Nova Southeastern University holds Diversity as one of its core values. Diversity makes NSU a stronger university and enriches a learning environment focused on preparing individuals to live and work in a global and pluralistic society (https://www.nova.edu/about/mission.html).
In the College of Psychology, the Department of Counseling’s programs, curriculum, policies, practices, and resources strive to foster and support diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellness. The Department is committed to creating a learning environment that models and incorporates each of these constructs in addition to promoting multicultural counseling competence, which is essential in the counseling profession. We believe that this learning environment is necessary in order to best prepare counseling students to provide effective services to their clients.
We celebrate our diverse communities. We acknowledge that each individual has unique experiences of diversity, such as lived experiences, national and ethnic origin, race, age, gender, gender identity and expression, affectional orientation, philosophy, religion, spirituality, and faiths, socioeconomic status, relationship and parental status, physical and mental abilities, military/veteran status, and the intersectionality of varying identities (these are not exhaustive). We respect and honor diversity as it is essential to our shared humanity.
We are mindful of the privileged and oppressed spectrums that exist amongst such varying dimensions of diversity. We aim to incessantly increase cultural competence and humility by incorporating opportunities for acquiring and demonstrating the attitudes and beliefs, knowledge, skills, and actions necessary of our multifaceted human experiences within systems and institutions. A non-discriminatory and anti-racist environment that champions human rights and human dignity is essential to establishing a safe community for all. Faculty and staff are committed to equity through ongoing learning opportunities, intentional efforts to train students throughout the curriculum, and program activities.
We are committed to the practice of inclusion within the Department of Counseling. In an inclusive environment, all individuals are able to fairly access resources and information, with consideration for relevant disparities as they relate to marginalized communities. Inclusion refers to creating a space in which each individual feels valued, respected, supported, and free to express/dissent. Inclusion fosters conditions that support each person’s unique identities including how these intersect. We embrace accountability to continuously explore, challenge, and implement changes to fallacies that are not congruent with equity and inclusion for all.
Belonging can be viewed as the result of an environment in which diversity is embraced, equity is affirmed, and inclusion is established. When a person has a sense of belonging, they experience a sense of psychological safety, connection, and affinity. The Department of Counseling strives to create a community of belonging in which all people are welcomed and feel safe and invited to share their voice and their strengths. Furthermore, we want members of the Department of Counseling community to feel that their voice matters so that they can have a positive impact within the NSU community and beyond. Our goal is that all current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, staff, and external partners feel accepted and empowered. We strive to provide a positive, holistic, and nurturing academic environment.
We are committed to fostering an environment that promotes optimal collective health and well-being. Radical wellness is a way of life oriented towards achieving this goal, which serves individual wellbeing. While there may be differences between individuals or groups at times, these differences do not provide insight into the structural dynamics that often serve as grounds for injustice and inequality. As counseling professionals who adhere to ACA ethics codes, we value wellness as an essential part of our professional identities. We aim to dismantle harmful ideologies and reorient social dynamics in a way that leads toward optimal collective health and well-being. This dismantling is good for the health of people and brings critical consciousness into the development of the mind, body, and spirit. It allows people to live in their community more fully. Likewise, we aim to bring awareness about individual issues and change about societal problems by "putting on our oxygen masks first" before helping others. We learn how to take care of ourselves, so we can recover from cumulative stressors over time.
Consistent with the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics (2014), the Department of Counseling understands that cultural competence and humility are fundamental to ethical counseling practice. For counselor educators, issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellness are foundational to teaching, supervision, research, service, and clinical practice. Furthermore, faculty in the Department of Counseling train students to implement multicultural and social justice counseling competencies in clinical practice as well as in advocacy and social justice efforts for marginalized populations. We are committed to demonstrating cultural competence and humility in all interactions, including but not limited to interactions among students, staff, faculty, community partners, and clients served.
Faculty in the Department of Counseling are committed to integrating training relevant to cultural and individual diversity, and we strive to model our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellness in all aspects of our program, a commitment which informs our advocacy and social justice initiatives. Culturally relevant learning opportunities, including addressing overt and covert forms of discrimination, are embedded throughout the curriculum. These include didactic and experiential components of students’ coursework, throughout the clinical training process in practicum and internship supervision, in research initiatives and projects, as well as community-based service work.
The Department of Counseling’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Wellness Committee functions to support the full integration of these aspirational values through policy development, training opportunities for faculty and students, and institutional/program evaluation efforts.