Community college counseling: present realities; perspectives for the future

Peterson, Linda
Major Professor
Larry Ebbers
Committee Member
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The point of entry into higher education for approximately half of all students is America's community colleges. Community colleges provide access to higher education to students who are extremely diverse in their educational preparation and personal backgrounds. Student services administrators and counselors agree that today's students are more in need of counseling services than ever before. At the same time, counseling positions are being decreased or even eliminated in all sectors of education. Counselors are on the front lines of providing critical services to under prepared or high-risk students. If the current trend continues, many high-risk students may not receive the assistance they need to be successful in college.;This qualitative, action research study was designed to investigate why community college counseling positions are being decreased or eliminated altogether. Presidents, student services administrators, and counselors from four Iowa community colleges were interviewed over a period of four months. The perceptions of research participants were gathered to gain a fuller understanding of the factors that have led to the decrease of counseling positions in Iowa and to determine what actions counselors and administrators can take to effectively resolve this problem.;The research findings include participant perspectives regarding the current state of community college counseling and suggestions on how community college counselors can demonstrate their professional value on campus. The document also discusses how counselors and administrators can collaborate to utilize counselor skills and professional training to the fullest. Themes that emerged from the data include, but are not limited to, marketing counseling services, campus collaboration, and assessing and documenting the effectiveness of counseling services. Specific actions are suggested for counselors, as well as administrators, to move toward mutual understanding and support of the counseling function within the community college. Several recommendations for future research are also included in the document.