Enhancing Education, University, Industry Collaborations to Support Regional College and Career Readiness
This study was part of a collaboration between the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, local school district, and the WKU research team. It was developed to assess and assist in developing innovative practices to strengthen student college and career readiness in our regional high schools including but not limited to the Chamber of Commerce plan to introduce career academies into local schools; informing stakeholders (i.e., school staff, business partners) in best practices for workforce development; and developing an advanced degree program to train teachers, school counselors, and school administrators in CCR initiatives within the regional high schools. The research was conducted with Rachel Bauer (graduate assistant) and presented during Kentucky Counseling Association conference (2017). Grant Funding was provided: Wolf, C. P. & Duba Sauerheber, J. (Feb 2015). Enhancing Education, University, Industry Collaborations to Support Regional College and Career Readiness. WKU Research and Creative Activities Program (RCAP; $16,000).
Exploring Counseling Work Settings, Values, and Job Satisfaction
This mixed-methods study explored mental health counseling settings from small private practices to large inpatient agencies or hospitals and how counselors’ current jobs aligns with their values, impacts their satisfaction, and potentially leads to burnout. The research was conducted with Bradley Ginn and Lexie Sheucraft (graduate assistants) and presented during Kentucky Counseling Association conference and WKU REACH Week events (2015).
Negotiating the Academic Job Offer
This descriptive study explored the job negotiation experiences of 93 counselor educators through an embedded survey design to examine their negotiation experiences, reflections, and potential hiring biases. The most common negotiation preparation strategy was consulting a mentor (80%) and while salary was most regularly negotiated (76%), a list of other benefits was included. Although a majority of participants regretted not making a request (53%), most reported overall positive experiences (63%). These findings support implications for counselor educators including preparing early, using successful negotiation strategies, exploring all potential benefits, and articulating requests for a more positive negotiation experience. This research was presented with Dr. Andrea Jenkins at the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision conference (2015) and the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision conferences (2014, 2016). It was published in the Journal of Career Preparation and Supervision (2021).
Exploring the Factors Underlying Career Meaning including Values, Satisfaction, and Wellness
This research study of nearly 700 U.S. Naval Academy graduates from the graduating classes of 1985 through 2010, was focused on the effects of career meaning on professional and personal lives. Career meaning describes an experience with a career that provides meaningful, satisfying, and challenging work that contributes to an overall balanced lifestyle and is aligned with one’s values. It extends beyond the pleasurable aspects of hedonic well-being and integrates more fulfilling and self-actualizing life experiences inherent in eudaimonic well-being. As significant relationships between career meaning, values, satisfaction, and wellness emerged in the research literature, it became important to investigate these further. This research was completed for dissertation requirements in completion of a Ph.D. in Counselor Education at the University of Florida. The dissertation committee included Dr’s M. Harry Daniels (Chair), Ana Puig, Walter Leite, and Tom Kerkoff. It was presented at the Global Career Development Conference (2016). Grant funding was provided: Wolf, C. P. (2012, November 24). Factors of career meaning: An analysis of U.S. Naval Academy graduates. 2012 Chi Sigma Iota Research Grant ($400).
Money versus Meaning
Aligning a person’s values with their work is of particular interest. People focus on careers where they can make a lot of money or pursued something others encouraged; however, their personal values conflicted with those goals. This research looked a what influences affect a person’s career decision and how they can find the appropriate balance between money and meaning. The research was presented at the Florida Counseling Association conference (2007) and the Chi Sigma Iota Beta chapter conference (2008).
Counselor Satisfaction & Retention
The field of counseling can be demanding, so understanding what keeps counselors in the field is important. Job satisfaction has been highly correlated to retention, so I focused on what helps counselors remain satisfied in their careers, especially as it pertains to their own wellness. This research was presented at the Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision conference (2008) and the Florida Counseling Association conference Beach (2008).