Counseling Leadership and Advocacy – COUC 860

CG • Section 8WK • 07/01/2018 to 12/31/2199 • Modified 02/02/2022

Course Description

This doctoral level seminar course is designed to foster professional identity as a counselor educator and leadership/service to the counseling profession. There is a focus on leadership principles and theories, including their application to counselor education. Students will work from a self-reflective model in order to discover and assess their own leadership skills and potential and to consider how that potential can be applied to the field of counselor education. Professional, ethical and social advocacy issues are also addressed throughout this course.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


As leaders in the field of counseling, counselor educators are stewards and gatekeepers of the profession. As such, they are not only tasked with the training of master’s level practitioners; they are called upon to provide leadership and service to the counseling profession. As such, it is essential that doctoral students develop a professional identity as counselor educators in the areas of leadership and service to the counseling profession and become active participation in the ongoing process of counselor education. The class will also help students become informed about current developments within the counseling profession, examine ethical and social advocacy issues, and identify opportunities for leadership in the profession.

Method of Instruction: This course is delivered using an intensive format. Students attend 36-40 hours of classroom-based instruction at our campus in Lynchburg, VA. In addition to the one week of class time, students are expected to complete additional work online both pre and post intensive over the duration of this 16-week course.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

This course is designed to ensure that doctoral students in the Counselor Education and Supervision Program demonstrate an understanding of leadership and advocacy. Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate required knowledge, skills, and professional development objectives pertaining to leadership and advocacy competencies as a counselor educator. Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Understand theories and skills of leadership and apply leadership in counselor education programs.
  2. Identify leadership and leadership development in professional counseling organizations.
  3. Describe the process of leadership, management, and administration in counseling organizations and other institutions.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of accreditation standards and processes.
  5. Identify strategies of leadership for responding to crises and disasters.
  6. Identify strategies of leadership in consultation.
  7. Identify current topical and political issues in counseling and articulate how those issues affect the daily work of counselors and the counseling profession.
  8. Identify the role of counselors and counselor educators advocating on behalf of the profession and professional identity.
  9.  Identify models and competencies for advocating for clients at the individual, system, and policy levels.
  10. Identify and apply strategies of leadership in relation to current multicultural and social justice issues.
  11. Integrate leadership and advocacy development into entry-level coursework, including teaching, methods, and curricular design.
  12. Examine and apply ethical and culturally relevant leadership and advocacy practices to counselor education effective teaching and/or supervision of master’s level counseling students.

Course Assignment

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Professionalism and Participation Assignment

The standards of preparation and contribution to the overall discussion are significantly high for doctoral students and your full engagement in the co-creation of this experience is expected. This course is structured so you will learn not only from the textbook/readings, but also from one another. Becoming a counselor educator is a process, so it is important to establish a professional attitude and demeanor in a doctoral program. As doctoral students, you are responsible for active and respectful participation in class activities. Therefore, the class participation grade will be based on the student's (a) contribution to discussions, (b) contribution to the learning experience of the student's classmates; (c) attending class and being on time, (d) active participation in all in-class activities, (e) completion of and bringing to class the assigned assessments/results and presentations (see Appendix A). Every class session will be structured in a similar manner and will include a combination of experiential learning, lecture, discussion, and:

In-Class Activities: The student will participate in a variety of exercises designed to help him or her learn the principles of leadership and advocacy. The student will participate in leadership and advocacy activities and group projects. He or she will also be involved in other self-awareness and self-learning activities throughout the course

Group Discussions (5)

The purpose of this assignment is to give students an opportunity to interact with fellow doctoral students in a collaborative manner. Students must read the assigned textbook readings (16 total) and respond in-depth to selected prompts in a group discussion board. Students are expected to demonstrate the ability to integrate the information from the chapters; (b) interact with at least two group members posts; and (c) demonstrate an assimilation of the new information. See Appendix B for more details about the assignment.

Personal Philosophy of Leadership and Advocacy Assignment

As a future counselor educator, the student will be a leader in the profession as well as an advocate for groups and individual clients. As such, it is essential that the student is able to develop a personal philosophy of advocacy and leadership. After examining the various theoretical approaches and models of leadership and advocacy, the student will write a 3–6 page reflection paper describing his or her personal philosophy of leadership and advocacy. The student will also develop a personal action plan for leadership based on his or her philosophy of leadership.

Leadership Interview Assignment

The student will interview someone (face-to-face or through Skype) whom he or she considers to be a leader in the counseling profession. The student will then write a 3–5 page summary of the interview, including his or her personal reaction to the interview. 

Social Justice Action Plan Assignment

The student will develop a personal social justice plan based on Lee’s (2007) five personal action steps (Maximum 3–5 pages).

Advocacy Project Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to give the student experience with planning and implementing counseling advocacy initiatives at the program, department, and/or the institutional level, incorporating principles of leadership and advocacy. Using the ACA Advocacy Competencies, the student will develop activities to reflect the advocacy competencies. Because of the nature of leadership, we will collaborate for the topics during the class. This will allow the student to develop a project that is personally relevant within the context of the current needs of the program, department, institution, and/or the profession.

Advocacy Project Presentation Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to give the student experience with disseminating his or her advocacy project. The student will present his or her overall project proposal in class. The presentation will be tailored for relevance to an audience of counselor educators in a faculty meeting.