Research & Projects
Learn about the research and projects of faculty in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology.
Center for Community Counseling & Engagement (CCCE)
CCCE is a non-profit community center providing low-cost counseling services to individuals, couples, and families in San Diego. CCCE is also a counselor training facility operated by SDSU offering hands-on education for pre-licensed graduate students in the fields of Marriage and Family Therapy and Community-based Counseling.
Executive Director: Juan Camarena, Ph.D., Lecturer, CBB LPCC Program
Center for Achieving Black Wellness and Anti-Racist Education (CABWARE)
CABWARE firmly believes gaps in education and mental wellness within the Black community stem from anti-black racism deeply rooted in all sectors of our education and health care systems. That belief drives our mission to close the achievement and wellness gaps for the Black community by disrupting anti-black racist ideologies, discourses, and practices in education and mental wellness.
Director: Sesen Negash, Ph.D., LMFT, Associate Professor and MFT Program Director
Center for Equity and Postsecondary Attainment (CEPA)
Led by Dr. Laura Owen, adjunct professor in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, and Dr. Diana Camilo, assistant professor at CSU San Bernardino, CEPA aims to improve equitable student postsecondary opportunities, particularly through the study of counseling and advising systems and processes that elevate the diverse student and parent voices of vulnerable communities. Its goals include ensuring all students have access to a high-quality antiracist school counselor to guide and support them on their postsecondary paths, and ensuring that all school-based systems, policies, and practices promote equitable postsecondary opportunities.
Executive Director: Laura Owen, Ph.D., Lecturer, School Counseling Program
Current Projects & Initiatives
African American Mentoring Program (AAMP)
AAMP's goal is to recruit, retain, and sustain students of African descent in graduate level programs at SDSU.
- Black Educator Pipeline (BEP)
The San Diego State University College of Education recognizes that increasing racial diversity among K-12 educators is critical to improving the wellness and prosperity of Black learners. Black educators are grossly underrepresented across all fields (i.e., teaching, special education, counseling, administration) in K-12 schools in California. The Black Educator Pipeline website seeks to improve representation among Black educators in San Diego-area schools by providing information and resources for prospective students. Learn more about becoming a meaningful leader and change agent in the K-12 school workforce.
Native American and Indigenous Scholars Program
SHPA supports the preparation of Master's level graduate students in School Counseling and Specialist level graduate students in School Psychology committed to serving Native American children with high incidence disabilities.
Project BEAMS will improve pre-service preparation of school psychologists (SP) and special educators (SE) to serve diverse students with behavioral, emotional, and mental health challenges in California's public schools.
Project TLC prepares school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers to meet the unique and complex needs of students with disabilities in foster care who have experienced trauma.
The ¡PUEDE! project addresses a critical need for support for the growing population of Dual Language and English Learners (DL/EL) in today’s schools. Children with disabilities who have high intensity needs require specialized knowledge, skills and services from multiple, highly-trained professionals.
Previously Funded Projects
This project, funded by Price Philanthropies, placed MFT trainees in four elementary schools in City Heights to provide therapy to children and their families and offered support to teachers and staff. The goal was to improve academic performance by addressing the socio-emotional needs of the children.
Project CARES was an interdisciplinary collaboration designed to recruit, retain, and prepare students from underrepresented groups in School Psychology, School Counseling, and school social work programs as highly qualified Culturally Affirming and Responsive Education Specialists (CARES). CARES scholars received training through interdisciplinary coursework and fieldwork experiences to incorporate current evidence-based practices that improve outcomes for CLD children in foster care with disabilities and their families. These practices were guided by competencies needed to provide academic and behavioral interventions, mental health services, and consultation that lead to improved outcomes of CLD students in foster care with disabilities. CARES Partners, San Diego County Department of Education, Foster Youth and Homeless Education Services and Voices for Children, provided access to youth in foster care, foster parents, community collaborators, and provided certified CASA training.
The Cultural-Linguistic Advocates for Spanish-Speaking English-Learners (CLASS-EL)
Project was proposed in response to the exponential growth in the numbers of Spanish-speaking
students in Southern California. For example, the majority of children now entering
kindergarten in San Diego speak Spanish at home. The preparation of Spanish-speaking
educators lags far behind. CLASS-EL sought to:
--Recruit and prepare Spanish-speaking school psychologists who have the bilingual education knowledge, skills, and abilities (BEKSA) to serve as advocates and consultants for Spanish-Speaking English-Learners (SS-ELs).
--Improve the Spanish skills and cultural competencies of those pre-service school psychologists and of pre-service bilingual teachers and special educators.
Our central goal was to improve instruction and services for Spanish-Speaking English-Learners (SS-ELs) while helping educational personnel to meet high professional standards.
Project CI2ELO brought school psychology and speech-language students together for
collaborative seminars, institutes, and field experiences at Porter Elementary, a
multilingual school in San Diego City Schools. Trainees developed the knowledge and
skills to provide Collaborative Interventions to improve English Learners’ Outcomes. CI2ELO used a pre-service learning community model to
engage trainees in researching and intervening in the real-life challenges experienced
by English Learners with, or at risk of, disabilities.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education ($1,200,000): K. Lambros & V. Gutierrez-Clellen.
The SDSU MFT program was awarded a substantial grant from the San Diego County of Health & Human Services. The grant, titled "The Linguistically And Ethnically Diverse (LEAD) Project", was designed to lead to a dramatic increase in the numbers of linguistically and ethnically diverse interns that gain MFT licensure. The grant paid a one year stipend to selected SDSU MFT interns enabling them to obtain the hours required for licensure within a timely manner. In addition, the internship engaged trainees and interns in collaborations with mental health county agencies, provided preparation classes for success with licensure examination, the opportunity to complete a Certificate in Public Mental Health Practices, and educational programs on evidence-based models and promising practices to strengthen clinical knowledge and skill level. The project was designed to significantly increase the numbers of SDSU MFT interns entering into the County workforce over the next five years. Gerald Monk, Project Director.
The Native American Student Success Collaboration Project (NASSCP) partnered project
scholars with Valley Center Pauma High School, and with the surrounding rural reservation
communities to work with underserved youth for school success. School psychology and
school counseling students studied the work of indigenous educators in weekly seminars,
worked with youth and mentors on the project school site each week, participated in
mentored professional presentations to state or national conferences, attended summer
and winter institutes, and benefited from multiple mentors. They focused on targeting
school-wide preventive work, separating difference from disability, and working from
strength-based models to create and deliver culturally compatible intervention services.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($800,000): C. Robinson-Zañartu.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition ($1,500,000): V. Cook-Morales.
The SDSU-MTE Collaborative brought together commitments and resources from San Diego
State University (SDSU), Mountain Empire (MTE) Unified School District and surrounding
tribal communities on behalf of Native American youth. We worked from and assessed
a culturally consistent Collaborative Model for Related Services Training for Native
Student Success, a model designed to prepare pre-service school counselors and psychologists
to work with community and school leaders to improve outcomes for Native youth.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($800,000): Robinson-Zañartu, C. & Hatch, T. (Funded 2005–2009). The SDSU-MTE Collaborative for Native American Student Success (with Mt. Empire Unified School District). Department of Education, Office of Education (84.325K) ($800,000/4 yrs). Principal Investigator.
Project TEAMS brought school psychology and speech-language students together for
collaborative seminars, institutes, and field experiences in a multilingual elementary
school in San Diego City Schools. Trainees developed the knowledge and skills to provide
classroom-based services for English Learners with, or at risk of, disabilities via
transdisciplinary collaboration with general education teachers.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education ($800,000): V. Cook-Morales & V. Gutierrez-Clellen.
The Transdisciplinary Autism Specialty Project (TASP) (2005-2009) provided support
for speech-language pathologists and school psychologists developing shared evidence-based
expertise in serving diverse children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The TASP
experience included both “expert” seminars (featuring researchers from UCSD and leading
practitioners from San Diego City Schools) and collaboration seminars using a responsibility
model for learning. The two year field experience was graded in scope and intensity;
beginning with site visit observations in schools and agencies serving students with
ASD, to shadowing ASD specialists in City Schools, to a year-long collaborative field
experience providing direct services to students with ASD.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($800,000): V. Gutierrez-Clellen & V. Cook-Morales.
The Diversity & Disabilities (D&D) Project (2003-2009) supported school psychology
students engaged in specialized study and research in the interface of cultural diversity
and disabilities (e.g., the underrepresentation of Latino students amongst students
with autism; the overrepresentation of African American students, especially male
students, identified with emotional-behavioral disorders). Project included structured
mentoring, extra courses in special education and on-going research & writing in the
D&D focus. Specialized mentoring was available for trainees with disabilities and
who have English as their second language.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($800,000): V. Cook-Morales.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Project: Preparing School Psychologists as English-Language Acquisition (ELA) Consultants (2003-2008)
The project supported students developing a specialization in ELA and services for
an identified ethnolinguistic group (Vietnamese, Hmong, Sudanese, and Latino-rural/migrant).
ELA content knowledge is built through mentored study, conference participation, and
additional coursework in bilingual education and linguistics. Cross-cultural knowledge,
skills, and culture-entry began with library research then augmented with a variety
of experiential learning activities (e.g., cultural plunges, service learning) and
culminated in an intensive ethnographic experience.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition ($1,500,000): V. Cook-Morales, T. O'Shaughnessy, & T. Green.
School psychology and school counseling trainees collaborated toward the development
of culturally consistent models of service for Native American youngsters and communities.
Trainees engaged in scholarly research and writing, a weekly seminar, and specialized
field experience at All-Tribes School in North County.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($800,000): C. Robinson-Zañartu.
Bilingual High-Incidence Disabilities (BHID) Project: Collaboration of Bilingual School Psychologists and Bilingual Speech-Language Therapists (2002-2006)
School psychology and speech-language pathology students worked together toward development
of identified shared and unique competencies needed to meet the needs of bilingual
(Spanish) youngsters with or at-risk of high-incidence disabilities (e.g., learning
disabilities, language disabilities, behavior disorders). Collaboration Field Experiences
were developed in Chula Vista Elementary School District.
Funded by U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($800,000): V. Gutierrez-Clellen & V. Cook-Morales.
The San Diego Bilingual School Psychology Partnership (2000-06) joined the forces
of SDSU and San Diego City Schools in a collaborative endeavor to prepare qualified
bilingual (Spanish) school psychologists and to improve the quality of bilingual school
psychological services in City Schools. This school-based professional development
program linked pre-service students, interns, first year and experienced schools psychologists
in peer coaching and mentoring, a Summer Institute, and involvement in professional
bilingual education associations. Participants designed Individualized Language-Culture
Learning Plans that typically included Spanish immersion programs in Mexico or Latin
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs ($1,182,290): V. Cook-Morales.
The Native American Collaboration Project (NACP) (2000-2004) emphasized the development
of competencies from a traditional knowledge base, and related that knowledge directly
to the practices and knowledge of Western traditions. Larry Emerson, Diné mentor with
expertise and experience, taught this integral seminar. The seminar contributed to
the development of culturally appropriate scholarship.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($738,891): C. Robinson-Zañartu.
The MNACP seminar, taught by Marilyn Robinson, Cayuga mentor with expertise and experience
in both western and traditional perspectives on issues in Indian education, families,
and service, utilized a western knowledge base to lead Scholars’ and Collaborators’
study of the issues essential in competency development.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($599,845): C. Robinson-Zañartu.
The Urban Poverty Project (Project UP) (1999-2002) improved pre-service preparation
of school psychologists to serve children with or at risk of high-incidence disabilities
in California's multicultural urban school districts. The project provided financial
support packages for our school psychology students while the faculty and governing
bodies worked toward revision of the program to create a greater emphasis on prevention
and intervention training for broad-based services in urban schools.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($589,603): V. Cook-Morales.
Transdisciplinary Collaboration for Preparation of Specialists in Serious Emotional Disturbance (1997-2000)
The Transdisciplinary Collaboration for Preparation of Specialists in Serious Emotional
Disturbance (1997-2000) was designed to prepare special education teachers, school
psychologists and counselors to provide appropriate services for children/adolescents
with serious emotional disturbance (SED). The project focused specifically on SED
in the context of the urban culture of poverty and attended to ethnic and gender disproportionality
in identified SED populations in the schools.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($894,000): P. Cegelka & V. Cook-Morales.
The Multicultural/ Cross-Cultural School Psychology Project (1996-2000) supported
the pre-service preparation of fully qualified school psychologists with the competencies
to serve ethnolinguistically diverse children and youth, their families and teachers.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($865,503): V. Cook-Morales.
The Native American Specialty in Related Service Personnel Project (1994-1999) supported
the development of specializations in either school psychology or rehabilitation counseling.
The project emphasized in-depth understanding of educational/cultural links vital
to improving service to Native American children, youth and their families.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($643,645): C. Robinson-Zañartu.
The African-Centered Project in School Psychology (1995-1998) provided African-centered
educational experiences for school psychology students who serve African-American
children and youth. The experiences included an African-centered seminar, supervised
field experiences in model schools, summer institutes featuring national leaders,
and African American mentors.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($310,161): V. Cook-Morales, C. Robinson-Zañartu, & M. Brown-Cheatham.
Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Training Project: Bilingual School Psychologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (1993-1998)
The Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Training Project: Bilingual School Psychologists
and Speech-Language Pathologists (1993-1998) supported a collaborative approach to
the training of bilingual school psychologists and speech-language pathologists. Students
developed shared expertise in serving bilingual Hispanic children and youth, their
families and teachers.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($671,200): V. Cook-Morales & V. Gutierrez-Clellen.
The Bilingual-Bicultural (Hispanic) School Psychology Projects (1986-1997) supported
the development of a specialization in the nondiscriminatory assessment of Hispanic
children. The project was guided by an ecosystems philosophy and provided 19 competencies
for a systems approach to nondiscriminatory assessment. Eighteen of these competencies
are now integrated in the School Psychology program.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (1986-89 at $225,000; 1989-94 at $424,369, 1994-97 at $240,000): V. Cook-Morales.
The Cultural-Linguistic Diversity (CLD) Project in School Psychology (1994-1996) supported
the development of competencies necessary for appropriate school psychological services
for bilingual and English-learning children from the high needs (top 20) language
backgrounds in California. Each project trainee developed an Individualized Language-Culture
Learning Plan (ILCLP) addressing (1) language structure and development, (2) bilingual
education methodology, (3) culture and cultural diversity, (4) the culture of emphasis,
and (5) the language of emphasis - listening, reading, speaking, and writing. A language-culture
immersion experience was expected and supported.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs ($431,233): V. Cook-Morales.
The Multicultural School Support Personnel (MSSP) Project (1989-1994) supported the
pre-service training of multicultural school psychologists and school counselors.
The philosophical model reflected a "preventive/systems approach" and incorporated
Ingraham's (1989) Inverted Pyramid Model for coordinated school service delivery and
Cook's (1987) Least Restrictive Evaluation Model for school psychological services.
School counseling and school psychology students developed 12 common competencies
to contribute to a multidisciplinary support services approach.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($423,000): V. Cook-Morales & C. Ingraham.
The African American Specialty in School Psychology Project (1991-1994) supported
the development of specialized knowledge and skills in providing culturally appropriate
assessment and other special education related services for African American children
and youth. The project sponsored a specialty seminar, a colloquium series, and an
annual Summer Institute in African American School Psychology featuring national leaders
in African American psychology and education.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($336,187): V. Cook-Morales & M. Brown-Cheatham.
The large majority of our Hispanic students are native Spanish-speakers, many attended
Mexican elementary and secondary schools, and all have fluent bilingual conversational
skills. The need for the development of professional Spanish proficiency, however,
became a recurrent theme in our evaluations. The SELP Project was designed to address
these needs and to augment the Bilingual-Bicultural Project. The project provided
"Intensive Spanish Language Experiences" in our winter and summer sessions and a colloquium
series in Spanish throughout the academic year.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs ($553,437): V. Cook-Morales.
The American Indian Specialty in School Psychology Project (1990-1993) supported the
development of specialized knowledge and skills in providing appropriate special education
related services for American Indian children and youth. Students developed the knowledge
and skills to provide culturally informed consultation at referral, culturally appropriate
evaluation for special education, and culturally affirmative interface with parents.
Dynamic assessment, mediated learning, and ecosystems perspectives were integral to
the specialization. The project sponsored an American Indian colloquium series, coursework
focused on the culture-cognition connection, and an annual pow-wow.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($226,657): C. Robinson-Zañartu.
The Bilingual-Bicultural (Hispanic) School Psychology Project (1989-1994) supported
pre-service school psychologists to specialize in nondiscriminatory assessment and
special education service delivery for Hispanic children.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($424,400): V. Cook-Morales.
The Multicultural School Support Personnel Project (1989-1994) supported pre-service school psychologists and school counselors who specialized in special education support service delivery in multicultural school settings. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($423,000) V. Cook-Morales & C. Ingraham.
The Bilingual-Bicultural (Hispanic) School Psychology Program (1986-1989) supported
the study of full-time bilingual (Spanish) graduate students in the School Psychology
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs ($240,000): V. Cook-Morales.