This is an archived copy of the 2019-2020 catalog. To access the most recent version of the catalog, please visit


Youngstown State University is located an hour from Cleveland and Pittsburgh.  The Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Educational Leadership develops professionals who are committed to empowering individuals to achieve their full potential.  

The mission of the Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Educational Leadership is to develop professional counselors, school psychologists, and related helping professionals. We seek to produce graduates who are sensitive to the impacts of human development, culture, and context upon students and consumers of education and counseling services. Graduates are caring and compassionate administrators, counselors and helping professionals; who are self-reflective; who promote opportunity and social justice for the impoverished urban and rural populations; and, who are committed to empowering individuals to thrive, and to achieve their fullest potential.

We offer several graduate degree programs. The CACREP accredited masters degree in Counseling has options in a) Clinical Mental Health Counseling, b) School Counseling, c) Addiction Counseling, and d) College Counseling & Student Affairs. The educational specialist degree in School Psychology includes a master’s degree in Intervention Services. An ELCC approved masters degree in Educational Administration and doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. Post-masters program coursework can lead to licensure as a principal, superintendent, or administrative specialist.

The faculty and students within the Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Educational Leadership are committed to academic success, excellence, and engagement.  The department has a consistent record of accomplishments in relation to the mission and goals of YSU, assessment activities/results, research and scholarly activity by faculty and students, examples of student success and academic excellence, and community engagement activities. 

Jake J. Protivnak, Ph.D.
Department Chairperson / Professor
4103 Beeghly College of Education
(330) 941-1936

For more information about the Department of Counseling, School Psychology and Educational Leadership, contact the Department Office at 330-941-3257 or visit our Department website.  

undergraduate course Work Areas


The counseling program offers a limited number of undergraduate elective courses for students who are interested in developing counseling knowledge and skills and/or pursuing a graduate degree in counseling. The undergraduate counseling courses focus on mental health and wellness, leadership, career/life planning, and helping skills.The counseling program offers an MS in Education degree with program options in clinical mental health counseling, school counseling, addiction counseling, college counseling & student affairs. Candidates are prepared to meet the requirements for the applicable licensure and certifications. A complete listing of program options and course descriptions are presented in the YSU Graduate Catalog and on the department's website.

COUN 1587Introduction to Health and Wellness in Contemporary Society3
COUN 1588Exploring Leadership: Theory and Practice3
COUN 1589Success in Career and Life Planning3
COUN 2650Foundations of Helping Skills for Allied Health Professionals3
COUN 2651Foundations of Helping Skills for Human Ecology Professionals2


Jake J. Protivnak, Ph.D., Professor, Chair


Jane Beese, Ed.D., Associate Professor

Kristin L. Bruns, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Carrie R. Jackson, D.Ed., Assistant Professor

Charles Jeffords, Ed.D., Assistant Professor

Victoria E. White Kress, Ph.D., Professor

Karen H. Larwin, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Don Martin, Ph.D., Professor

Kenneth L. Miller, Ph.D., Professor

Matthew Paylo, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Richard W. VanVoorhis, D.Ed., Associate Professor

Charles B. Vergon, J.D., Professor

Amy E. Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor


COUN 1587    Introduction to Health and Wellness in Contemporary Society    3 s.h.

Provides an introduction to the wellness model integrating physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Using current research, students explore decision-making models examining ethical, theoretical, multicultural, and practical concerns in developing their own wellness strategies.
Gen Ed: Well Being, Social and Personal Awareness.

COUN 1588    Exploring Leadership: Theory and Practice    3 s.h.

Introduction to the study of leadership through theoretical and practical applications. Through group interaction, discussions, and change projects, students will develop their leadership knowledge while acquiring skills to solve leadership challenges within diverse organizations. The course will provide students with intellectual and interpersonal opportunities to practice the process of becoming effective leaders.

COUN 1589    Success in Career and Life Planning    3 s.h.

The course will facilitate the development of career and life planning skills. This course is designed for, but not restricted to, entering and undeclared students. This course will emphasize identifying strengths, clarifying values, exploring career options, developing effective decision-making skills, and learning life skills related to health, finances, relationships, and community responsibility.

COUN 2650    Foundations of Helping Skills for Allied Health Professionals    3 s.h.

Skill development in learning how to foster helping relationships and increase communication skills with individual, family, or group-related patient needs in a health care setting. Emphasis on ethical, cultural, socioeconomic, and special needs in allied health care settings. Includes an experiential skill video training component.

COUN 2651    Foundations of Helping Skills for Human Ecology Professionals    2 s.h.

The course will facilitate the development of helping skills with individual, family and/or groups. Emphasis is on ethical, cultural, socioeconomic, and special needs in human service settings. Courses will include overview of counseling skills and theories that will assist students to address client care needs.

COUN 5821    Seminar in Guidance and Counseling    1-3 s.h.

Study of selected topics chosen by staff, e.g. career guidance, counseling process, and other contemporary issues in school personnel work.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5822    Seminar in Guidance and Counseling    1-3 s.h.

Study of selected topics chosen by staff, e.g. career guidance, counseling process, and other contemporary issues in school personnel work.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5823    Career Education and Career Guidance    2 s.h.

Study of public school career education and career guidance programs; the career education continuum, legislation relating to vocational programs, historical development, and principles of vocational education and vocational guidance. Also a survey of economic services: distributive education, human resources, programs, and placement.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5825    Group Processes in the School    2 s.h.

An introduction to group activities applicable to the needs of students in the school setting. Includes the study of group processes and group dynamics for social and personal problem solving as well as in the general area of individual and group behavior. Also a study of programs that provide for counselor-teacher cooperation in the development of groups in the classroom.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5879    Talented Students and Their Families    3 s.h.

A study of consulting and referral practices related to the developmental, social and personal difficulties often experienced by gifted/talented students and their families. Includes a field study component.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5888    Introduction to Health and Wellness Counseling    3 s.h.

Provides an introduction to basic counseling principles with special focus on those factors encountered in the provision of health and wellness-related services.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5895    Counseling Workshop    1-3 s.h.

Selected topics related to prevention and intervention approaches in school and community settings. Designed primarily as continuing professional education, this course is not included in counseling degree programs.
Prereq.: Upper-division standing.

COUN 5898    Orientation and Ethical Issues in Community Counseling    3 s.h.

This course provides students with an introduction to the field of professional counseling and the foundations of community counseling. The course addresses the following topics: history, philosophy, cultural dynamics, advocacy, consultation, technology applications, and trends in professional and community counseling. The counseling profession's ethical standards are also addressed with an emphasis on the ACA code of ethics and counselor ethical decision making processes. Requirements differ for undergraduate and graduate students.