From the President




  Books & Film



  My Response

  Letters to the Editor

  From the Editor

  Contact Response

  Submit Footnote

  Submit Letter to Editor

  Address Change

  Back Issues

  Response Home

  SPU Home

Summer 2006 | Volume 29, Number 3 | Faculty

Social Justice: One Professor’s Passion

Building Bridges

CHER EDWARDS, assistant professor of school counseling at Seattle Pacific University, accepted the 2006 Counselors for Social Justice ’Ohana Award in April at the American Counseling Association (ACA) conference in Montreal, Quebec. Only four years into her academic career, Edwards says she was surprised to receive the national award, which honors individuals in counseling who support diversity and social justice. She still considers herself a newcomer when it comes to addressing multicultural issues.

In 1994, while a master’s degree student at the University of Dayton, she had an internship in an elementary school. “Our school systems are incredibly diverse,” says Edwards. “I saw a real need for counselors to be culturally competent when working with children in the schools.” Echoing those important concerns, one of Edwards’ professors encouraged her to join Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ), a division of the ACA. She did, and began what has become a career devoted to topics of diversity.

Since then, Edwards has worked steadily to educate others to better understand multicultural issues. She is a frequent speaker at conferences, giving such presentations as “Multicultural Approaches in the Classroom,” and the author of many articles, including “School Counselors Working to Promote Cultural Awareness.” She has presented at international conferences in Hangzhou, China, and Yorkshire, England. And while in Montreal, she teamed up with her husband, SPU Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy Scott Edwards. Together, they presented ways educators can help graduate students incorporate social-justice principles in their work as future counselors.

Edwards says working on such issues with Seattle Pacific graduate students is a priority for her. When she joined the SPU faculty in 2002, she designed and began teaching a course called “Multicultural Counseling in the Schools,” now required in the University’s School Counseling program. In 2004, she spoke to undergraduate student leaders at the 18th annual National Christian Multicultural Student Leaders Conference, held on the Seattle Pacific campus.

Edwards’ work related to social justice supports the SPU School of Education’s priorities. “We want our students preparing for careers in education to appreciate and respect the rich diversity of K–12 students,” says William Rowley, dean of the School of Education.

Edwards says her hope is that she and her colleagues can better prepare educators to meet the needs of diverse students by creating awareness that there are “marginalized students in our schools who are often underserved.”

She also prepares her students for the realities of such a career: “You don’t go into school counseling to someday get a company car. When you’re committed to social justice, you have a passion to serve people.”

Send This Page Send-to-Printer

Back to the top
Back to Home


Artful Advocacy
A student-led campaign called “reVISION” brings an outpouring of support for those with AIDS.

Living His Dream
Young alum Bryce Phillips has built successful businesses while advocating work-life balance for himself and his employees.

Paradise Lost
In The New World, Pocahontas takes moviegoers on a spiritual journey some critics dubbed an overlooked masterpiece.

One for the Record Books
Falcon decathlete Chris Randolph became a two-time national champion while setting new SPU records.

My Response
A Class of 2006 graduate reflects on lessons learned in Havana, Cuba, and in a classroom visit from Edward Nixon — Richard Nixon’s brother.

Back-Cover Art
As Professor of Art Michael Caldwell retires, he shares a landscape from the Big Sky Country.

Copyright © 2006 Seattle Pacific University. General Information: (206) 281-2000