Olcay Yavuz (M.S. ’09) has long been interested in helping students achieve and thrive in school. To that end, he attended NYIT School of Interdisciplinary Studies and Education, where he studied school counseling for K-12 students in order to support their academic, social, emotional, and career development. “I was always interested in being able to measure the impact of the comprehensive school counseling program on students’ outcomes,” he says.
Yavuz was drawn to NYIT for his graduate studies because of the quality of the school counseling program, and specifically by Adjunct Professor and Chair of School Counseling Carol Dahir, Ed.D. Her book The Transformed School Counselor, was an inspiration and explores how to help improve students’ careers and support social justice using theories, data-driven decision making, leadership, advocacy, and consultation.
Yavuz is currently assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Southern Connecticut State University. His research focuses on STEM leadership, comprehensive college and career models, program evaluation, and leadership development.
“As a scholar, I decided to work in the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department because I find it interesting to train pre-service school leaders [on how] to build a collaborative partnership between school administrators and school counselors,” says Yavuz. “Many K-12 school and district leaders lack information and knowledge about effective school counseling practices. Without a working relationship between school counselors and leaders, it is very difficult to design and implement comprehensive school counseling services that play crucial roles on improving students’ academic, social, emotional, and career development.”
Working in higher education puts Yavuz in touch with adult learners, and the majority of his students are actually professional teachers. “NYIT instructors utilized teaching strategies for making lessons more applicable for adult learners,” he explains. “I have been teaching school law for the past four years. When I did at my studies at NYIT, I took the educational law, policy, and ethics graduate course. This was a survey of the ethical, legal, and professional issues facing the school counselor. I have used many of these case scenarios and teaching strategies to train future school leaders.”
As a student in the school counseling program at NYIT, Yavuz had the opportunity to participate in two educational international field trips as well as present at national and international conferences. The program also inspired him to complete his doctoral degree focusing on effective school counseling practices. In recognition of his achievements in the field, he was named Counselor of the County in New Jersey.