Counselor Education Department and KEAP Center collaborate on research project

Erich Schweitzer, News Reporter

Winona State University’s KEAP Center and Counselor Education Department are partnering up for a new research project entitled “Growing School Counselor Competencies: Through Cultural Conversations and Collaborative Curriculum Development”.

The researchers hope to utilize information gained from their study to better educate school counselors-in-training, create new curriculums based on student experiences and to overall cultivate a more empathetic and culturally competent counseling workforce.

The research team includes Claire Richards, a graduate assistant, Dr. Anquinetta Calhoun, Dr. Dawnette Cigrand and Dr. Jonathon Locust, who is also the associate vice president of the equity and inclusive excellence office.

According to Linda Waldo, the administrative assistant for the KEAP Center which falls under the equity and inclusive excellence office, the counselor education research project is “a collaborative qualitative research study.”

The goal of this project is to take a look into undergraduate students of color and explore their shared middle school experiences in order to better school counseling.

The KEAP Center works alongside the Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence to “create an inclusive atmosphere for all people, organizations, and groups on the WSU campus,” making its collaboration with the counseling department sensible.

Students at Winona State were given the opportunity to sign up as a study participant, further incentivized with a $40 stipend for their time.

Research includes a pre-survey of study participants followed by two group interviews and an individual interview with each participant.

The counselor education research project will help take more steps towards the school’s goal of creating an inclusive environment for all students at Winona State. However, this is just one of the many facets KEAP Center is utilizing to engage students and help cultivate inclusivity.

The Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence has introduced a program in Safe Space training, which will create more area on cam- pus where LGBTQIA+ students can feel welcome and accepted.

They are also hosting some events in the coming months to raise awareness and address current issues in the world. From February through April, they will be sponsoring seminars for the Expanding Perspectives Series.

Students can also find resources on their web page at the Winona State website on how they can do their part in creating change in the community and helping to end racism. These resources include documentaries and literature on racial inequalities and injustices in the United States. They also provide links to charities which students can donate to, a list of actions that students can take and their own anti-racism guide.

Providing these resources can be helpful for students who want to create change in their community.