If you build it, will they come? Exploring the future of training and professional development in college counseling

By Morgan Appel, director of UC San Diego Extension's Education Department; and Steven Mercer, Ed.D., instructor and founder, Mercer Educational Consulting

Online college counseling certificate programs offered by a number of University of California Extension campuses have become one of the most ubiquitous sources of training and professional development for college counselors in general and Independent Educational Consultants in particular. As these programs see dramatic growth, along with drawing more enrollments from around the globe, administrators and instructors are making decisions about curriculum, practica supervision, and other administrative program components that will influence the quality of certificate training for years to come.

As this burgeoning field expands to meet the requirements of an increasingly diverse and sophisticated marketplace, certificate training and ongoing professional development must change. Beyond incorporating research and embracing established best practices, there is a manifest need to lend voice to practitioners and to modify programming accordingly. The time-tested aphorism may be true in the movies, but is much less so in the certification of College Counselors and Independent Educational Consultants. One may build it—but it must be built to spec; contextually grounded in the realities of the work at hand; and facilitate employment for aspiring professionals.

In a concerted effort to advance these discussions, a panel representing programs from four University of California campuses will convene at the annual conference of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) in San Diego, California. Beyond discussing the current and future state of the field, participants and practitioners are invited to share feedback and help shape programming, curriculum, and identify new areas or platforms for professional development.

The panel is scheduled for Thursday, November 14, 2013 from 1:30 – 2:45 pm and will include Morgan Appel and Steven Mercer, UC San Diego Extension; Steven Antonoff, UC Irvine Extension; Esther Hugo, UCLA Extension; and Annette Webb, UC Riverside Extension. For those unable to attend the panel session, proceedings will be transcribed and summarized for this site.

We invite you to explore our offerings in College Counseling (http://extension.ucsd.edu/programs/index.cfm?vAction=certDetail&vCertificateID=35&vStudyAreaID=8) and hope that you will contact Morgan Appel (mappel@ucsd.edu) for more information about this article, opportunities in College Counseling, or the IECA conference.

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