Ty9 annotated bibliography

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 FOCUS – ADDRESSING BIAS AND RACISM OF BLACK MEN IN LEADERSHIP AND EMPLOYMENT

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Baker, V. L., & Pifer, M. J. (2011). The role of relationships in the transition from doctor to independent scholar. Studies in Continuing Education, 33(1), 5-17. http://doi.org/10.1080/0158037X. 2010.515569

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Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, Volume 50, Number 2, 2019

Strengths-Based Undergraduate
Rehabilitation Education Model: Preparing
Minority Leaders for Diverse Workforce

Carmela Y. Drake, PhD, LPC, CAADP, ACGC-III
D. Henry Stapleton, EdD, LPC-S, CRC, NCC

Alabama State University

Naoko Yura Yasui, PhD, CRC
University of Southern Maine

This conceptual manuscript introduces a strengths-based undergraduate rehabilitation educa-
tion model. The model was designed with the unique strengths of minority students in mind.
It conceptualizes how students’ strengths are cultivated by faculty-supported career exploration
and development and service learning opportunities. The three pillars, in combination, pre-
pare students for their fieldwork experiences. The three pillars of the model—core curriculum,
leadership training, and concentrations—are supported by a strengths-based platform. The
implementation of the model has the potential to improve student and program outcomes by
more adeptly preparing minority students to be leaders in a diverse rehabilitation workforce.

Keywords: undergraduate rehabilitation education; pedagogy; minority; leaders; curriculum
model

S ince 2017, the state of URE programs has been the focus of discussions due to the mergerof the Commission on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and the Council for Accred-itation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Recently, it has
been announced that the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Pro-
grams (CAAHEP) has recognized URE programs as an allied profession and approved the for-
mation of Committee of Rehabilitation Accreditation (CoRA) to assist in the development of
accreditation standards (National Council on Rehabilitation Education, 2018). In the interim
as we await new accreditation standards, the question being posed by many URE programs is:
“Where do we go from here?” We attempt to address our shared concern through this concep-
tual manuscript describing a URE model we created based on our experience in teaching at a
historically black college/university (HBCU).

From the vantage point of serving on the faculty of one of the first accredited URE programs
at an HBCU, the authors now have the freedom to create a program that better suits our
students’ strengths. We envision a program that more fully prepares minority students to serve
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© 2019 National Rehabilitation Counseling Association 129
http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/0047-2220.50.2.129

130 Drake et al.

as leaders in a diversifying and evolving rehabilitation services profession in which minority
professionals are currently underrepresented.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA, 2015) noted a workforce forecast
of significant shortages of mental health and substance use treatment professionals by 2025.
Additionally, the demographics of the current workforce in mental health and substance use
treatment professionals are mostly older, White women. Ryan, Murphy, and Krom (2012)
found that over 60% of clinical directors in this profession are over the age of 50, White,
and women. They found that the direct care staff fit the same description. The shortages and
lack of diversity in the rehabilitation workforce have also been observed in occupational ther-
apy. There are currently shortages in many states for occupational therapists and forecasted
to increase through 2030 (Lin, Zhang, & Dixon, 2015). Barfield, Cobler, Lam, Zhang, and
Chitiyo (2012) confirmed this barrier to recruit minority students and suggest promoting
program-based experiential opportunities to attract a more diverse group of students.

We propose a model for URE that is firmly grounded in student strengths and reflective
of career development and exploration experiences. The model will prepare a new generation
of competent rehabilitation services professionals. We envision three knowledge-based pillars
(rehabilitation core curriculum, leadership training, and concentrations) infused with service
learning opportunities and culminating with fieldwork experiences that permit full application
and integration of all aspects of the learning model.

The strength-based model (SBM) for URE, depicted in Figure 1, has features similar to a
circular Roman colonnade. The pillars (concentrations, leadership training, and rehabilitation
core curriculum) are embedded firmly in a foundation comprised of student innate strengths
and layered with meaningful, faculty-supported career exploration and development oppor-
tunities. The three pillars are fortified by incessant service learning activities. The pillars serve

FIGURE 1. Strength-based model for undergraduate rehabilitation education.
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Strengths-Based Undergraduate Education Model 131

as the basis for all fieldwork endeavors. The pinnacle of the colonnade represents the compe-
tent minority rehabilitation professional who is now equipped to become a leader in a diverse
workforce.

STUDENT STRENGTHS

Our model focuses on creating an URE program that utilizes minority students’ strengths as
the foundation of our curriculum to develop competent rehabilitation professionals. In our
URE program, we have witnessed that a great majority of the students are the first in their
families to attend college to pursue professional careers. Most meet the typical description
of first-generation college students: being minority and of low socioeconomic status (Orbe,
2004), being less academically prepared, scoring low on admission tests, and already parents
and spouses (Garrison & Gardner, 2012). At the same time, these students are resourceful,
hopeful, and persistent in fulfilling their goals to earn a college degree. Garrison and Gard-
ner (2012) support the development of a URE model program that would allow students to
cultivate their strengths.

It was our opportunity to create a URE model that develops the strengths in our students
and prepares them to be competent rehabilitation professionals. The importance of an aca-
demic program that helps students discover their strengths and develop and apply the knowl-
edge base training has been discussed (Anderson, 2004). For our strengths-based URE model,
we have adopted the following two principles (Lopez & Louis, 2009):

1. Personalize the learning experience by practicing individualization whereby we think and
act upon strengths of each student.

2. Actively seek out novel experiences; focus practice of their strengths through strategic course
selection, use of campus resources, and mentoring relationships.

Our experience and previous research (Garrison & Gardner, 2012) concur that students at
HBCUs are proactive, goal-oriented, optimistic, reflexive, persistent, resilient, and hopeful.
Our strengths-based URE model allows students to further develop these attributes through
career exploration and development, knowledge base building, and fieldwork experiences.

We aim to actively create opportunities in classroom and advising sessions to discuss stu-
dents’ personal experiences as they relate to disability and rehabilitation. While students’ per-
spectives may be limited to their own life experiences, we, with additional professional and
personal experiences, are prepared to situate their concrete experiences in the larger societal,
political, economic, and historical contexts that involve minority populations. Guthrie and
McCracken (2010) encourage educators to utilize student’s experiences and allow students to
apply expectations to their current learning opportunities and resources. Our intention is to
engage the students along with their peers in conversations about the changes that they would
envision for the future and the roles that they may opt to play in the facilitation of changes
specifically in the field of disability and rehabilitation. Essentially, we are inviting the students
on new journeys of personal development infused with an exploration of new information
(Guthrie & McCracken, 2010). These discussions (based firmly on students’ life experiences
and faculty’s preparation for informed facilitation) are intended to assist students in discover-
ing some meaning in their experiences that can guide them through their career development,
thereby turning their experiences into their strengths.

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132 Drake et al.

CAREER EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT

We argue that career exploration and development activities are central to the evolution of
the competent rehabilitation professional. Innate and emerging strengths of minority students
are solidified through career exploration and development activities. We have observed how
limited exposure to certain circumstances that are typically associated with the White mid-
dle class can suppress career exploration and development outcomes in our students. Barfield
et al., (2012) noted four barriers for minority students enrolling in rehabilitation education
programs and two of those barriers are social influence (diversity of the program) and experi-
ential opportunity (job shadowing). Hence, it is important that efforts are extended to involve
minority students in campus and community events that expose them to career-enhancing life
experiences.

Students should be strongly encouraged to routinely visit the campus career center for career
exploration. Moreover, the URE program (working collaboratively with the career center and
other campus organizations) can host professional development workshops and career fairs.
Rush (2012) posited that career interventions for African American college students should
include the provision of role models who can speak about careers and discuss environmental
barriers negatively impacting career paths. Barfield et al., (2012) noted that the lack of per-
ceived ability to physically perform a service has also been observed as a barrier for minority
students’ decision to enroll in rehabilitation programs. Those providing career guidance should
proactively address fears students may have in terms of being successful, such as not believing
they have the ability to physically perform rehabilitation services. Rush (2012) emphasized the
importance of networking for career success as well as connecting students with community-
based efforts, such as internships, job shadowing, and service learning.

Students must understand that career exploration and development is an active, evolving
process; thus, program advisers must periodically gauge where students are in the process and
provide needed guidance. Mentoring is vital to the career exploration and development process.
Redmond (1990) identified three benefits of mentoring from students’ perspectives: feeling
respected as individuals, having a role model, and receiving empathy, concern, and feeling.
Redmond (1990) also highlighted the importance of personal connections in creating and
maintaining comfort and cultural validation. Castellanos, Gloria, Besson, and Harvey (2016)
confirmed the important role of mentoring for student development. According to Bettinger
and Baker (2011), students who received coaching displayed long-term persistence and higher
graduation rates.

Faculty mentoring is extremely important when assisting students with making initial and
alternative career choices (Lee, 1999). Mentors can assist students with reconstructing and
reframing lived experiences to better clarify career goals and preferences (Brott, 2001). Through
the career exploration and development lens, mentees are encouraged to filter out aspects of the
core curriculum, leadership training, and service learning, and formulate good choices about
concentrations and fieldwork. Thus, students engage in more effective career decision-making
through mentoring.

KNOWLEDGE BASE DEVELOPMENT

Knowledge base development will be supported by three pillars: rehabilitation core curriculum,
leadership training, and concentrations.
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Strengths-Based Undergraduate Education Model 133

Rehabilitation Core Curriculum

In the strengths-based URE model, the core curriculum will preserve those aspects of the field
of rehabilitation that distinguish it from other human services fields. Hence, the core cur-
riculum may comprise the history of rehabilitation services (to include policy, legislation, and
advocacy), medical and psychosocial aspects, diversity and disability, case management, assis-
tive technology, assessment, theories in counseling, and helping skills. Each of the aforemen-
tioned core courses will incorporate components of vocational development. Furthermore, ser-
vice learning is applied as a pedagogical approach throughout the program curriculum as later
discussed.

Leadership Training

As described earlier, many minority students present with varied strengths as a result of their
life experiences. Nonetheless, it is our observation that all too often, minority students do
not validate their unique vantage point as a foundation for their professional development in
rehabilitation services fields.

Thus, the second pillar of the model is leadership training. Leadership training that is
grounded in cognitive, affective, and behavioral foundations will help minority students val-
idate their own sense of injustice and channel their ambition to initiating action toward
social justice through their professional contributions. Minority students will be encour-
aged to develop soft skills capacities relating to social justice, advocacy, policy and ethics,
self-empowerment and determination, cultural competency, community collaboration, and
decision-making. As discussed earlier in the manuscript, the aforementioned capacities are
prominent in the development of effective leadership skills in URE students.

Soft skills are fundamental to professional competence, but are rarely included in the cur-
riculum of URE programs. Soft skills comprise traits, abilities which are essential for personal,
professional, and social success, and include competencies such as decision-making, communi-
cation, negotiation, business etiquette, problem-solving, and conflict management. Soft skills
are enduring and transferable from one work setting to another (Rao, 2010). Finch, Hamil-
ton, and Baldwin (2013) concluded that employers place the highest importance on soft skills.
Robles (2012) described soft skills as determinants of one’s strengths as a leader, facilitator,
mediator, and negotiator. Encouraging the formation of soft skills, most prominently in the
pillar of leadership training, will empower minority students as they prepare for a diverse reha-
bilitation services workforce.

To this end, a systematic approach that integrates classroom-based and experiential learning
is deployed. Building on the social change model of leadership (Higher Education Research
Institute, 1996), which was developed for college students, through a variety of learning activ-
ities to be conducted individually (e.g., reflection paper writing), in groups and classes (e.g.,
discussion and presentation), and in the community (e.g., service for nonprofit agencies), stu-
dents are to develop awareness and appreciation of core values in rehabilitation services, such
as respecting human rights and dignity, appreciating the diversity of human experience, and
emphasizing client strengths as opposed to deficits (Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor
Certification, 2017), and acquire skills that are required to facilitate these values.

Through such training in leadership skills and reinforcement of awareness as their leadership
potential in rehabilitation services, we expect that minority students will be able to tap into
their firsthand experience of disparity and injustice as their resource and be equipped to fulfill
their everyday professional responsibilities in rehabilitation as means to social justice.
Pdf_Folio:133

134 Drake et al.

Concentrations

URE students are increasingly interested in attaining postbaccalaureate credentials. Revising
the curriculum to include courses that address certification requirements will enhance students’
skill sets and marketability in the diverse workplace. Due to the varied career paths in rehabili-
tation, the lack of minority representation in the rehabilitation workforce, and the multiplicity
of roles, functions, settings, and projected job growth, we envision the following program con-
centrations in the strength-based URE model: (a) addiction studies; (b) preallied health; and
(c) intellectual/developmental disabilities.

In curricula for these concentrations, we anticipate working with other departments within
the institution to ensure that we are providing minority students with diverse and comprehen-
sive programs of study. Components of learning in these concentrations would be provided
by multiple departments, such as health education, criminal justice, psychology, science, and
mathematics in the form of elective courses. Collaborating with these departments will ensure
that our students are receiving the basic prerequisites for the development of competencies in
the given concentration and avoid course duplications.

Addiction Studies. The concentration-specific courses for addiction studies will follow the
four transdisciplinary foundations as outlined in the Technical Assistance Publication (TAP)
Series 21: (a) understanding addiction, (b) treatment knowledge, (c) application to practice,
and (d) professional readiness (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2006). Courses that will
be offered for this concentration within the URE program will be introduction to addictions,
pharmacology in addictions, and treatment strategies in addictions. The URE will collaborate
with the health education and psychology departments to include curriculum in alcohol and
drug studies and abnormal psychology. Additionally, students in the program that concentrate
on addictions will also take a course on drug and drug abuse through a collaboration with the
criminal justice department.

Preallied Health. Courses that will support the preallied health concentration will be
designed to meet the prerequisites to admission to graduate programs in allied health disci-
plines; hence, collaborating with the sciences and mathematics departments to ensure the stu-
dents are satisfying prerequisite courses to apply for graduate school in occupational and phys-
ical therapy. Specifically, the URE program will collaborate with the biology, chemistry, and
physic departments to include curriculum in human anatomy and physiology, physics, and
chemistry. The URE program will also collaborate with mathematics to provide curriculum in
precalculus.

Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. This final concentration was chosen in response
to workforce trends reported by our recent URE graduates. Moreover, a report from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated an increase in children being diagnosed
with developmental disabilities between the years of 2014 and 2016 (Zablotsky, Black, &
Blumberg, 2017). We anticipate a significant future demand for professionals to serve this
population. Courses that will focus on intellectual/developmental disabilities will be offered
in partnership with the psychology department. The courses specified in the curriculum for
this concentration will be abnormal psychology, introduction to developmental disabilities,
developmental psychology, and applied behavioral analysis.

SERVICE LEARNING

As we have mentioned, all three pillars of knowledge base building apply the pedagogical
approach of service learning. According to Furco (1996), service learning can be conceptual-
ized as a form of experiential education with an intention to equally benefit the students who

Pdf_Folio:134

Strengths-Based Undergraduate Education Model 135

provide service for the community, and the community recipients of the service, as well as
to equally focus on the service and the learning. Consistent with Furco’s description, Miller
(2012) defined service learning as an instructional method that offers organized service experi-
ence where students are able to identify the needs of the community and reflect on their expe-
rience to better understand the course content, while building a sense of civic responsibility.

In rehabilitation education, in particular, Ortega and Garner (2014) noted that service-
learning opportunities would serve as experiential laboratories, allowing course material to be
applied to real-life scenarios. We envision that service learning will provide minority students
with hands-on experience of the services that are provided, allow them to reflect and build an
understanding of the consumer’s perspective on receiving the service, and receive small, yet
concentrated, skills training before participating in the fieldwork experience, simultaneously
serving their communities. Additionally, service learning can be applied to address a number of
other goals, such as professional networking, advocacy and community involvement, graduate
school acceptance, and employment (Hansmann, Saladin, & Quintero, 2011).

FIELDWORK

Fieldwork is the capstone that clarifies a student’s career path and solidifies professional com-
petencies and skills. Marlett et al. (2000) described rehabilitation services as a broad-based
and multidisciplinary profession and emphasized how students could be prepared as leaders
and change agents via fieldwork opportunities. In our strength-based URE program model,
the minority student will have completed a number of service-learning courses throughout the
knowledge base building. The student is expected to have a stronger sense of empowerment to
be successful in participating in the fieldwork experience. In our model, the student will now
apply all the skills attained during the service learning experiences. This should the student to
apply course content to practice in a more competent and empathic manner.

Given firsthand experiences of disparities and social injustices, minority students are par-
ticularly well suited for the roles of leader and change agent. The authors agree with Marlett
et al. (2000) that fieldwork should serve as a critical phase in leadership training.

CONCLUSION

We proposed a SBM for URE. Creating a strength-based URE model for students at histori-
cally Black colleges/universities entailed a thorough assessment of program needs from the per-
spective of minority students. A number of facets distinguish the strength-based URE model.
The program is basic and descriptive enough to be articulated and internalized by faculty, pro-
gram staff, and students. This is a student-centered model with the student’s strengths serving
as its foundation and utilizing their lived experiences as beacons of encouragement as well as
guides to how the facilitation of service learning will be infused throughout every program
course.

The model emphasizes the empowerment of minority students via mentorship and career
development. Through concerted efforts, we envision a program that more fully prepares
minority students to serve as leaders in the ever diversifying and evolving profession of reha-
bilitation services. The incorporation of leadership training will strengthen advocacy capacity
in the students as it relates to rehabilitation policy and service provision. Students’ strengths
serve as a catalyst for career development and exploration and the eventual development of
professional competencies.

Pdf_Folio:135

136 Drake et al.

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Disclosure. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect
the official policy or position of their affiliated institutions.

Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to Carmela Y. Drake, PhD, LPC, CAADP,
ACGC-III, Department of Rehabilitation Studies, Alabama State University, Montgomery, AL 36104.
E-mail: [email protected]

Pdf_Folio:137

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