A Message from ACES President Dr. Heather Ambrose
Dear ACES members...As I look back over the past several months, I can honestly say how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve as President of this amazing organization! I am proud of the incredible work being done by the ACES Governing Council, the Interest Networks, the ACES Committees, and Task Forces. This has not been an easy year for many, if not all of us. I really appreciate the creativity and adaptability of our members and the passion all of you bring in service of our organization and the profession of Counselor Education and Supervision. I believe we have accomplished a lot despite dealing with burnout and other barriers presented by COVID-19.
While we have much to be proud of, the Governing Council of ACES recognizes that we have a lot more work to do, especially in our efforts to address issues of diversity and inclusion within ACES. We are dedicated to making sure all our members feel valued, respected, and accepted. This is crucially important given the racial injustices being perpetrated against our members who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We are especially aware of the fear and hatred being projected onto the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. We stand with all of our members who experience discrimination, violence, the “isms”, and the “phobias” that are often placed upon those of us who do not fit a particular societal standard.
We know there are concerns about attending a live conference this fall, especially in the city of Atlanta. I want you to know that we have heard your concerns and are working to address those concerns as best we can. Please be sure to read the statement regarding the conference in this newsletter.
As I think about the upcoming ACA virtual conference, I am reminded of how much I miss spending time with you, and how much I look forward to the opportunity to do that again soon. I will never again take for granted the ability to connect with my friends and colleagues in person. I wish you all a happy and healthy spring!
A message from ACES Executive Director, Dr. Kelly Duncan
Despite the fact that there are many concerning issues occurring in the world in which we live, spring always brings a sign of hope for new life. Just as flowers push through the soil with the promise of brightening our day with color, I feel hopeful that as an organization ACES is committed to make a difference in the lives of our members and the clients we serve.
As a result of a survey of our members, ACES decided to move forward to host an onsite conference in October 2021. Significant work has gone into planning the conference with options available for those attending in person and those who may make the choice to attend virtually. (See more details in articles throughout this newsletter.)
Our Interest Networks and the collaborations with some of our affiliate groups have allowed ACES to bring some spectacular webinars to our members this spring. The dedication of our members who volunteer their time and talents to share relevant and timely content with members is to be commended.
The Governing Council, under the leadership of President Heather Ambrose, has tackled a number of challenges as leaders have had to meet via Zoom all year to conduct the business of the association. While meeting virtually has its advantages, it is hard to replace sitting across the table from one another discussing concerns and making plans.
As counselor educators and supervisors of counselors, we have a tremendous opportunity to advocate and influence. Providing safe spaces for conversations and promoting efforts to serve is important.
As the spring semester wraps up and a larger mass of the country is vaccinated, we can look ahead to time spent together tackling the issues that we hold dear to our hearts. As an association, we can spring back into life and plant the seeds of change so desperately needed.
ACES is pleased to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Vallares as Treasurer (2021-2023).
Elizabeth Villares, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Counselor Education at Florida Atlantic University and currently serving as the Past-President of the Southern Association of Counselor Education and Supervision. Dr. Villares has worked as a teacher, school counselor, school counseling program director, and counselor educator for more than 23 years. She specializes in counseling children and adolescents, using technology to improve data-driven practices, and collaborating with school counselors to design outcome research and program evaluation projects. Her current research interests include developing and implementing school counselor-led evidence-based programs to improve students' academic, social-emotional development, and college/career readiness from pre-kindergarten to grade 16.
ACES Supervision Interest Network Update
As the ACES Supervision Interest Network standing committee members, we just had our March meeting last Monday. During the meeting, we updated each other and worked on the planning and preparations for the 2021-2022 Academic Year. We determined dates in September, November, February, and April to offer our members with a variety of supervision-related webinars/trainings for the first time! Please stay tuned to the ACES SIN listserv for a brief survey on what topics you would like to see as SIN Webinars/Trainings in the 2021-2022 Academic Year.
As the ACES International Student and Faculty Interest Network (ISFIN), we continue striving for an inclusive and culturally responsive community for our members. The last few years increased the complexities of career planning for international students and faculty. Additionally, our members have experienced tremendous distress in the wake of police violence, COVID-19, and other racism and white supremacy pandemics within the last year. We acknowledge that these pandemics primarily impact the BIPOC and AAPI communities in the U.S., who have suffered centuries of genocides, slavery, and exploitation under systemic racism. It’s also vital for us to make the racism, hate crimes, and violence against the Black, Brown, and Asian international students and faculty more visible. Thus, our priority is to regularly assess our community’s needs and provide a safe space for dialogue, validation, and support. The themes from our regular surveys and community meetings show us that the most pressing needs of our members are: 1) Professional community support in a safe space that cultivates a sense of belonging; 2) Career planning and job search support; 3) Collaboration for research projects and conference presentations; 4) Increasing multicultural self-awareness and engaging in racial healing as international students and faculty