Student Affairs

Going Virtual with Counseling Basics for Student Affairs Professionals

Duration: 1 hour
Facilitator: Dr. Aaron Hughey
Price: $50.00

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“When we communicate with others, especially about ourselves, we tend to feel pressure to perform a particular version of ourselves, especially in face-to-face communication where feedback from the other person influences our behavior. Online communication, however, involves a number of differences from face-to-face communication. These involve factors like the synchronicity of the conversation, verbal and nonverbal cues, appearance, and identification.” - Sunday Moulton

Recent events have forced student affairs professionals to significantly alter the way they go about meeting the needs of the students they serve. This webinar is designed to give participants a greater appreciation for the complementary nature of the student affairs and counseling professions within a virtual environment. In addition to enhancing communication, fostering consensus, and augmenting conflict resolution, a working knowledge of basic counseling concepts and applications can help student affairs professionals recognize the warning signs of unhealthy emotional states, make more effective referrals, and consult more productively with mental health professionals and other administrators. This is challenging enough during “normal” times when social distancing was not mandated on most college campuses. It’s still all about determining and implementing the best course of action for individual students – but doing it online instead of face-to-face.

Even though they are not responsible for the provision of direct counseling services, student affairs professionals need a working knowledge of basic counseling skills. These skills complement the educational and developmental aspects of student affairs work and help practitioners to be more effective in their overall delivery of student services. When interacting with students remotely, through platforms such as Zoom and Adobe Connect, counseling skills are still integral to the ongoing process of developing students to their maximum potential. But it does require additional insight and effort to implement effectively, efficiently, and especially empathetically. 

The presentation and discussion will include examples, illustrations, and case studies designed to complement and reinforce the collaborative role student affairs professionals have in helping students to realize their full potential in a holistic and productive manner – within the context of virtual interactions. It is intended for student affairs professionals at all levels; minimal technical proficiency is required. Those on the 'front lines' who work directly and consistently with college students via electronic formats will find it especially instructive. 

Learning Outcomes:

Those participating in the webinar will acquire:

  • A working knowledge of basic counseling skills necessary to be more effective as student affairs professionals, including 
    • Skills needed to recognize the basic symptomatology associated with emotional problems.
    • Skills needed to make effective referrals to appropriate mental health professionals.
    • Skills needed to effectively consult with mental health professionals and other administrators.
  • Competencies need to translate those skills into a virtual environment, while retaining all the traditional advantages associated with face-to-face interactions. 
  • Proficiency with a variety of microcounseling skills and how they can be used in online communications to remain as responsive as possible to individual student needs.


Dr. Aaron W HugheyDr. Aaron W Hughey is a Professor in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs at Western Kentucky University, where he oversees the graduate degree program in Student Affairs in Higher Education. Before joining the faculty in 1991, he spent 10 years in progressive administrative positions, including five years as the Associate Director of University Housing at WKU. He was also head of the department of Counseling and Student Affairs for five years before returning to the faculty full-time in 2008. Dr. Hughey has degrees from the University of Tennessee at Martin, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Western Kentucky University, and Northern Illinois University. He has authored (or co-authored) over 70 refereed publications on a wide range of issues including leadership and student development, counseling, standardized testing, diversity, legal issues, and educational administration. He regularly presents at national and international conferences and consults extensively with companies and schools. He also provides training and professional development programs on a variety of topics centered on student success; integrating basic counseling skills into student affairs practice is one of his specialties. 


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