Richard YepHow important are graduate students and new professionals? Let’s take a look at some recent (and future) actions.

This past March, during the American Counseling Association Annual Conference, our opening session began with a look back at our 60-year history as an organization. At the second keynote session, we showed a video that captured what graduate students and soon-to-be new professionals thought the counseling profession would be like in the future. Related to “the counseling profession of the future,” the ACA Foundation commissioned a publication that will look at the counseling profession’s next 60 years. This book will be published in time for the ACA 2013 Conference & Expo in Cincinnati (March 20-24).

During the ACA Foundation Board’s summer meeting, the trustees felt the need to reiterate their commitment to students and new professionals. The trustees are very interested in knowing what these individuals think the profession of counseling will be like in the future as they take on critical roles in mental health, education, rehabilitation and human services.

In addition to supporting various conference events, the ACA Foundation trustees are announcing a contest that focuses on graduate students’ and new professionals’ perspectives of the future. Various prizes are associated with this program, including the opportunity for a graduate student and new professional to participate in a featured ACA presidential session focused on the future of counseling at the annual conference. Panel members for this session will be sharing their views with current leaders in the profession, and the event will be moderated by one of the profession’s most famous experts. For more information, visit

I was also very pleased to see that ACA President Brad Erford has specifically referenced graduate students and new professionals as a cadre of members on which we will be focusing this year. The staff and I look forward to working with the ACA Graduate Student Committee and the recently created task force on new professionals.

We all understand the importance of maintaining, enhancing and growing the counseling profession. And with so many graduate students and new professionals looking toward ACA as their professional home, we have an obligation to know what individuals in these groups need and want as they develop and mature in their careers. If you identify as being a member of either of these groups, I hope you will feel free to contact me directly with your questions, comments, suggestions or, yes, even criticisms concerning what ACA needs to be doing on your behalf.

If you plan on joining thousands of your colleagues at the ACA 2013 Conference & Expo, I hope you will take advantage of our summer registration rates. Please remember that the deadline for the deeply discounted summer rates is Wednesday, Aug. 15, so make sure you visit for all the information you need to register. Each year, it seems like I say, “The upcoming ACA Conference & Expo is really shaping up to be one of our best ever!” Not to sound like a broken record, but with so many outstanding program proposals submitted for the 2013 event, the Cincinnati conference is looking to be one of our best ever!

For those of you about to start a new academic year, whether as a student, faculty member, administrator or counseling center staff person, I wish you all the best. I know the work you do can be both exhausting and challenging. My hope is that you also find it rewarding and fulfilling.

As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and thoughts. Feel free to contact me at 800.347.6647 ext. 231 or via email at You can also follow me on Twitter:@RichYep.

Be well.