Two faculty members and three students from the Quincy University Master of Science in Education in Counseling (MEC) program presented at the Illinois Counseling Association (ICA) annual conference in Springfield, Illinois in early November. Andrea Fifield, PhD, and Ken Oliver, PhD, along with MEC students Belinda Cullo, Denise Drebes, and Donna Holtmeyer - delivered a presentation entitled, "Mental Health Advocacy in Rural America: Challenges, Strategies, and Silver Linings". The presentation included a discussion of rural diversity, the challenges faced by clients and mental health professionals in rural areas, and the results of the Rural and Small Community Counseling Needs Assessment. Survey respondents included Illinois mental health professionals who identified the pros and cons of practicing in a rural/small community, as well as identified training and resources that would enable them to be more effective in addressing rural clients' mental health needs.
Oliver also gave a solo presentation entitled, "Critical Issues Affecting the Professional Identity of Illinois Counselors." The workshop focused on a critical analysis of current licensure and certification statutes, portability, and resulting detriments to professional identity, along with recommendations for future practice.
Oliver was honored at the ICA awards luncheon as a recipient of the Illinois Counseling Association Foundation's Melanie E. Rawlins Research Grant. The grant funding will support research on the impact of school counseling in the state of Illinois and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2013.