WFU counselor education program, director receive national awards

The Wake Forest University graduate counselor education program was named the 1999 Robert Frank Outstanding Program, a national award of excellence from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).

ACES also honored Samuel T. Gladding, the program’s director and a nationally-known figure in the counseling profession, with its 1999 Professional Leadership Award.

ACES, a division of the American Counseling Association, selected Wake Forest’s program from hundreds across the country, including much larger programs offering doctoral degrees.

“I think it’s kind of the Wake Forest story. We are small, but we offer quality and have a major impact,” said Gladding, adding the award usually goes to doctoral programs.

The two-year, masters of arts degree program is offered through Wake Forest’s education department. The program prepares individuals for a career in school or community counseling. No more than 28 students are enrolled in the program at a time and each student is offered a full scholarship.

This spring marks the 30th anniversary of the program’s first graduating class. Gladding, a member of the program’s third class, was honored by ACES for his professional involvement.

“He is among the top five in the counseling world,” said Donna Henderson of Gladding.

Henderson, an assistant professor in the counselor education program, said her respect for Gladding is one of the reasons she came to Wake Forest.

“Sam is a scholar, as well as a leader,” she said, adding most anyone in the counseling field knows Gladding’s name or has read one of the counseling books he has written.

In addition to directing the program, Gladding is also a professor of counseling, the university’s associate provost and the former assistant to Wake Forest President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. Gladding specializes in the use of creative arts, such as music and painting, as a counseling tool, as well as family and group counseling.

A prolific writer, Gladding has written numerous textbooks, including “Counseling: A Comprehensive Profession,” which will be in its fourth edition this summer.

In addition to his scholarship contributions, Gladding has held leadership roles with international, national and regional organizations, including president of ACES and Chi Sigma Iota, an international academic and professional honor society. He is the former editor of the “Journal for Specialists in Group Work” and has served on the editorial board of various other counseling journals.

Before joining Wake Forest, Gladding was a professor with the counseling department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and coordinated its marriage and family counseling program. In addition, he was a counseling faculty member at Fairfield University in Connecticut and the director of Children and Youth Services for the Rockingham County Mental Health Center in Wentworth. Gladding earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in counselor education at Wake Forest. He also earned a master’s degree from Yale University and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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