Associate Director of College Counseling Tim Cross will present a talk on “Growing Counselor Engagement through Leadership” at the 2021 Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS) Summer Institute. The virtual conference, which the ACCIS calls its “flagship event,” will take place June 28-30.
According to Cross, the concept of “employee engagement” originated in the corporate world, but has gradually become a tool in education used to understand the physiological, emotional, and cognitive responses and/or connections that employees have with their institutions. Leaders of college counseling offices have the ability--and responsibility--to support engagement in their counselors, Cross said, because studies show that student learning outcomes correlate directly with educator learning and growth, an important element of employee engagement. Employee engagement in independent schools, the need to tailor support for counselors with an equity lens for personal growth, and the methods of authentic leadership are all needed to maintain a successful and inclusive office.
Demographic factors (such as ethnic identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc.) are considered successful predictors of "employee engagement" or turnover in a social sector setting like education, Cross noted. Supporting counselors individually through proper leadership requires a lens of equity and inclusivity. Directors must welcome and support their counselors with an understanding of each employee’s social identifiers and intersectionalities so that counselor engagement is enhanced and the counseling office thrives. In order to facilitate coherence in the counseling office, Cross’ presentation will help directors learn to acknowledge their privilege and power (both explicit and implicit) as a director, employ empathy to realize the effects of one’s leadership on counselors, establish psychological safety in the office, build community and trust, and facilitate collaboration and distributed leadership.
ACCIS is an international membership organization providing support, shared knowledge, and professional development programming for college counselors based in independent (non-public) schools around the globe. ACCIS counts nearly 600 schools as members, represented by over 1800 counselors and office assistants working to support the students in their care. Founded in 2007, ACCIS was formed to offer independent school college counselors a professional association focused on the specific needs and challenges of their work with students and families in independent school communities.
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