Each month, faculty and staff are recognized for their enormous contribution to Union. In the words of President Sublett, “Only people make a difference in an organization and only people are important in our lives.”
This month UI&U is highlighting National Recovery Month. In recognition of the UI&U Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, faculty members Dr. Covia Boyd and Dr. Melissa Naslund are in the spotlight.
Q. What excites you about being a part of higher education?
A. Covia – The adult learner excites me. The tenacity and perseverance of adult learners is to be appreciated. Kids learn naturally. Adult learners are working one and maybe more jobs, raising a family and going back to college. I am always excited and grateful when I have a part in an adult learner’s life, the mom or dad who understands a concept that they have been struggling with and took the time and effort to learn, that is exciting.
Melissa – I am excited by the energy, passion, and continued growth focus of higher education. A career in higher education has allowed me to build strong relationships with colleagues and students who share my same passion for helping people grow and heal. I also love that I get to spend my working hours growing my expertise and sharing my knowledge of the field of counseling through consultation, teaching, and research.
Q. What attracted you to become a part of the Union family?
A. Covia – I have great respect for Dr. Brown Beatty, the Director of the UI&U Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She was my accountability partner during our dissertation process and I know she is a person of her word. When the opportunity came to work together, I knew it would be a great experience.
Melissa – Union Institute and University was a perfect next step in my academic career. The Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program is a strong program that is at the cusp of achieving CACREP accreditation. With the strong history of the program and the exciting future ahead, joining the Union CMHC team was a no-brainer. Additionally, I have found the Union family to be exactly like my real family, they expect greatness and provide the resources needed to succeed.
Q. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?
A. Covia – A life of service to others is my ultimate goal. I am in divinity school and plan to be a pastor.
Melissa – I have said in the past that I would love if someone would pay me to spread happiness around the world or just a small town somewhere in the midwest. I would love to walk around town handing out flowers while telling people how special and important they are. I feel like I get to do a little of this each day. As a mom, I get the honor of speaking life and encouragement into my children each day. As a counselor/faculty, I get to assist people in achieving their goals by encouraging them to dig deep and work hard for the things they want.
Q. What surprises people about you?
A. Covia – I am who I am. I don’t hold back.
Melissa – Nothing, I am an open book, and I wear my thoughts and feelings on my sleeve. Maybe that is what surprises people about me. People, especially my students have a strong schema developed about how a professor should be, and I am very different from most people’s schemas. When I first started teaching, I went through a period where I thought I needed to be more serious, maybe even artificial, but I have learned (just as a learned when becoming a counselor) that the best way to be is authentic. Honestly, I believe the most effective counselors and teachers (although they all are very different in personality and practice) are the ones who have learned to “just be themselves” and leave room for the people around them to do the same.
Q. What is your favorite book, and why?
A. Covia – I have three. First, The Most Dangerous Game. I read this book in middle school and the theme has always stayed with me because it is thought provoking. Second, The Lost Symbol. I like this book because it is fast paced and thrilling. I couldn’t put it down. Third is the Bible. The Bible is a guideline for life. I believe it is divinely inspired and tells us how to live.
Melissa – I have many favorite books. I very much appreciate Carl Rogers On Becoming a Person and all of Brené Brown’s work on shame, vulnerability, and courage. However, I would have to say my favorite book right now is Icky Sticky Ducking by Steve Smallman and Tim Warnes. I love this book because it highlights to me that no matter how perfect something seems, a little dirt and some spontaneity can always make it better.