Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Photo of Patrick Akos

Akos, Patrick

Professor, School Counseling, (M.Ed.) and School Psychology (Ph.D.)
Thrive@Education Director

T: 919.843.4758
F: 919.962.1693
105E Peabody Hall
CB 3500

Be extraordinary, not famous.

Affiliated Positions

  • Affiliate Faculty - Policy, Leadership and School Improvement (Ph.D.)
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Strengths-Based School Counseling (Galassi & Akos, 2007) is the theoretical frame I utilize for inquiry and practice. The strengths framework is based in humanistic traditions, and is empirically supported by contemporary scholarship (e.g., positive psychology). Generally, I seek to understand how policy and practice shape empowering systems and help people thrive. My primary focus is navigating transitions across the lifespan. For example, normative school transitions (e.g., moving from elementary to middle school) involve the developmental intensity and asynchrony of early adolescence, cultural identity development, as well as stage-environment fit in multiple contexts. Similarly, college and career transitions depend on talents, meaning making, agency and opportunity structures. Overall, I endeavor to lead, teach, counsel and serve others consistent with a strengths orientation.


  • Ph.D. - University of Virginia
  • M.A. - Morehead State University
  • B.S. - Vanderbilt University

Doctoral Program Affiliation(s)

Ph.D. in School Psychology

Research Interests

  • Transitions
  • Strengths-Based Counseling
  • Thriving in K-16
  • Career Development
  • Middle School
  • Higher Education

Teaching Areas

  • Career Development
  • School Counseling
  • Thriving


  • EDUC 231: Thriving@Carolina and Beyond
  • EDUC 704: Promoting Career Development
  • EDUC 705: Internship in School Counseling

Honors & Awards

  • 2016, University of North Carolina General Administration Academic Affairs Fellow
  • 2009, Selected Fellow, Academic Leadership Program, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2004, Counselor Educator of the Year, American School Counselor Association

Funded Research

  • 2017-2018, The School Counselor Ratio and Student Success, American School Counselor Association, $8500, Patrick Akos (Principal Investigator), Thad Domina (Co-Principal Investigator), and Kevin Bastian (Co-Principal Investigator).
  • 2004-2010, CareerStart: A School and Career Engagement Strategy for Lifting Children from Poverty, United States Department of Justice, $250,000 Dr. Dennis K. Orthner (Principal Investigator), Dr. Patrick Akos (Co-Principal Investigator).

Selected Professional Affiliations

  • American Counseling Association
  • National Career Development Association
  • American School Counselor Association
  • Association of Counselor Education and Supervision
  • American Educational Research Association
  • Professional Service

    • 2013-2016, Director, American School Counseling Association, Governance on board of the national school counseling association.
    • 2012-2013, Chair, American Counseling Association Research and Knowledge Committee, Focused on the creation, promotion, and dissemination of research.
    • 2007-2010, Project SUCCESS (Schools, Universities, Communities: Counseling for Educational SuccesS), Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Act, U.S. Department of Education, $1,115,933, Eric Sparks (Project Director) and Wake County Public School System, Dr. Patrick Akos (Transition Training Coordinator), et al.

    Selected Publications

    Akos, P., & Kretchmar, J. (2017). Investigating grit as a non-cognitive predictor of college success. Review of Higher Education, 40(2) 163-186.

    Akos, P., Rose, R., & Orthner, D. (2014). Sociodemographic moderators of middle school transition effects on academic achievement. Journal of Early Adolescence, 35(2), 170-198. doi: 10.1177/0272431614529367

    Woolley, M. E., Rose, R. A., Orthner, D. K., Akos, P. A., & Jones-Sanpei, H. (2013). Advancing academic achievement through career relevance in the middle grades: A longitudinal evaluation of CareerStart. American Education Research Journal, 50(6), 1309-1335. doi: 10.3102/0002831213488818

    Rose, R., Woolley, M., Orthner, D., Akos, P., & Jones-Sanpei, H. (2012). Increasing teachers use of career relevant instruction: A randomized control trial of CareerStart. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 34(3), 295-312. doi:10.3102/0162373711431733

    Augst Felton, K., & Akos, P. (2011). The transition into third grade: Helping students C.O.P.E. Educational Leadership, 68(7), 28-31.

    Akos, P., Schuldt, H., & Walendin, M. (2009). School counselor assignment in secondary schools. Professional School Counseling, 13(1), 23-29.

    Akos, P., & Ellis, C. (2008). Racial identity development in middle school: A case for school counselor individual and systematic intervention. Journal of Counseling and Development, 86(1), 26-33.

    Akos, P. (2005). The unique nature of middle school counseling. Professional School Counseling, 9(2), 95-103.

    Galassi, J., & Akos, P. (2007). Strengths-Based School Counseling: Promoting Student Development and Achievement. Mahwah, MJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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