Into Africa: Counseling prof helps Malawi university with accreditation

Victoria Kress

Victoria Kress

As a national award-winning and respected counselor, author and academician, Victoria Kress has done consulting work for major universities across the country.

This time, she’s taking those talents to the other side of the world.

Kress, YSU professor of Counseling, makes the 25-hour plane trip to Malawi, Africa, this month to assist leaders of the Africa University of Guidance, Counseling and Youth Development prepare for and earn national academic accreditation.

“Everyone tells me about how Africa changes you and you are never the same,” Kress said. “I’m curious about that, and I’m really looking forward to growing in a new way.”

Kress goes to Malawi at the invitation of the National Board of Certified Counselors International, a trade organization that advocates on the development of professional counseling.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Kress, who serves as the director of YSU’s Community Counseling Clinic and is coordinator of Clinical Mental Health and Addiction Counseling Programs.

malawi-name-023Kress said Malawi, located in southeast Africa, is just now establishing accreditation standards for its institutions of higher education. The Africa University of Guidance, Counseling and Youth Development is one of the first schools to go through the process. Kress will spend two weeks in Lilongwe, Malawi, helping the university formulate its accreditation plan.

“This could potentially be an ongoing relationship,” Kress said. “I could see where YSU could create study abroad programs for our students, or maybe have some African students come here.”

Meanwhile, the American Counseling Association recently awarded Kress the Carl D. Perkins Government Relations Award, a national honor that recognizes a counselor who has achieved public policy changes that have a significant impact on the counseling profession.

Kress, who joined the YSU faculty in 2001, won the award for her contributions in leading the charge in Ohio to require that all counselors graduate from programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.