion
Prevention is considered a hallmark of the field of counseling psychology. The prevention and promotion pillar is committed to highlighting prevention related activities within Division 17 as well as encouraging and supporting students to engage in prevention work. Prevention work and the promotion of positive well-being go hand in hand, thus as a pillar we will strive to share resources for promoting positive mental health among graduate students and within the larger community. We have some exciting projects planned during our time as SAS host institution. The following is a list of what the prevention and promotion pillar currently has in the works:
1) Developing and organizing online resources for prevention, self-care, and ethical practice decision-making.
2) Developing opportunities for SAS members to share their research and practices in prevention, ethics, and health promotion through social media, the SAS website and SAS listserv as a way to enhance professional development.
3) Planning self-care activities for student affiliates at national, regional, and local conferences.
4)Developing a general protocol for SAS members to use as a way to help them plan and implement prevention and wellness programs in their communities.
5) Developing a prevention focused award to acknowledge an individual, group, or program that exemplifies how they promote prevention within the field of Counseling Psychology.