School Counseling, M.Ed.

Program History

A Brief History of the Master’s Program in School Counseling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina began as the nation’s first public university in 1793. As directed by the North Carolina Constitution of 1868, the School of Education was established at the University in 1885 -- one of the three earliest professional schools at the University -- to educate teachers for the state’s schools.


Education faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been involved in counseling related studies since 1929, when Education 67: 'Guidance and Administration of Elementary School Pupils,' an undergraduate-level course, was first taught by Professor William John McKee. The first half of the course focused on “Teaching Pupils How to Study” and was concerned with “physical and environmental factors that condition effective study.” The second half of the course focused on “The Pupil Personnel Program” and dealt with “the problems and techniques involved in helping pupils to make satisfactory social and school adjustments, in classifying and promoting pupils, in making records and reports of pupil progress, in developing a helpful program of extra-curricular activities, in dealing with the maladjusted pupil, and in handling disciplinary cases.” The course was offered during a summer quarter and met five hours a week.

By 1931, the Education 67 course was divided into two separate courses - Education 105: 'Guidance and Administration of Public School Pupils' and Education 162: 'Teaching Pupils How to Study.' These courses were open to both graduate students and advanced undergraduates. During the 30s, a few more guidance courses were added to the School of Education’s curriculum but a specific graduate degree was not yet offered in that area. In 1939, Dr. W. D. Perry, who would subsequently exert a major influence in the development of both the School Counseling program and the University's Guidance and Testing Center, joined the faculty and taught Education 172: 'The Problems of Maladjustment Among Children.'


In 1940, students who were completing a (generic) master’s degree in education were required to demonstrate proficiency on a written examination in two of the following fields: Educational Psychology, Elementary Education, History and Comparative Education, and Guidance and Personnel Work. As more researchers focused on the field of guidance and other areas of education, education students were required to take a course in educational research.

In 1950s, the admissions requirements for graduate study in education included a “Class A” teacher’s certificate. In 1954, Education 211: 'Supervised Practicum in Guidance' was offered for the first time by Professors Perry and Ellis.  Dr. Luther R. Taff joined the faculty in 1956 and taught Education 105: 'Guidance in the School' and Education 205: 'Techniques in Counseling.'


Dr. Neill Rosser joined Drs. Perry and Taff in the early 1960s, and, together, these three faculty members were responsible for the program until the early 70s.

Throughout the 1960s, Drs. Rosser, Perry, and Taff expanded the curriculum to reflect more recent trends in guidance and counseling.  Course topics included group process, design and analysis of research projects, human development, and individual differences.  In 1965, Professors Perry and Taff began offering Education 213: 'Guidance Internship - Field Experiences,' in which students worked under professional counselors and were supervised by both these counselors and university faculty.  In 1969, Education 311: 'Internship in Guidance' was first offered.  This course involved a full-time work experience in a school setting and was "required of all majors in guidance and personnel work who did not qualify for a North Carolina Class A certificate.

In 1973, Drs. Duane Brown and current faculty member John P. Galassi, Jr., joined the Guidance and Counseling faculty.  During the 70s, the semester hour requirements for the master's degree in Guidance and Counseling expanded to 36 and then again to 42 hours, as courses were added to the program in areas such as school consultation and cross-cultural counseling.  In 1975, Dr. Luther Taff retired and was replaced by Dr. Nancy Voight.  She remained on the faculty until January 1979, and was subsequently replaced by Dr. Courtland Lee, who was the first African American to teach in the program.  Dr. Lee taught cross-cultural counseling and other courses from 1979-1987.


In 1980, Dr. Linda Brooks joined the faculty.  She remained with the program until her retirement in 2000.  During the 1980s, the program expanded from 42 semester hours to 45, and later to 52.  At this point, the curriculum required an academic year and two summers to complete.  In 1986, the Guidance and Counseling program was nationally recognized when it received accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP).

By the mid-90s, the program required 60 semester hours of coursework. Furthermore, graduates of the program were now eligible to be certified in North Carolina as school counselors at the Advance Graduate level rather than just at the master’s level (G-level certification). The program continued to be accredited by CACREP.


In 2001, Dr. Patrick Akos joined the faculty. Developmental Advocacy, which emphasizes the counselor’s mission to promote the optimal development of all students, was adopted as the guiding philosophy of the program. In 2004 the PRAXIS exam, required for counseling licensure in North Carolina, replaced the program’s comprehensive exam that had been required for graduation.

In the mid 2000s, Strengths-Based School Counseling (SBSC, Galassi and Akos, 2007) became the training model.  With the guidance of Drs. Galassi and Akos, several courses were revised and/or created (e.g. EDUC 711: 'Promoting Academic Development') to reflect the school counselor's primary role to promote and advocate for positive youth development for all students and for the environments that enhance and sustain that development.  In 2007, Dr. Duane Brown retired and Dr. Dana Griffin joined the faculty in his place. Dr. Meghan Walter joined the faculty as program coordinator in 2014. In 2016, the program was able to add Dr. Robert Martinez as an assistant professor to the core faculty. The SBSC framework continues to evolve, with a more prominent focus on multicultural competence and collaboration with families, schools, and communities as important contributions to promoting the diverse needs of students in K-12 public school settings.

Currently, within the SBSC framework, the program stresses leadership, multicultural competence, and a focus on working in collaboration with families, schools, and communities to respond to the diverse needs of students in P-12 public school settings. Nearly eighty years after the first guidance course was offered at UNC-CH, this CACREP-accredited, M.Ed. program in School Counseling continues to have an innovative curriculum that emphasizes research and data-based interventions, is developmentally oriented, and responds to the needs of students, their families, and their communities.


Sample Research by Core Faculty

William John McKee - (1931). Books in brief. Nation, 132(3433), 457.
W.D. Perry - Perry, W.D. (1943).  College 18-year-olds and the draft. The High School Journal, 26(1/2), 22-26.
Luther R. Taff - Taff, Luther R. (1966). Values and the school counselor. The High School Journal, 49(5), 214-217.
Neill Rosser - Rosser, N.A. (1964). Personal guidance. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.
Duane Brown - Brown, D. (2002). The role of work and cultural values in occupational choice, satisfaction, and success: A theoretical statement. Journal of Counseling & Development, 80(1), 48.
John P. Galassi - Galassi, J. P. and Akos, P. (2007). Strengths-based school counseling: Promoting student development and achievement. New York:Routledge.
Nancy Voight - Voight, N., Lawler, A., & Fulkerson, K. (1980). Community-based guidance: A 'tupperware party' approach to mid-life decision making. Personnel & Guidance Journal, 59(2), 106.
Courtland Lee - Lee, C. (2001). Culturally responsive school counselors and programs: Addressing the needs of all students. Professional School Counseling, 4(4), 257.
Linda Brooks - Brooks, L., & Perot, A. (1991). Reporting sexual harassment: Exploring a predictive model. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15(1), 31-47.
Patrick Akos - Akos, P. (2005). The unique nature of middle school counseling. Professional School Counseling, 9(2), 95.
Dana Griffin - Griffin, D. (2011). Parent involvement with African American families in expanded school mental health practice. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 4, 16-26.
Robert Martinez - Martinez, R. R., Baker, S., & Young, T. (In Press). Promoting career and college readiness aspirations and self-efficacy. Career Development Quarterly.