Admission / Faculty & Staff

Chicago: Social Responsibility in Practice

Adler is based on the principle that we prepare students as socially responsible practitioners—educated to be effective personal and social change agents in the pursuit of justice. What does that mean?

We talked to the directors of academic programs at our Chicago Campus to get their definitions of what socially responsible practice looks like in public policy, counseling, forensic psychology, sport and health psychology, rehabilitation counseling, art therapy, and couple and family therapy. 

WernerValerie Werner, Ph.D., Program Director, M.A. in Public Policy and Administration
Adler Public Policy and Administration graduates understand the public policy process that leads to laws and programs meant to address social and environmental problems. They learn the skills needed to be strong leaders and advocates able to influence decision-making within organizations serving the public, including government agencies at the local, regional, national, and international levels.  Graduates also seek employment in the areas of lobbying, social marketing, community organizing and citizen action as they work toward creating a more just society.

Fred Hanna, Ph.D., Program Director, Doctor of Counselor Education and Supervision
Simply stated, a counselor educator and supervisor must impart to his or her students and supervisees their fundamental charge, which is to free individuals, groups, or families from the harmful effects of oppression in whatever context it occurs. This involves attending to the power differential, empowering clients through strength based approaches, and ultimately liberating them from oppression through the use of the cognitive therapy, existential therapy, and similar techniques and strategies.


KochKaren Koch, Psy.D., Program, Director, M.A. in Counseling: Specialization in Forensic Psychology
Whether instilling cultural competency into law enforcement agencies, advocating for compassionate and restorative sentencing reforms, or ensuring that victims are not further traumatized through the legal process, our graduates change lives throughout the criminal justice system. They serve at the core of this complex field—working with police officers, offenders and judges—out to its periphery, assisting families of inmates and victims and their communities.


KerulisMichele Kerulis, Ed.D., Program Director, M.A. in Counseling: Specialization in Sport & Health Psychology
From counseling athletes to achieve greater performance to advocating for an end to exploitive policies and practices within college and professional sports organizations, our sport and health psychology students and graduates are highly motivated to create positive change in peoples’ lives. They educate and empower individuals to live healthier lives by overcoming issues like substance abuse, obesity, and the exceedingly high expectations of body image imposed by society.


DroutMary Drout, Ph.D., Program Director, M.A. in Counseling: Specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling
Our rehabilitation counselors work to enhance the lives of people with physical challenges and severe mental illness by helping them achieve the highest possible level of independent living and gainful employment. This requires a strengths-based perspective that focuses on an individual’s abilities and potential, rather than disabilities. It also requires advocacy and educational engagement with employers and the larger community to raise awareness of the value of all people.


LaukaJustin Lauka, Ph.D., Program Director,  M.A. in Counseling: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Our Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduates are trained to conceptualize clients from a holistic and strengths-based perspective that also considers the larger sociopolitical and cultural factors that influence mental health and human development. They are culturally competent and capable of empowering individuals, families, communities, and society.  


LaCivitaJennifer LaCivita, Psy.D., Program Director, M.A. in Counseling: Art Therapy
Socially responsible counseling and art therapy are a means to encourage individuals, families, and communities to feel empowered to engage in the holistic, healing, and artistic process. In doing so, they are able to reflect on their collective experiences and use their imaginations and creativity to envision new possibilities, thereby working to promote peace and healing in order to strengthen and revitalize the health of their community.


Kristina S. Brown, Ph.D., Chair, Couple and Family Therapy Department
Graduates of Adler’s Couple and Family Therapy programs are sensitive to their clients’ cultural identities, especially as these identities interact with partners and family members. They understand how cultural locations influence the clients’ access to power and relational experiences, and create culturally sensitive therapeutic interventions to address social inequities and impact change especially in relationship with others.