Stephens College today welcomed a group of educators from Hong Kong who were in Missouri this week learning about the school counseling process.
Missouri’s model of school guidance is considered one of the strongest in the nation, in large part because of the collaboration that occurs between the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and those preparing students to become school counselors.
During a lunchtime presentation, Dr. Gina Sanders, director of the Master of Education in Counseling at Stephens gave the dignitaries an overview of the program, and instructor Carolyn Roof provided a more detailed look at the coursework. Among the visitors from China were school development officers and educational administrators.
Stephens is unique in that graduate-level counseling courses are taught in the evening, allowing students to work full-time. That said, program advisors work closely with students to balance their schedules when they’re ready for practicum experiences in area schools, Roof said.
“We advise and assist them to develop individualized academic plans,” she said.
Roughly 130 students are enrolled in the counseling program at Stephens, including men and women. Eighteen instructors, most of whom are either retired or working professionals in the field, teach the courses. In addition to Roof, who has decades of experience working at the elementary level in Columbia Public Schools, Ann Landes, who was a longtime guidance counselor at Hickman High School, is also part of the counseling faculty.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education led the group’s week-long visit, which also included stops at Benton Elementary, a STEM-focused school in Columbia, and the University of Missouri.
During her welcome, Stephens President Dianne Lynch gave the group an overview of the undergraduate side of the college, explaining that Stephens is a student-centered college that prepares women for life, not simply a job. In today’s technological and mobile world, young people need to develop their passion and a skill set that translates to various careers, she said.Asked how to foster that passion, Lynch advised the educators to simply listen to what students are saying, identify their strengths and encourage them.
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