Cultivating global awareness in school counselors is the top priority of Professor Carol Dahir, Ed.D., whose work has taken her to Japan, Turkey, and the Philippines to expand cultural competence as a core value in NYIT's school counseling program.
"The metropolitan New York educational community knows that NYIT School of Education respects diversity," Dahir says. "Our school counseling program is designed to meet the needs of diverse student populations. Our graduate students also come from all over the world, from places including Taiwan, India, Lithuania, Turkey, South America, the Caribbean Islands, Serbia, and Italy."
In June of 2014, Dahir traveled to Turkey for a third Fulbright experience at Ege University in Izmir to work on a national research project that would identify the key roles and practices of school counselors throughout the Republic of Turkey. This opportunity to work with the dean of the university’s College of Education and colleagues in the counseling department also resulted in a proposal to explore the development of national standards and a national model for school counseling practice in Turkey. Dahir worked with counselor educators at several universities, visited public and private schools, taught several classes to undergraduate and graduate students, and trained counselor educators, students, and practitioners in school counseling models and accountability practices.
"The Turkish model for delivering school counseling services is somewhat similar to counseling practice in the U.S. as many counselor educators in Turkey received their doctorates in the states,” says Dahir. “Turkish counselor educators have a strong interest in comprehensive school counseling that emphasizes prevention and intervention to support student academic success, which is based on contemporary practice in the United States."
School counseling students have benefited from Dahir's cultural awareness. Since 2008, she has organized six academic and cultural excursions for school counseling graduate students. They have worked with universities in Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara. The result has been a partnership between NYIT, its School of Education, and the Turkish Cultural Center in New York City, where faculty and students have participated in events organized around the “Year of Turkey” at NYIT.
Since 2008, Dahir has organized an annual five-day Cultural Competence Institute for students every July at NYIT-Manhattan. This past summer, graduate students from NYIT and four other universities visited centers for Orthodox Jews and Muslims, and worked with newly immigrated high school students, Latino/Hispanic, Black/African-American, and Asian educators.
Dahir has provided school counseling training in Manila for several years which has resulted in the development of the Philippine National Standards for School Counseling programs and a draft of a national model.
"The department faculty are committed to providing our graduate students with knowledge and understanding of the diverse student populations that they'll work with in New York City and the metropolitan New York area," she says. "We want every school counseling candidate to be culturally competent in order to best serve students and their families."