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Faculty & Staff

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Spotlight on Dr. Rand Oliver

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Dr. Rand Oliver

National Hispanic Heritage Month provides an opportune time to shine the spotlight on Dr. Rand Oliver, National Dean of UI&U. His grandmother’s family hailed from Spain and he is proud of his Hispanic heritage. Rand’s great grandfather, Charles Francisco, was a lawyer and judge in Wisconsin. In addition to his duties at UI&U, Rand serves as Vice President of the Dayton, Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Union serves a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and is the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division.

Q. What excites you about being a part of higher education?

A. I am a lifelong learner. I inherited the fervor for adult higher education by watching my parents complete their educations. My father graduated from university in 1987 with his BBA. A year later I received my MBA from the same school. My father was career military and my siblings and I watched him study his correspondence courses at night at the kitchen table when he was home. He was always taking classes. My mother was the same way. She went to work in the cafeteria after my youngest sister started elementary school. She was the “cafeteria lady”. She took classes and worked her way up to manager of a school and ultimately to food service director for a school district in Texas. She also taught her colleagues through an area college program. I had excellent role models that believe in higher education.

Q. What attracted you to become part of the Union family?

A. Our students come to us with passion to make change. Union teaches truth. Union’s message to educate adults is one I respect. I am also excited to be part of Union president Dr. Karen Schuster Webb’s vision to create new opportunities for students, faculty, staff, the communities we serve, and to seek new opportunities to serve throughout the world.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. I am truly an introvert, while being seen as enthusiastic and action oriented. I re-charge my batteries through my reading, art, family activities, and home projects.

Q. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?

A. I am in the best job. I get to be around incredible people doing meaningful work changing lives for the good. How awesome is that?

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. Fredrick Douglas said he wasn’t free until he could read. Education frees. I am also an admirer of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. I am an avid reader, sometimes as many as five books in a week and couldn’t choose a favorite book. But I have an office full of good to great ones. Come by and borrow a book.

Explore the academic program that helps you move ahead in your career today!

2018 National Commencement Welcomes Dr. Cynthia Cherrey

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Union Institute & University National Commencement is Saturday, October 6, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Hilton Netherlands Plaza in downtown Cincinnati.

Graduating together is a son and mother, a married couple, a father hooding his son, and a mother hooding her son.

Union Ph.D. alumna Dr. Sharon E. Trekell will hood her son Gustav A. Otto and experience the joy of watching him follow her path with a Ph.D. “This is the thrill of a lifetime. I have always been incredibly proud of Gus as a son and a scholar. I don’t think I will be able to keep from crying.”

Married couple Antwan and Daniel McKenzie-Plez encouraged each other when the educational journey became stressful. “We found a strength and balance together that galvanized us forward,” said Daniel.

Dr. Cynthia Cherrey is the keynote. She is the president and CEO of the International Leadership Association (ILA), a global organization for people who practice, study and teach leadership. Her interests and research explore new ways to live, work, and lead in a knowledge-driven, interdependent world. Recently she participated in a podcast series for Voice America’s business channel on global leadership with Maureen Metcalf, host of Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations. A sought-after advisor, Cynthia serves on the editorial boards of Asian Women and the President’s Advisory Group at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a Fellow at the World Business Academy, a Royal Society of the Arts Fellow, a former senior fellow at the James MacGregor Burns Academy of Leadership, and recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.

Degrees will be bestowed in the following areas: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Doctor of Education, Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Doctor of Psychology with a major in Clinical Psychology.

Union is sought after by adults because of its adult delivery model: Specialized distance-learning programs that combine online and classroom coursework with high-touch faculty attention, designed for students regardless of where they live and work. Union also has a long history of serving diverse populations: Minorities (44 percent), women (55 percent), and an older, adult population (average age of 37) and interweaves social justice in its curriculum.

Find your new career path today!

Leadership Spotlight – At 64, James Blake McHenry Follows His Passion

By | Alumni, Bachelor's Degree, Doctoral Degree, Faculty & Staff, Latest News, Master's Degree, News, Students, Union Institute & University | No Comments

Blake McHenry

Spotlight: Leadership Spotlight on James Blake McHenry (B.S. Business Management 2012 and current student in the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling major.

Title/Profession: Professional coach and clinical counselor trainee

Union Institute & University’s historical commitment to ethical and creative leadership and the insights gained over the past 50 years as a leader in adult learning is the inspiration for the monthly series, Union Leaders.

This month James Blake McHenry shares his leadership insights. Blake is a Union alumni and current student who says he started his career backward. After 30 plus years in corporate America as a sales and human resources executive, he decided at the age of 55 that he wanted to be a life coach and counselor. He came back to Union and enrolled in the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling major. He is now in his internship phase and graduates in the spring of 2019 at the age of 64. This spotlight completes our focus on the passion and purpose of the students and faculty in Union’s CMHC and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate programs for National Recovery Month.

Q. How do you define leadership?

A. Leadership is the ability to lead teams to develop results. You know you are doing a good job when the team members model the leader’s behavior. That development differentiates a leader.

Q. Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.

A. I always looked for the potential in others, almost before they could see potential in themselves. I wanted to know the aspirations of the people who worked for me. Many times, I gave the chance for new opportunities to people who were not deemed manager material and I watched them flourish.

Q. What leader do you admire most and why?

A. I admire many leaders. In my professional life, I admire Mark King, former CEO at TaylorMade Golf Company. Mark is a remarkable person and leader who told us to enjoy the tough days as well as the bad days because there is always opportunity.

On a global scale, I admire Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi.

Q. What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?

A. My personal mantra is to make meaningful contributions daily.

Q. When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?

A. When I was head of sales, I had a series of moments when I realized this is a tough job. There is so much complexity in the job. I thought WOW. Yet, I knew I could do the job.

Combine your passion and purpose to help others.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – Spotlight on Ana Elisa Baratta

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Dr. Ana Baratta

Spotlight: Dr. Ana Elisa Baratta

Title/Profession: Learning Specialist Coordinator Rinella Learning Center’s Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program at Miami University and student in the Union M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC).

Union is proud to serve a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and to be the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division.

This celebration is an opportune time to shine the spotlight on Dr. Ana Elisa Baratta. Ana is a native of El Salvador and a licensed psychologist in El Salvador. She earned her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Psychology with a minor in Counseling from Indiana University in 2003 and 2012 respectively.

Ana is enrolled at Union to follow her dream to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders? Find out more in the Q&A below.

Q. What do you plan to do with your degree?

A. My degree will allow me to reach three goals. 1. To work in the Latino community counseling in Spanish. 2. Create mental health awareness programs for schools and other entities. 3. Work in private practice.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. I was led to this program because of Union’s commitment to social justice. Every course includes a social justice component. Also, the personalized study that Union offers can’t be matched.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. Union has been a godsend. I am a wife, mother, and fulltime employee. Only Union respected my many commitments and understood I had to have flexibility with my courses.

Q. If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?

A. Don’t worry about what other people think.

Q. Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?

A. My parents never went to college but they instilled in me the importance of education. They supported all of my dreams. My husband has always been very supportive and understanding.

If you have a deep desire to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders, enroll today in the M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) and/or Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate Program.

A Life of Purpose

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Amy Stenger-Sullivan

Spotlight: Union Alumna Amy Stenger-Sullivan M.A., L.P.C.

Title/Profession: Affiliated Faculty, Union Institute & University, Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice at Restoring Hope Counseling and Coaching, Inc.

Welcome to the “Alumni Spotlight” monthly series. Amy Stenger-Sullivan is living the UI&U mission of engagement, enlightenment, and empowerment through her commitment to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. September is also National Recovery Month and offers the opportunity to highlight the passion and purpose of the students, alumni and faculty in the M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate.

Learn why Amy says her job fills her heart in the Q & A below.

Q. What has your degree meant to you personally and professionally?

A. Earning my master’s degree at this stage of my life while working full time in a job, which required travel, was a big feat for me! I feel a great sense of accomplishment. Professionally, I am grateful to be working at a job that fills my heart and contributes to the well-being of others. My advisor and professors at Union supported and encouraged me, which has led to an increase in my confidence. I am forever grateful for that.

Q. What quality do you admire most about your alma mater?

A. I admire the commitment of my professors and Union’s support of the nontraditional learner.

Q. If you could give advice to a Union student, what would it be?

A. Take advantage of everything Union has to offer. Union gathers wonderful people together, both educators and learners, to advance all.

Q. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment?

A. I am grateful I get to live what I feel is my life’s purpose: to listen to another with deep compassion. This seems to open up a space for them to begin their healing journey in earnest. I’m glad I listened to that little nudge to make a career shift in the half time of my life.

Q. What is your passion away from work?

A. Spending time with my family, kayaking, cooking and reading.

Today is the day to discover a career as a professional counselor. A Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling is within your reach.

Union Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and Diversity

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The spotlight is on National Hispanic Heritage Month and Union’s commitment to diversity. Union is proud to serve a more than 25% undergraduate Hispanic adult learner population and to be the only university in Ohio designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education Hispanic-Serving Institutions Division.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15, highlighting the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. (https://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/about/)

Union is committed to diversity and social justice. We recognize that with knowledge comes the responsibility to serve in advancing a culturally pluralistic, equitable, and interdependent world. During this month, Union will highlight the students, staff, and faculty of Hispanic heritage with features, social media posts, and more. In addition, Union is active in Hispanic Chamber of Commerce associations across the nation.

In case you missed past spotlights, enjoy the two below.

Guillermina Hernandez is an early childhood expert who teaches in the Child & Adolescent Development (CHAD). She was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age three. Read more about Guillermina and her passion for teaching adult learners here.

Dr. Raul Manzano is an artist and professor of art. Last year he used art to celebrate La Ruza. Read more here.

Guillermina Hernandez

Dr. Raul Manzano

Union Institute & University is committed to providing diversity among its academic world and in the world at large. Learn more about Union’s mission below.

Passion and Purpose Drive – Becky Morrissey

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Spotlight: Becky Morrissey, LPCC, LICDC-CS, ERYT500

Profession: Adjunct Faculty, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Course for undergraduates, Union Institute and University, and Licensed Professional Counselor.

Each month, faculty and staff are recognized for their enormous contribution to Union. This month Becky Morrissey is in the spotlight. September is also National Recovery Month and offers the opportunity to highlight the passion and purpose of the students and faculty in the M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate.

Learn what drives Becky in the Q&A below.

Q. What excites you about being a part of higher education

A. I am inspired by the process of innovation, creating learning experiences, and researching the evolution of how we learn using service, technology, history, and creativity.

Q. What attracted you to become a part of the Union family?

A. The online learning and teaching experience attracted me to the Union family, beginning in 2015 with Dr. Stella Marrie in psychology. I am excited to begin a fourth year with Union working with Dr. Rosalyn Brown-Beatty as well.

Q. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?

A. Being a life learner is the best job! Teaching, research, and creating educational experiences for students and myself is my passion.

Q. What surprises people about you?

A. People have adaptive abilities that continue to surprise, inspire, and empower me to look to and remember to source the options in any situation.

Q. What is your favorite book, and why?

A. I love to read east-west spiritual studies, and I have many favorites. Pema Chödrön’s “Comfortable with Uncertainty” is a source of comfort and reflection.

Discover how your passion and purpose can turn into a counseling career.

Passion and Purpose Lead Antwan McKenzie-Plez

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Antwan McKenzie Plez

September is National Recovery Month and offers the opportunity to highlight the passion and purpose of the students and faculty in Union’s M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate programs.

Passion and purpose to help individuals recover is why Antwan McKenzie-Plez sought a career as a counselor. He will graduate in October with a M.A. in CMHC and a graduate certificate, prepared to make a difference in the lives of many. Learn more about Antwan in the Q&A below.

Q. What do you plan to do with your degree?

A. I am pursuing my passion to work with developmentally disabled adults. The drug abuse in this group is overlooked because there has been little to no research in this area. I am working to influence policy to help these individuals. The CMHC major requires an internship and now I am employed fulltime in a career where I can help people.

Q. What led you to this program?

A. I also completed my undergraduate work at Union and I was very pleased with my experience. I had to have a program that produces the brightest and best and I knew the highly regarded Clinical Mental Health Counseling major would prepare me to make a difference. I knew that I would be part of a cohort that offers the opportunity to share and learn from each other. The cohort became an extension of family. The camaraderie among my fellow students is extraordinary.

Q. Why did you choose Union for your studies?

A. Union offers personal growth. The program requires you to know yourself so you can help others. Counselors can’t be effective without self-awareness.

Q. If you could give a piece of advice to your 20 something, what would it be?

A. Do not put off your passion. Go for it!

Q. Who has influenced you the most in your life, and how have they influenced you?

A. My grandaunt took over the role of grandmother to me. She has been my biggest supporter. She taught special education for 40 years and inspired me to give of myself.

Your passion and purpose to help others can be your career!

Passion and Purpose

By | Alumni, Bachelor's Degree, Doctoral Degree, Faculty & Staff, Latest News, Master's Degree, News, Students, Union Institute & University | No Comments

Rosalyn Beatty Brown

Passion and purpose are the cornerstones of the UI&U Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Graduate Certificate program.

Students enter the profession because they have a deep desire to help individuals recover and sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. Antwan McKenzie-Plez entered the program for that reason. “I am prepared to make a positive impact on lives. Union has given me the best training possible.”

“Our mission is to support every student as a future professional colleague in gaining counseling concepts and skills, but also encourage reflective personal growth,” said Rosalyn Y. Brown Beatty, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, Director, Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate Program.

Antwan agrees. “The self-knowledge I have acquired through my studies at Union allows me to be a better counselor. I just completed my internship and was hired by the company because of my excellent training.”

September is National Recovery Month and offers the opportunity to highlight the important work of the M.A. with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate Program.

“The M.A. is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) and led by scholar practitioners. Our accreditation ensures that students receive a curriculum based on the highest educational standards. CACREP is the accrediting body for master’s and doctoral degree programs in counseling and its specialties offered by colleges and universities in the United States and the world,” said Dr. Brown Beatty. “Our counselor educators pride themselves on being able to teach the theories, techniques, and skills required to become a counselor using decades of combined counseling experience to adequately prepare students to become practitioners in the field of counseling and building connection to the broader counseling professional network,” said Dr. Brown Beatty.

The Union certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling is a fully online graduate certificate offered as a stand-alone program or embedded in the M.A. major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

“This program trains and prepares professionals for a career in counseling individuals with substances use and abuse problems,” said Dr. Brown Beatty. “The certificate can be completed in just one year. An alcohol and drug abuse counselor specializes in providing counseling and support to individuals and families experiencing problems with substance use or dependence. This may include individual, family or group counseling about the causes and effects of addiction support for families dealing with addiction, and/or referrals to treatment.”

A benefit only available to Union students is the fully online library. Access to the library is a service few universities can match. It provides access to a growing collection of more than 125,000 electronic full-text periodicals via 150+ online licensed research databases, available to students 24/7, 365 days a year.

In addition, career services leads students to employers looking for their skill set through the job alert network. The career counselor also offers resume and interview services to successfully market students to a rewarding career.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a high growth rate for both occupations with a salary range of $39,000 to $65,680 for the mental health counselor field and a salary range of $39,600 to $73,050 for a drug and alcohol counselor.

“Union is known for transforming lives and communities. The UI&U Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Graduate Certificate program offers the opportunity to enter a rewarding profession that makes measurable improvement in the quality of the lives of clients, families, and society,” said Dr. Brown Beatty.

Combine your passion and purpose into the rewarding life of a counselor.

Union Welcomes JoNataye Prather, Ph.D.

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JoNataye Prather

If there was ever an advocate for social work and students, it is JoNataye Prather, Ph.D. the new chair of the UI&U Social Work undergraduate program. “I am passionate about supporting students through education to transform their lives. I take into consideration their holistic and academic needs.”

The servant leader brings 15 years of experience in the social work and education fields as a college administrator, assistant professor, education coach and non-profit consultant. Students, educators and human service practitioners nationwide have benefited from her insightfulness, compassion and spirit of enthusiasm to transform their organization, professional and personal lives.

She is excited to put her stamp on UI&U’s fully online bachelor’s program with a major in Social Work. “My goal is to transform our students into social work practitioners by strengthening our curriculum and providing added value resources,” said Dr. Prather who wrote the forward for “The Best College Student Survival Guide Ever Written” and recently released the book, “Don’t Even Think About Getting Your Ph.D. Without Reading This Book First”.

Dr. Prather is truly enthusiastic about empowering students with her inspirational quotes that have attracted over 20,000 followers on her Instagram account.

She strives to emulate a quote from her mother, JoEthel Prather: “The ability to begin is useless without the willingness to endure.”

Dr. Prather earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and African-American Studies (1999), Master’s in Social Work (2001), and PhD (2010) from The Ohio State University.

Welcome to Union Dr. JoNataye Prather!

Start your career in social work today.