Counseling & Applied Educational Psychology

History of Program

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The College Student Development and Counseling program at Northeastern University emerged from the School Counseling program. Traditionally the program offered an Ed.D. in School Counseling. During the 1960's and as a result of the guidance movement, new disciplines including career, school, and college counseling sprung forth. A student driven initiative resulted in the development of masters programs in these areas for students were more interested in community counseling and college counseling. In the mid-sixties, Dr. William Quill supervised the community counseling program and Dr. Tom Harrington became the first Director of the College Counseling Program. Dr. Harrington had extensive experience in College Student Personnel. Dr. Robert Read was an advisor to the College Student Personnel program and eventually became the next director of the program. He served as the director of the program for seven years. At the time of Dr. Read's tenure as director, the program had approximately 25 students enrolled in practicum experiences in the field of student personnel.

Dr. Jane Fried became the program's director in 1989, working closely with Dr. Reed. They made a great team by coupling his experience in school counseling with her expertise in college student development administration. Dr. Fried spent much of her time updating the curriculum and the mission of the program. She reflected in an interview that there were shifting paradigms in student activities. During the early years of the profession housing and residence life were the central themes in student life. Today, she says that housing only occupies about 20% of the student affairs agenda.

During Dr. Fried's tenure as director of the program, the program changed from granting a Masters of Education (M.Ed.) degree to that of granting a Masters of Science. The curriculum of the College Student Development and Counseling Program came to include all aspects of student affairs including financial aid, enrollment management, residence life, health and wellness, student activities, academic advisement, career services, and practice oriented education.

When Dr. Fried departed Northeastern University in 1998, Dr. Larry Litwack became the interim director of the program. During his two years as the director, the program adopted a course on Law and Higher Education.

In fall 2005, Dr. George Thompson became the program's second full-time faculty member. Dr. Thompson received his doctorate in Counseling and Student Personnel Services from the University of Georgia. He brought a wealth of experience and knowledge in student affairs administration, student development theory, disability services, and career counseling. In spring 2009, Dr. Thompson departed from Northeastern University. During his four years as an Assistant Professor, the program established and introduced an advanced college student development theory course. The course builds off of what students learn in introduction to student development and helps students gain a greater understanding of existing research and implementation of student development theory in practice. As the average college student evolves student affairs practitioners with greater student development theory background are needed. This course addresses this need and prepares CSDC graduates for the evolving students they will encounter.

Dr. Johnson has worked to develop a completely unique course in group dynamics. The second year students in the CSDC program take Dr. Johnson's group dynamics course during their final semester. The course gives students background and foundation to help them interact, manage, lead and advise groups of students, professionals and colleagues. The course implements a unique aspect as students work in the same small groups for the entire semester and each class period is run by these small groups presenting on the projects they have been working on. It truly provides a dynamic environment for students to not only learn about, but to experience group dynamics.

While realizing the growing trend in assessment in student affairs and the need for student affairs practitioners trained in assessment methods, Dr. Johnson decided a new course was needed in the program. Dr. Johnson worked with Dr. Catherine Pride, an assessment practitioner, to develop a new course in assessment practices in student affairs. Students learn the basics of assessment and then through a group project apply best practices in assessment to a functional area of student affairs through the design of a written assessment plan.

Today, Dr. Vanessa Johnson is spearheading the program's development as it prepares student affairs professionals for the 21st century.

The program addresses issues of increased diversity and globalization, burgeoning technological adaptations/advancements, financial constraints, and a changing political culture. New courses continue to be added to the core curriculum in response to these changes in college communities. The program continues to embrace the practicum experience as a laboratory for student affairs professionals to develop and refine skills needed to advance in the rapidly changing field of college student development. Dr. Johnson was responsible for converting the program from the quarter system to the semester system. Under the semester system, Dr. Johnson has introduced more courses that relate to the understanding and practice of student affairs while continuing to embrace the student development aspects of student affairs administrators.


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Contact Info

Óscar F Gonçalves, PhD
404 Int'l Village
Boston, MA 02115
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