Ball State’s Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology and Counseling introduces its newest undergraduate minor

<p>Claire Dugan, counseling psychology doctoral student, teaches the Techniques of Psychological Interactions course Sept. 15. During her class, Dugan teaches a variety of techniques, including roleplaying counseling sessions, lecturing and showing videos. <strong>Maya Wilkins, DN</strong></p>

Claire Dugan, counseling psychology doctoral student, teaches the Techniques of Psychological Interactions course Sept. 15. During her class, Dugan teaches a variety of techniques, including roleplaying counseling sessions, lecturing and showing videos. Maya Wilkins, DN

Classes in the counseling minor

The program requires 15 hours with two required courses: CPSY 200 Counseling Fundamentals and CPSY 420 Counseling Techniques. In addition, students choose three courses from electives:

  • CPSY 320 Substance and Behavioral Addictions
  • CPSY 330 Career Counseling
  • CPSY 340 Positive Psychology
  • CPSY 351 Diversity in Counseling
  • CPSY 360 Interrelational Aspects of Sexuality
  • CPSY 370 Introduction to Disability, Chronic Health Conditions, and Rehabilitation

Source: Ball State counseling minor web page

Interaction has become the focus of Ball State’s newest undergraduate minor: counseling. 

At the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, this curriculum replaced the university’s interpersonal relations minor. Through the counseling minor, students can learn more about “human behavior and the emotional, social, work, school and physical health concerns people have at different stages in their lives,” according to Ball State’s website.  

Mary Kite, professor of social psychology, and Mia Tabberson, doctoral student in the counseling psychology program, surveyed graduate students in the counseling psychology program during the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters, as well as undergraduate students in the interpersonal relations minor, to see what courses could benefit students.

“We did a survey of all the students who were, at the time, in the interpersonal relations minor, and we asked them what courses they would like to have,” Kite said. “We got a lot of student information about courses that would interest them.”

Tabberson hopes the new minor will provide students of all majors with interpersonal skills including team collaboration and personal interaction experiences.

“This is kind of a nice stepping stone — if someone thought that they could maybe see themselves looking in [to] the mental health field, this would be a great kind of tester to see if the material is interesting,” Tabberson said.

Students in the interpersonal relations minor can choose to either complete their existing minor or switch to the counseling minor, Kite said. New students can’t enroll in the interpersonal relations minor, but students wanting to finish the curriculum can do so through the end of the 2022-23 academic year.

Kite and Tabberson have been working on the counseling minor program for three years through researching and surveying.

“We’re super excited about the courses,” Kite said. “They are more contemporary than some of the things we were teaching before.”

A master syllabus for the minor was created to show “what the goals of [the courses] are and what students would get out of the class[es],” Kite said. After creating the master syllabus, they proposed the minor to the College of Health, and then, it was presented to the university.

“You have to present to all these folks and justify the reasons for the minor,” Kite said. “Then, eventually, the provost signs off on the minor and it comes to be.” 

Doctoral students, including Tabberson, teach the courses that make up the counseling minor, giving them more teaching opportunities.

Tabberson also said the coursework for the new counseling minor is more varied than what students would find in the interpersonal relations courses, which she hopes will provide them with a diverse set of skills.

“The minor before had [fewer] courses and less options,” she said. “And [these] new courses are hopefully more interesting to students and have more for students to apply in their work once they leave the university.” 

Because of the improved curriculum, Tabberson said she recommends the undergraduate minor in counseling to any student enrolled at the university and believes it can benefit anyone in their future career.

“I think the skills that are learned in this major or minor would be applicable to any position that interacts with people on a daily basis, but in particular, those [in] helping fields,” she said. “This minor is very supplemental to any kind of student who is attending Ball State.”

Tabberson enjoys participating in the positive psychology class, CPSY 340, and said she would love to assist in teaching it. She previously taught a counseling skills course, CPSY 420, that piqued her interest in teaching psychological interview skills to students.

Kelsey Thiem, assistant professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology, Social Psychology and Counseling, has also lent a helping hand in teaching and conducting research for the counseling minor curriculum. Thiem said via email she has been evaluating minors, much like the new counseling one, through readings and additional research to ensure the instruction is appropriately updated to meet the needs of enrolled students.

“At the heart of our new minor is a focus on preparing students to better understand people and their behavior,” Thiem said. 

Like Tabberson, Thiem said she feels the development of coursework and the program itself pushes the university forward in the climate of today’s education. 

“Our world is growing more diverse every day,” Thiem said, “and our courses help students better understand and appreciate the different identities people hold and the experiences they have as a function of those identities. Therefore, I think our minor is applicable to students regardless of what field they are majoring in or what career they plan to pursue.” 

Contact Grace Bentkowski with comments at or on Twitter @gbentkowski. Contact Mackenzie Rupp with comments at or on Twitter @kenzieer18.


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