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Counseling psychology program honored for diversity



Representatives from the Lehigh's counseling pyschology program accept the Suinn Award from Dr. Frederick Leong (right), award committee chair for the APA.

The College of Education’s counseling psychology program is the latest recipient of the 2007 Suinn Minority Achievement Award, an accomplishment that pays tribute to the program’s commitment to cultural inclusion.

Lehigh received the award at the American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual conference in San Francisco, California on August 17.

“It’s an incredible honor to have received this award,” says Tina Richardson, program coordinator and associate professor of counseling psychology. “The College of Education here at Lehigh has long been a champion of diversity, and we’re proud that our commitment to cultural issues like social justice and equality continues to be recognized by our peers in the counseling community.”

This year, Lehigh is one of just three programs nationwide to earn the award, which is presented by the APA’s Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs.

“In the past, we often focused on what was not being done for diversity, while failing to recognize what was being done, often quietly, by some institutions," Suinn told APA’s gradPSYCH magazine earlier this year. "I wanted to call attention to, recognize and reward dedicated programs that were already proving their commitment through real actions and their own initiative."

Lehigh was nominated for the 2007 award by counseling psychology students Matthew Malouf and Anju Kaduvetoor, who highlighted the program’s creative initiatives in promoting diversity both in and out of the classroom.

“Ethnic minority issues are effectively integrated into our curriculum in a manner that enriches our education,” explains Malouf. He says that frequent discussions of multiculturalism including race and ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic issues are “not just reserved for a specific course but provide a context for all that we learn.”

Lehigh’s commitment to diversity extends beyond the student population. Late last year, twenty students from the program traveled to the United Nations to speak with officials about global social justice and diversity issues.

“I think it reflects not only a changing world but a changing understanding of what diversity means,” says Malouf. “Lehigh's Counseling Psychology program has a great appreciation for cultural experiences, both shared and unique, because it recognizes that oppression impacts society and mental health in complex ways that cut across all cultural lines.”

--Tom Yencho

Posted on Thursday, August 23, 2007

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