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selected as a SACES Emerging Leader. This program will provide invaluable opportunities to develop my leadership identity and skills, collaborate with social advocates across our region, and serve our profession. I am beyond excited to get started this coming fall!”

The SACES Emerging Leaders program is a two-year leadership development experience focused on advocacy and promotion of community through connection, leadership, and service. Emerging Leaders will participate in a workshop and be recognized at the SACES 2018 conference, engage in 40 hours of service, collaborate in quarterly small group mentoring, and be part of large group experiences during the SACES 2019 and 2020 conferences.

Thacker said, “I am very grateful to our Counselor Education faculty for their encouragement and guidance. Their passion and commitment to the advancement of our profession has inspired me to develop similar zeal for social justice and advocacy in Counselor Education. I am stepping into this leadership opportunity because of their influence and consistent validation of my work and identity as an emerging Counselor Educator. Also to my colleagues, thank you for showing me what hard work, humility, and true collaboration looks like. I will enter the SACES Emerging Leaders program ready to connect, collaborate, and advocate for change because of your example.”

Shawn Spurgeon


Shawn Spurgeon, associate professor, received the 2018 American Counseling Association (ACA) Counselor Educator Advocacy Award.


This award recognizes a counselor educator for work in fostering an awareness of, and expertise in, advocacy among counseling students.

ACA believes it is vital to the continued health and wellbeing of the counseling profession that its members become interested and engaged in advocacy and the policymaking process, and fell comfortable and effective in doing so.


Jillian Blueford

Jillian Blueford, PhD candidate in the Counselor Education program, was selected as a 2018-19 Counselor Education and Supervision (CE&S) Editorial Fellow.


“I sought out this role because I see a benefit of engagement and networking. I recognize that the Counselor Education field is comprised of individuals in a variety of academic settings participating in several capacities who are enhancing our communities and how we educate future professional counselors. I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and interact in this broader community and learn all that I can from others.”

Blueford first heard of this opportunity when Everett Painter (’17) was accepted as a fellow last year. As part of the application process, she had to choose potential mentors and explain why she wanted to work with them. To accomplish this task, she worked with Casey Barrio Minton, professor, who is currently on the CE&S Editorial Board to learn about the other board members and who she would best align with. She was paired with with Daniel Gutierrez, assistant professor at William and Mary. Blueford said, “he has research interests in strength-based interventions and the influences of spirituality on mental health and wellness. He is also an alum of the University of Central Florida like I am, so I look forward to working with a fellow Knight. ”

The idea of working on the other side of the publication process and improving her skills as a writer and future reviewer appealed to Blueford. She will attend orientation the last week of June and then officially begin reviewing journal submissions with her mentor.

The Assessment Profession in Higher Education: Addressing the Varied Professional Development Needs of Practitioners.

Jennifer Ann Morrow“I am very grateful for the support of my UT and AALHE colleagues who encourage my passion for teaching and engaging in quality higher education assessment work. I look forward to continued collaboration with my students and colleagues in this important area.”

The report was released by the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) and Watermark. The organizations stated a mission to work collaboratively in striving to develop resources that help assessment practitioners and institutions advance the practice of meaningful assessment, provide opportunities for assessment professionals to connect, as well as conduct and share research on current assessment practices and results.

AALHE and Watermark explained the report provides insights into several area of assessment including:

  • practitioners’ perceptions of assessment
  • the roles/positions and activities conducted by assessment practitioners
  • practitioners’ professional development needs

The report authors – Laura Ariovich, Conna Bral, Patricia Gregg, Matthew Gulliford, and Jennifer Ann Morrow – provided practical recommendations for institutions and professional organizations to better support assessment practitioners, particularly in the area of professional development.

  • Collaborative sharing across institutions and assessment personnel should be examined as a viable method for supporting the work of assessment practitioners.
  • Professional associations, individual institutions, and consortia should offer professional development opportunities in a wide variety of delivery methods to meet the varied needs of practitioners.
  • Topics addressed in professional development offerings must include both assessment tasks, such as conducting data collection and analysis activities, and more complex assessment work, such as creating assessment cultures and facilitating change in higher education organizations.

“We see a real alignment in our organizations to advance the practice of assessment and help institutions use better data to improve student learning and institutional outcomes – an area that is of critical and growing importance to the future of higher education,” said Monica Stitt-Bergh, AALHE President. “We share the belief that this collaboration has been mutually beneficial for our organizations and higher education more broadly.”

“We have a great deal of respect for AALHE, its researchers, and the leadership it provides for the higher education community,” said Kevin Michielsen, CEO of Watermark. “This study underscores our commitment to supporting and empowering higher education with the kind of information and insight needed to drive decision making that ultimately improves student and institutional outcomes.”

Founded in 2009, the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education is a non-profit professional association for assessment practitioners at colleges, universities, and higher education support organizations. It serves the needs of those in higher education for whom assessment is a tool to help them understand learning and develop processes for improving it. AALHE provides resources and a forum to support assessment practitioners’ professional development and the research, documentation, open discussion of issues, strategies, policies, and processes associated with the use of assessment to improve student learning and institutional effectiveness in fostering student success. For more information and to become a member, visit

About Watermark™
Watermark’s mission is to put better data into the hands of administrators, educators, and learners everywhere in order to empower them to connect information and gain insights into learning which will drive meaningful improvements. Through its innovative educational intelligence platform, Watermark supports institutions in developing an intentional approach to learning and development based on data they can trust.

Educational Psychology & Counseling Department
College of Education, Health & Human Sciences

535 Bailey Education Complex
1122 Volunteer Boulevard
Knoxville, TN 37996-3452
Phone: 865-974-8145 Fax: 865-974-0135