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LU Curators approve new mental health program

LU Curators approve new mental health program

September 14th, 2018 by Bob Watson in Local News

Lincoln University’s Curators have approved a new master’s level, Education Specialist degree program in clinical mental health counseling.

Completing the program — and passing the state’s requirements — would result in the student becoming a licensed professional counselor, or LPC.

“There were individuals in the master’s degree (programs) in counseling, psychology and sociology who graduate with fewer than 42 credit hours, who did not have a clear path to licensure (but) were very interested in that,” John D. Jones, LU’s new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, told the board.

He said the proposal came from LU’s School of Education.

“The program was well-vetted,” Jones explained. “There were surveys as well as listening sessions and group discussions with individuals who were interested.”

A memo to the board about the program showed results of the formal surveys and also reported “relevant employers in the Mid-Missouri area” were contacted to determine the value of the additional degree.

Jones said: “A demand for the degree was indicated through (all) these surveys.”

The state’s Higher Education Department also approved the program as being within LU’s “CBHE (Coordinating Board for Higher Education) approved mission.”

State regulations require a minimum of 3,000 hours and two years of post-degree supervised counseling experience to earn an LPC license.

But a student earning an Education Specialist or doctorate degree needs only 1,500 hours of work experience and one-year of supervision to qualify for the license, the curators were told.

Curator Winston Rutledge, a former public schools administrator and Cole County Juvenile Division director, told colleagues: “Anything that has to do with bullying in the schools, with substance abuse, with behavior in the schools — schools are more and more going to these kinds of positions rather than assistant principals and assistant administrators to deal with mental health problems.”

Curators also were told Lincoln’s existing faculty could teach the extra classes.

Although they didn’t take any action on other reports, Curators heard that LU administrators are looking into ways for technology to help provide greater security for students on campus — especially at night.

Sandy Koetting, the former chief financial officer recently named Lincoln’s vice president for Administration and Finance, said administrators are considering seeking bids for a new on-campus bookstore.

“Two or three years ago, (we) really wanted an online bookstore, with a goal of trying to reduce the costs of books for our students,” she said. “Over that time period, in the last couple of years, we’ve heard a lot of discussion (from people who) really want a brick and mortar bookstore here on campus as well.”

A new, physical bookstore likely would be complete by next fall, she said — in the same space in the student union building where the old bookstore operated.

But any final decisions would be made after the request for proposals had been issued.

Board members also discussed whether that store would have personal care items that currently are available on campus only through vending machines.

In an interview following the board meeting, LU President Jerald Jones Woolfolk told the News Tribune she’s getting comfortable with the job she began June 1.

“I’m very excited about the work that we are doing and what we have to do,” she said. “Some of the challenges are not new to me.

“I’ve dealt with them before, and I know we can make Lincoln the best it can be.”

Woolfolk grew up in Mississippi, and earned her college degrees in Jackson, Mississippi, and Ames, Iowa.

Her 35 years of higher education jobs has included work in Mississippi, Arkansas and northern New York state.

“I’m enjoying not only the university, but I’m enjoying Jefferson City,” she told the News Tribune. “It feels like home.”

She’ll be speaking to Chamber of Commerce members at a meeting this morning.