Brian Dew, Ph.D. is the chair of Counseling and Psychological Services.
His background includes:
- Coordinating the master’s and Ed.S. programs in Mental Health Counseling
- Leadership positions with the American Counseling Association
- Past president of the Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Counseling
- Treasurer for the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES)
Dew’s research on addictive disorders earned him the following awards:
- 2007 Outstanding Faculty Research Award from the College of Education & Human Development at Georgia State
- 2007 Outstanding Addictions and Offender Professional Award by the Association of Addictions and Offender Counseling
- 2009 Courtland Lee Social Justice Award from the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES)
Dew has been the chair for six years and discusses the evolution of the department over those years.
Q: What attracted you to this position?
I assumed the chair position in the summer of 2011. I had been the program coordinator of the Mental Health Counseling program. I enjoyed working with faculty and students to reach program goals. I also served as the primary point person for the CACREP self-study, which I enjoyed.
I was fortunate to move into the department chair position. I’ve kept up a research agenda, as I am active in service in the profession. But as chair, I succeed when the department succeeds.
It’s my responsibility to advocate for our students, faculty and staff. And to ensure that department members have the resources they need to be meet their goals.
My main goals coming in as chair were to:
- Improve student educational experiences
- Increase the efficiency of our operations
- Work with faculty and staff to enhance our research infrastructure
- Provide a safe and collaborative work environment
- Make sure I was advocating for our students, staff and faculty
We train psychologists and counselors to go out into the community and provide efficient research-based interventions that will make a difference with clients.
We also prepare academics to go out into the field as professors and researchers. We’ve enhanced our research efforts and our reputation as researchers.
When I took over this position, the department was in a very different place. We had a different dean. We were bringing in approximately $200,000 a year in external funding. Now we’re at about 1.6 million. We’ve increased our credit hour production. And all our programs are doing well in enrollment. Never have our graduates received jobs at such a national rate as they are right now.
The scope of student and faculty advocacy had tremendous growth in these years.
Q: How have you seen social changes and issues reflected in the field of counseling?
There is real energy in this department around social advocacy and justice. We work to help faculty and student interests in those areas. Many of our faculty have taken on community-based research projects. Some have responded to community-based needs.
For example, we had faculty members respond to flooding in the Southeast. They provided on-site clinical services to those affected by the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. They served as liaisons to the community as trainers and first responders.
We’ve placed a lot of emphasis on training for international work. We’ll be taking a group of students to Africa to learn more about how the counseling profession integrates into particular countries. And how the HIV epidemic is currently affecting communities. They’ll also look at the effectiveness of school counseling in these communities.
Our students have an interest in social justice. They want to make contributions to advance multiculturalism in psychology and counseling professions.
I’ve seen our students taking on advocacy roles in the community. They’ve gone to the Georgia capital and advocated for our professions. Students are marching in parades for civil rights. They’re writing their congressmen and congresswomen on the national and state levels. They’re going to the state capital. They’re even going to Washington, D.C.
Q: What are some of the department research interests?
Our department’s research initiatives are incredibly varied.
We have faculty researching bullying and populations forced into sex trade in Atlanta. We work with refugees. We look at issues of HIV and conduct community-based research around drug abuse.
We look at the intersection of marginalized populations, including sexual orientation, gender, race, ability, socioeconomic status and issues of perfectionism.
We have labs housed in the department that integrate principals of positive psychology. We emphasize training mental health clinicians to prevent suicide. Also, we invest in play therapy research.
Q: In what ways do faculty and staff interact with students?
The part of my job that I enjoy the most is talking with students. I ask them about their programs and classes. I get an understanding of what has stood out for them.
Our faculty and staff have an open door policy with students, as well. Faculty collaborates with students on research and writing.
Our students present research at conferences with faculty. They travel across the nation and overseas.
Our students place in national service roles due to mentoring from our faculty.
We have active centers associated with the department. These centers allow for collaboration between students and faculty. They pursue research. Graduate students receive training in interest areas and in our centers such as:
- Center for Leadership in Disability
- Center for the Study of Stress, Trauma and Resilience
- Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management
- HAPPI Lab
- IaM PRIDE
- Play Therapy Training Institute
Q. What do you see as the key strengths of the department?
One of the strengths of the department is where we’re located. Diversity is part of Atlanta and Georgia State. We live in a large metropolitan area. This gives us diverse sites for our students to complete clinical practicums and internships. Often, that’s the interest applicants share with us because of that emphasis.
We’re able to mentor students in our areas of expertise because of the size and scope of our faculty. This reality creates an in-depth learning environment.
Q: What do you envision for the department in the future?
We’d love to increase our international efforts. Faculty want to develop different travel abroad programs for students. I’d like these programs to be reciprocal. I’d like to see students from other countries come and learn here in our department.
We also hope to continue our success in our efforts to get external funding. It’s not unrealistic to think in the next five years we will exceed the two million if not three million dollar mark in external funding. In 2011, we ranked dead last in the ranking of the departments in the college as far as external funding. Now, we rank third. It’s my goal for us to rank in the top two, if not in the top position in the next few years.
With some of that external funding, I would like to see us increase the size of our doctoral programs. By increasing the number of faculty and the amount of external funding, we’re able to take more doctoral students and place them on projects.
We have many programs entering into the re-accreditation process with CACREP. Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling will enter that accreditation process for the first time. Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling will become our fourth CACREP accredited program in 2019.
Recognized as a unique discipline in counselor education, rehabilitation counseling is growing. Graduates will need doctoral programs in rehabilitation counseling. We’ll need faculty with expertise in that area of rehabilitation counseling.
We’re also excited to welcome new faculty members, Erin Mason, Ph.D. and Marisa Franco, Ph.D. are our latest additions. They provide unique contributions to the school counseling and counseling psychology programs.
Q: What unique opportunities are available to our students?
Our information sessions for potential students are valuable and unique. Once or twice a month, people come to campus, learn about our programs and admission standards. They ask questions and meet the faculty. Students that staff our office are from the programs. Knowledgeable about the programs, they are our frontline information resources.
We’re not looking at GRE scores or undergraduate GPAs when we’re reviewing applications. We look for students with a wide range of experiences and achievements. We look for those who are going to make a unique contribution to their program. We’ve worked very hard to create and modify our programs on a cohort basis. Our cohorts are close and very diverse. Our students matriculate through the program together. This allows them to collaborate and challenge each other. They’re encouraged to look inward at any particular barriers or biases they may have that could impede work with a client.
Our many training grants, specifically in the areas of school psychology and rehabilitation counseling, provide financial help to students while they complete academic programs.
We strive for funding for our doctoral students. We try to provide full tuition waivers.
Our master’s students have opportunities for graduate assistantships that provide tuition waivers.
We have a very high success rate in both program completion and job placement.
Our faculty members and programs are internationally recognized worldwide. They are visible in their respective professional organizations.
These levels of recognition and visibility help advance placement. Our students can get professional service opportunities and leadership roles.
Q: What stands out to you about our faculty and staff?
A key aspect of a successful department this large and collaborative is efficiency. Our outstanding staff members understand this complex interaction of multiple systems at the department, college and university level. Our staff and faculty members work closely together to ensure effectiveness.
We have a high-quality group of instructors and researchers. They are so invested in student growth. They provide an effective educational environment for students. They conduct instrumental research. Also, our faculty has an incredible number of national service roles.
They are great collaborators in the department beyond being good instructors and researchers. We do more together than we could in isolation.
The biggest accomplishment from my time as chair is the hiring of high-quality instructors and researchers.
When I started as chair, we had 16 faculty. Now, we have 23 faculty and we’re growing. It’s due to the hard work of our faculty and staff that allows us to do what we have in such a short time.
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
“When it rains, I should let it rain.” —Unknown