The mission of the WCU counseling programs is to subscribe to the standards of CACREP and prepare ethically bound professional counselors for entry-level counseling positions in agency and school settings. The faculty teach and supervise across program areas and focus on excellence in the preparation of professional counselors regardless of the setting in which they will be employed. Instruction in counseling is founded upon commitment to the belief that individuals are valuable, responsible, and capable and that counselor’s work to create the conditions in which people prize themselves as human beings and act accordingly. The counseling faculty is committed to creating teaching-learning environments that encourage the active participation of students. Students are invited to join faculty in advocating for clients’ and human rights and for professionalism which requires adequate reflection and careful consideration of the interest and welfare of the persons affected by their decisions.
The WCU counseling programs primarily serve the needs of people in the seventeen westernmost counties in North Carolina, a region that extends from the foothills bordering South Carolina to mountainous areas bordering eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia. This area includes the highest mountains east of the Mississippi with elevations exceeding 6,000 feet and the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Qualla Boundary Eastern Band of Cherokee. Growing urban communities in the region, such as Asheville and Hendersonville, are attracting an influx of both young professionals and retirees from across the nation. Students in the counseling programs bring a wide diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and cultural exposure that enrich and enliven the quality of learning for students and faculty.
In order to accommodate students from this wide geographical area, counseling courses are offered at both the WCU Cullowhee campus and the WCU Graduate Center on the campus of the University of North Carolina, Asheville. Students will attend classes in both locations during the course of their programs. Full-time counseling faculty also travels between the two locations and offer courses on both campuses. The two campuses are approximately one hour apart and are connected by Interstate 40 and US Highway 74. Students are encouraged to carpool to extend their support networks and professional connections beyond the classroom setting.
The WCU counseling programs have served full-time and part-time students since 1960. The clinical mental health and school counseling programs have been CACREP accredited since 1993.