“My passion is education,” says Anna Hultquist, PhD, dean of Counseling/Human Behavior programs at the Capella University Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Hultquist joined the Capella faculty in 2008, but for many years prior, she worked as a licensed therapist in marriage and family therapy. Practicing therapy was certainly gratifying, she says, but earning a PhD and teaching other therapists seemed like a good way to have an even greater impact on the field: “I loved clinical work with individuals, couples, and groups—but as a counselor educator, I am able to train the next generation of therapists,” she says.
Here, Hultquist answers some questions about her work as dean and what makes counseling a great occupation.
Q. What does the job of dean entail?
A. I work with five faculty chairs and more than 180 faculty at Capella to ensure that the learner experience is exceptional. One of my responsibilities is to foster an environment of continuous improvement across the curriculum and throughout the department.
Our academic leadership team is charged with ensuring our counselor education and human behavior programs at Capella align with the standards of regional and specialized accreditors (CACREP, COAMFTE, NCATE); that our programs meet the needs of the communities and clients that will be served; and that our students master the competencies needed to be successful in their chosen field.
Our goal is for our students to become professional and competent scholar-practitioners when they graduate.
Q. How has therapy changed in recent years?
A. There’s been a move toward more evidence-based therapy—and Capella trains students to understand and evaluate research. The move to managed care means there is greater expectation that clients will receive treatment that is guided by research findings published in the literature. If a client comes in with a particular presenting problem, counselors and therapists need to make sure they look at literature to review the most effective ways to treat the problem.
Part of this is the maturation of the field—we have many more studies and information to draw on than when I entered the counseling profession. Today clients have greater assurance that the treatment they receive is grounded in what the scientific community says will be most effective.
Q. Why should someone consider a career in counseling or therapy?
A. Counseling and therapy are recognized and valued professions. Professional counselors and therapists are licensed by their state and can function in a range of settings—private practice, schools, health care. Also, professional counselors and therapists offer valuable services that have a positive impact on the lives of individuals and families in the place where they work and live.
Q. Why should a prospective student consider Capella’s programs?
A. Our faculty members are experts in the field and are committed to walking alongside each of our learners. Our curriculum provides students with valuable content that prepares them for the field. This includes supervised field experience when our students provide direct counseling services in a range of setting. All along the way, our students have their faculty advisors and course room faculty to guide their professional development.
We also have a range of helpful supports for field education, and we have a great career center to help students find jobs. Many of our students are employed before they graduate. And our career center is available to support our graduates throughout their career.
I can say without hesitation that Capella is focused on helping our students be successful.
Learn more about Capella’s online counseling degree programs.