“Elephants are what counselors should be—empathic and caring”

By: Maia Farris

Gene Eakin
Gene Eakin and an Elephant friend

The College of Education’s Counseling Program Coordinator, Gene Eakin, shares an impactful story about a veterinarian whose death was mourned for by a group of elephants. The veterinarian cared for the elephants, and when he passed away, the elephant herd was reported to have stood in front of the veterinarian’s house and bowed their heads. Eakin’s favorite animal is an elephant because he believes that “elephants are what counselors should be—empathic and caring”.

This year we are congratulating Gene Eakin who has been awarded the 2017 Leona Tyler award. This annual award was established by the Oregon Counseling Association to recognize individuals whose work has had statewide implications for counseling. Eakin is the 8th person from Oregon State to receive the Leona Tyler award.

(Past winners listed here http://or-counseling.org/Past-Awards )

Eakin has worked hard on both the state and national level to strengthen school counseling and connect people to the current issues that are especially found in K-12 schools. This past June, Eakin and his wife Twila celebrated 50 years as OSU Alumni.  As an alumus and experienced counselor educator, Eakin is passionate about his work in the counseling program. He is proud to share that in the counseling hybrid program (online and in person), 31 out of 35 students were working full time as they started their third year in the program. The hybrid format fulfills Oregon State University’s land grant mission in providing individuals from all areas of Oregon access to becoming a counselor.

Eakin’s counseling work has spanned forty-two years in Oregon working at Lebanon High School, West Salem High School, Lewis and Clark College, and Oregon State University. Being awarded the Leona Tyler award is unique and means a lot to Eakin, because previous award recipients have mainly been a part of the large population of clinical mental health counselors, and he is one of the few to be recognized for his work as a school counselor and school counselor educator.

He hopes that this award will give him a platform to “speak to the mental health needs of our children and adolescents.” Going forward, we need counselors who will advocate for these needs and have the empathic and caring traits of an elephant. There is an increase in the number of elementary school students who need this support; as elementary school counselors across the state report that more and more students’ lives have been affected by family trauma related to the recession and the resulting family poverty.

Award
Leona Tyler Award

Eakin says, “there are a limited number of mental health counselors in most communities providing services to children and adolescents and Oregon, overall, ranks 49th in provision of mental health services to our citizens.” Eakin expressed that “we need more school counselors doing the good work that they do and more school social workers doing the good work they do in order for Oregon schools to increase attendance rates, graduation rates, post high-school education matriculation rates, and improve the behavioral and mental health of our students.” With Oregon’s student-counselor ratio (510-1) ranking 39th, Eakin vows that that he will continue to advocate for the school counseling profession and for the work they do in meeting our youth’s career and college readiness counseling needs, academic counseling needs, and personal-social-emotional counseling needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Gregg Kleiner

For 12 years, Lindsay Dec worked as a licensed massage therapist. She noticed that many of her
clients would talk during the massage — telling her stories about their lives and describing
challenges they were facing, from fears to family issues.
“People seemed to be looking to me for help or advice,” Dec says.
Because she didn’t feel qualified to do much more than listen, Dec started looking for a new
career that would give her the skills and credentials to help people in a new way — one that
could bridge the mind-body connection. During her search, she stumbled across the Master of
Counseling program at OSU-Cascades.
“When I found that, I just knew,” she says. “I wanted to continue to help others, so this was
perfect.”

The program’s location was also perfect, since Dec was already living in Bend, Oregon, where
she’d moved in 2010. The program’s part-time option allowed her to continue her massage
practice while pursuing a master’s degree.
She credits her parents with influencing her overall career path.
“They always taught us t

o help people, to foster connections with others, and my mom always
emphasized the golden rule,” Dec says.
In 2014, she earned her master’s in clinical mental health counseling and now works as a
counselor at Bend Counseling and Biofeedback Inc.
“The best part of the program was — and still is — the faculty,” Dec says. “They are just
amazing — the adjunct faculty, too. There is great breadth of experience and a range of
strengths. I felt very well-supported, and I’m still in contact with some of the faculty.”
While in the program, Dec completed three different internships — one at the Warm Springs
Indian Reservation, one at a Bend relief nursery for vulnerable children and one at the
counseling office where she now works. She also earned a certificate in Interpersonal
Neurobiology from Portland State University and completed HeartMath Biofeedback training
during her graduate program.
“It was a little insane,” she says of all she did while working on her master’s.
Now that her formal training is complete, Dec still stays busy. She serves on the OSU-Cascades’
Counseling Program Advisory Board and is raising a puppy named PJ to be a certified therapy
dog.

“Therapy dogs are great in nursing homes, and they can help kids who struggle with reading,”
says Dec, who brings PJ to the office with her. “My clients love her and say PJ is
going to make a great therapy dog.”
For Dec, OSU-Cascades was the right location with the right faculty and the right focus. And it’s
clear she loves her new career.

 

Society needs good counselors.

Oregon State has been educating them for 100 years.

By: Gregg Kleiner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Timeline Graphic By: Maia Farris

Oregon State University has one of the oldest continuously operating counseling
education programs in the U.S. The first course was taught in 1917 — just five years
after Harvard University offered the first counseling course in the nation.
The earliest courses focused on the vocational training movement that prepared people
for a range of key jobs during wartime. That focus remained until the late 1920s when
courses expanded to include emotional and psychological issues.

Today, Oregon State’s counselor education program is one of the largest in the nation,
with 125 master’s and 72 doctoral students taking course work delivered in a
combination of in-class and online formats. These hybrid programs include students
from across Oregon, as well as students coming from as far away as Chicago, New
York and North Carolina. Master’s students meet for two days a term at Chemeketa
Community College in Salem, while doctoral students attend two weekend sessions a
year at Clackamas Community College in Wilsonville. A more traditional master’s
program of mostly in-class courses is offered at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

“Because of our national reach, we have amazingly talented and diverse doctoral
students who will go on to train the next generation of school and mental health
counselors,” says Cass Dykeman, an associate professor of counseling in the College
of Education.

Larry Flick, Dean of the College of Education in his office

College of Education’s Dean, Larry Flick reflects on his past six years at OSU saying, he could not have remained in the role of dean for six years “if I did not have caring, committed people beside me all the way.” With spring term coming to an end and summer just around the corner, we are also saying our farewells to the retiring dean.

Larry assumed the dean position on July 1, 2011. He graduated from Purdue University as an engineer, and says that “OSU brought back many fond memories” such as being one of the editors for the Purdue student newspaper, the Exponent, as an undergraduate. Flick reminisces, “seeing the Student Experience Center go up on the OSU campus was very exciting! Orange Media is on the top floor of the beautiful building and I made a point of going for a look around as soon as it was done. The Exponent offices were in the basement of the Purdue Memorial Union, but I loved every minute of it.”

The job as a dean is very busy and sometimes challenging. Flick shares that, “this time in higher education is very challenging with universities facing an enormous amount of change.” Flick says that he is lucky to have had the “distinct pleasure of working with a very smart group of faculty and administrators in the college as we have worked to adjust to these challenges and changes in how colleges are funded.”  Flick adds that he has also “thoroughly enjoyed being among highly committed and talented people in the Provost Council and President’s Cabinet.”

After retirement, Flick and his wife are hiking in the Swiss Alps (this July) and traveling to Italy, Costa Rica, and Panama where they plan to go kayaking, snorkeling, and doing some more hiking, while enjoying some cultural experiences in the mix.