Thursday, March 5, 2020

By Lois J. Gray

College of Education professor one of only 13 scholars nationally to receive the highest honor awarded by the American Counseling Association

Susannah Wood, associate professor in the UI College of Education’s Rehabilitation and Counselor Education Department, has been named a 2020 American Counseling Association (ACA) Fellow, one of only 13 scholars from across the nation to receive this prestigious honor.

The ACA Fellows Awards, the highest honor awarded by the American Counseling Association, recognize members who have contributed to – and advanced – the counseling profession throughout their career.

“This is a significant achievement that speaks to the caliber and commitment of Professor Wood’s research and work and the School Counseling Program,” says UI College of Education Dean Daniel L. Clay. “I am very proud of Dr. Wood since this work is critical to helping students and schools with the challenges they are facing.”

Wood has worked at the UI College of Education since fall 2006. She teaches both doctoral students and students who are pursuing their master’s in school counseling with an emphasis in gifted education in partnership with the Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

Her research interests encompass preparing school counselors for their practice with a focus on serving the gifted population in collaboration with other educators and professionals.

“Being awarded a spot as a 2020 ACA Fellow is an incredible honor,” Wood says. “I see the names of people I have admired in my career in this cohort and past cohorts. I am honored to be a part of this legacy and truly appreciate those who nominated me, and those whose encouragement, support, and mentorship were critical in my development as a counselor educator, some of whom wrote on my behalf.”

Jennifer Sanchez, UI College of Education assistant professor and coordinator of the Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs, nominated Wood.

“I read that a great leader is strong and decisive, yet humble. That is Dr. Wood!” Sanchez wrote in her nomination. “She is an empathetic counselor, a thoughtful scholar, a conscientious leader, and a dedicated teacher. Her work has focused on improving academic and social outcomes for gifted students, including those with disabilities, or twice exceptional. She is well known and respected in the fields of school counseling and gifted education, and due to her expertise in the counseling of gifted students, Dr. Wood has been retained as an expert consultant.”

Wood received her M.Ed. in School Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from The College of William and Mary. She was a middle school counselor working with sixth and seventh grade students in Newport News, Virginia, during the academic year, and spent summers as a residential counselor for programs such as Johns Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth, and the Virginia Governor’s School for the Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities, prior to joining the UI College of Education.

Noel Estrada-Hernandez, the Departmental Executive Officer of the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education, says he is extremely proud of Wood and all of her achievements.

"This is a great honor, not only for our department and students, but to all of us who have witnessed the work that Dr. Wood has put into her career, " Estrada-Hernandez says. "She is a great role model to all our students and a great colleague."    

This award is just one of many that Wood has received for her research, teaching, and service.

Wood earned the College of Education’s 2011-12 Collegiate Teaching Award. Her students described her teaching style as “enthusiastic, informative, passionate, reflective, and encouraging.”

She continues to serve as the faculty advisor for the university’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society International, an international honor society for counselors, counselor educators, and counseling students promoting scholarship, leadership, and service.

Wood was awarded the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NCACES) 2014 Outstanding Professional Teaching Award.

In 2015, Wood won the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented Legacy Book Award in the scholar category. Wood received the award for her publication “Serving Gifted Students in Rural Settings” (Prufrock Press, 2015), which she co-edited with Tamra Stambaugh of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

That same year, Wood also co-edited a special section in the Journal of Counseling and Development dedicated to counseling the gifted individual with professor Nicholas Colangelo, then dean of the UI College of Education, a counseling psychology professor, and an affiliated faculty member in Rehabilitation and Counselor Education.

In 2018, Wood and Jean Sunde Peterson published “Counseling Gifted Students: A Guide for School Counselors” with Springer Publishing Company.

In fall of 2019, she was honored with the Deanna Hawes Mentorship Award and the Presidential Award from the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (NCACES). She is also a former president of NCACES.

Wood and co-authors are also the 2020 recipients of the Chi Sigma Iota Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy (JCLA) Outstanding Article Award.  This award honors the authors of an exemplary article, “Making Room for Leadership and Advocacy in Site Supervision,” published in JCLA during the past year.

Wood is only the second faculty member in the college to receive this distinguished award. The first recipient was Professor Emeritus David Jepsen, who was named a fellow in 2007.

For more information, visit the American Counseling Association website.