College of Continuing and Professional Studies to Offer Ed.S. and Ph.D. Programs in Counseling on Atlanta Campus


MACON — Mercer University’s College of Continuing and Professional Studies will add two graduate degrees and a new certificate program to its curricular offerings in 2010, including its first Ph.D. program.

Beginning next fall, the College will offer the Specialist in Education degree in School Counseling degree and the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional Campus in Atlanta, building on its successful Master’s degree programs in Professional and School Counseling.

The Ed.S. is designed to help address the shortage of highly qualified professional school counselors in Georgia and to satisfy the need for data-driven approaches to effecting positive change within school systems.

The American School Counseling Association, The Education Trust, the Georgia Department of Education and Georgia Professional Standards Commission are demanding rigorous and continued training beyond the initial master’s degree and initial certification for school counselors. With the new Ed.S. program, Mercer is poised to fill the continuing education needs of practicing master’s-level certified school counselors.

The Ed.S. provides practicing school counselors with continuing education leading to certificate renewal, with the potential for salary increases as they move from S-5 to S-6 certification, and with the opportunity for promotion. The Ed.S. also will benefit individuals who hold master’s degrees in other counseling specialties and want to enter the field of professional school counseling and seek initial certification.

Offered in cooperation with Mercer’s Tift College of Education, the Ed.S. requires 36 hours beyond the master’s degree, and one of the most significant features of the program’s design is that students may apply credits earned toward completion of course requirements for the Ph.D. degree in Counselor Education and Supervision.

The Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision — only the second such program offered by a Georgia-based institution — will join the University’s other Ph.D. programs in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction, and Nursing Education.

The new Ph.D. program will prepare graduates for supervision, teaching, research and scholarship, and counseling in universities, school systems, hospitals, residential treatment centers, private practice, consulting, and training settings.

The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation standards have changed to require faculty members hired for counselor education programs in colleges and universities to have this Ph.D. Faculty members with degrees in allied fields will no longer be eligible to fill faculty positions in accredited counselor education programs.

Both the Ed.S. and Ph.D. degrees build on the College of Continuing and Professional Studies’ highly successful and nationally accredited counseling program. Ninety percent of Mercer’s counseling program graduates pass the state licensing exam on their first attempt, compared with the national average of 75 percent. Also, 80 percent of Mercer counseling graduates receive job offers from their internship sites, and the Licensed Professional Counselor Association of Georgia reports that Mercer graduates are in the top 1 percent of desirable applicants for counseling positions.

A new certificate program in leadership for medical practice workforce development will also be offered in Atlanta by the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. The certificate program, designed in consultation with the leadership of Piedmont Healthcare and the Center for Health and Learning, jointly operated by Piedmont and Mercer, is designed for administrators/managers of medical/healthcare practices, in particular those affiliated with major healthcare providers.

“The three new programs in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies, including our first Ph.D., build on the faculty and curricular strength of our longstanding programs in counseling and in leadership studies,” said Dr. Priscilla R. Danheiser, dean of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies. “The faculty is thrilled to be able to offer students these extraordinary educational opportunities in three high-demand fields.”

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,000 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit