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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Allison E. Buller
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Exploring the Experiences of Counselor Educators Recognized for Their Excellence in Teaching
Dr. Stephen Craig, Chair
Dr. Gary Bischof
Dr. Patricia Reeves
Date: Monday, December 17, 2012 10:00 a.m. to noon
3335 Sangren Hall
Teaching is a deeply held value for counselor educators. However, counselor education programs have historically provided only minimal attention to preparing doctoral students to actually teach. Further, little of the research in the field of counselor education addresses the way counselor educators are prepared to teach. Using qualitative methods, this study engages counselor educators identified as “Excellent” teachers in an examination of the meaningful experiences that contributed to their development as faculty in counselor education. By exploring the experiences that prepared them to teach, excellent teachers provide the next generation of faculty members with rich descriptive strategies for teacher preparation in counselor education.
This study applies the term “Excellent” to counselor education faculty (a) who are recipients of the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision’s (NCACES) Outstanding Professional Teaching Award; (b) and those identified by Counselor Education department chairs as excellent teachers. Ten counselor educators, recognized for their excellence in teaching, participate in this study. Data is collected during initial and follow-up interviews with participants. Phenomenological methods of data analysis are used to formulate a collective description of meaningful experiences related to the development of excellent teachers in counselor education. Three common themes are identified in this study: 1) Teacher-training: the meaningful training experiences that prepared participants to teach; 2) Influential instructors: previous instructors and the meaningful qualities that made them influential; 3) Personal style as teachers: meaningful qualities used by participants to describe their personal style as a teacher. The common themes support the existing literature in counselor education on the benefits of real-world teaching experiences for doctoral students in counselor education. Findings also support the higher education literature on the need for teacher-mentors as models of excellent teaching. Implications of the findings for counselor education research and practice are discussed.