Indiana State University Newsroom

School counseling program receives innovation award

October 15, 2010

Indiana State University's Bayh College of Education school counseling master's program received the Innovative Counselor Education Program Award from the North Central Association for Counselor Education and Supervision today (Oct. 15).

Bayh College of Education Dean Brad Balch said for several years the program has been nationally known as transformational.

"The NCACES innovation award further validates that our program continues to provide exemplary programming and remains pre-eminent among other school counseling programs," Balch said. "Program faculty continue to do an excellent job of ensuring our graduates are well prepared for the rigors that face school counselors in public and private schools."
The award was presented during an NCACES conference luncheon in Chicago. Universities in 13 states from Oklahoma to North Dakota and from Ohio to Wisconsin participate in the North Central Association.

Tonya Balch, program coordinator, said that the award highlights the program's uniqueness in Indiana and surrounding states and they work to ensure individual student needs are met

Eleven years ago, the college recreated its master's in school counseling, Tonya Balch said. Previously, it followed the traditional approach with full-time students attending classes in Terre Haute.

Faculty reworked the program into a hybrid where students attend classes at ISU during the summer and then five times a semester on Saturdays and Sundays. They also are able to take classes online. ISU faculty school counseling members also travel to the students' hometown areas to meet with them once a month.

"It showcases that we're trying to meet the needs of the students," she said. "I think that it models to our students that they should try to meet the needs of their students."

Tonya Balch said it's all done to help those students who are employed full time to continue with their education, and possibly make a career change.

"You can come to graduate school without quitting your job," she said. "We're able to draw from all over the state because they don't have to be on campus full time."

ISU also places graduate students in the same school system during a two-year period at elementary, middle and high school levels for their 700 hours of field experience required for a school counselor license.

"We want them to have a rich experience at all levels," Balch said.

Contact: Tonya Balch, Indiana State University, counseling program coordinator, at 812-237-3459 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or