DENTON (UNT), Texas — A new program under development at the University of North Texas aims to increase the diversity of the rehabilitation counseling career field, while helping students complete an education and move into the profession in less time.
The University of North Texas Department of Disability and Addiction Rehabilitation recently received a $395,642 grant from the Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program for Allied Health Pathways through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to implement the program.
Under the new program, minority students transferring to UNT from a partner community college program will enter UNT as juniors, and in their senior year, students will finish requirements for the undergraduate program and complete the first year of the master’s program. The fifth and final year will be spent completing the master’s degree.
"Students will spend five years seeking bachelor’s and master’s degrees that will traditionally take an individual six years," said Chandra Carey, principal investigator of the grant and associate professor of rehabilitation, social work and addictions at UNT. "It provides a more efficient and attainable pathway to a professional degree in a shorter amount of time."
UNT is partnering with Dallas County Community College District, Collin College and the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services to bring the program to fruition. The two-year grant began Sept. 1, and the first students are expected to begin the program in the spring.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for our department as it fits well within UNT's initiative and our department's initiative to recruit more minority professionals into the field,” said Linda Holloway, professor and chair of the Department of Disability and Addiction Rehabilitation at UNT. "It will strengthen our relationship with community colleges and create a pathway for students to easily matriculate into our B.S. program and into our master’s program."
Rehabilitation counseling careers involve helping people with emotional and physical disabilities.
"Over the past few decades, the numbers of individuals of color with disabilities has increased drastically," Carey said. "We hope to fulfill a dire need in the rehabilitation counseling field to create a similarly representative cadre of professionals who are culturally and linguistically diverse."