Counseling and Special Education

Student organizations

A student speaks about the dangers of stalking at a student organization presentation.

Students in the Department of Counseling and Special Education are eligible to join a number of student organizations, which can provide invaluable networking and professional development opportunities.

Student organizations available for membership include:

  • Omega Lambda Iota chapter of Chi Sigma Iota
  • Counselor Education Student Networking Association
  • Student Affairs Networking Association

Learn more about these organization by reading their respective paragraphs below:

Chi Sigma Iota (CSI) – Omega Lambda Iota chapter

Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the international honor society for counseling students, professional counselors and counselor educators, is one of the largest counseling organizations in the world. An academic honorary society specifically for counselor education graduate programs, its mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the profession of counseling.

Chi Sigma Iota offers workshops and professional development activities for the counseling community, undertakes philanthropic projects and offers opportunities to serve the Richmond community.

To be eligible for membership in CSI, students must hold 3.5 GPA or better, have completed at least nine graduate credit hours in their counseling program, be in good standing with the Counselor Education department, and be working towards a master’s degree or doctorate in counseling. Dr. Donna Gibson serves as the faculty adviser for CSI.

Counselor Education Student Networking Association

The Counselor Education Student Networking Association, or CESNA, is the counseling program’s student organization. We believe the relationships students develop in graduate school provide a network of colleagues with whom they may share ideas and resources with throughout their counseling careers. Therefore, the goal of this organization is to develop collegiality and a spirit of professionalism among counselor education students.

CESNA is led by a small group of students under the supervision of a faculty adviser. The officers and adviser plan activities for the students in the program to attend, such as fall/spring social events, the annual alumni dinner, graduation celebrations and guest presentations. These opportunities provide students with additional knowledge about specific areas in the counseling field, as well as the opportunity to network with other students and respected guests.

Students are automatically become members of CESNA when they enter the counselor education program and no membership fees are required. Dr. Donna Dockery serves as the faculty adviser for CESNA.

Student Affairs Networking Association

Student Affairs Networking Association (SANA) is the department’s student organization that focuses on issues relevant to those interested in student affairs and higher education. Regular meetings are held throughout the academic year. The organization also recently sponsored an event to bring a screening of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary detailing the prevalence of sexual assault cases on college campuses, to VCU.

Dr. Abigail Conley serves as the faculty adviser for SANA.