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Chicago | Assistant Professor
Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Amber Gardner,



I view my teaching role as that of a servant leader and a coach. I do not believe that I should have total control over what occurs in my classroom. On the contrary, whether in-person or online, I focus on meeting the needs of my students. As a teacher, I serve as a coach to help bring out the best in my students. My role is to guide, providing access to information rather than acting as the primary source of information. The students are consequently empowered to search for knowledge as they learn to find answers to their questions which also helps students construct knowledge by having the opportunity to discover for themselves and practice skills in authentic situations. Students have access to hands-on activities, allowing adequate time and space to use materials that reinforce the new information. This method creates an opportunity for individual discovery and construction of knowledge. Throughout this process, I encourage my students and facilitate learning and personal growth.

My teaching philosophy is rooted in the philosophy of servant leadership from Wheeler (2011). I believe that empowering my students to be the captains of their learning will inevitably make them more accountable for their development. As we collaborate, there is more buy-in and ownership of what happens in the learning environment.

My goals are: 1) spark curiosity to learn about the subject, 2) encourage students to push past any perceived limitations and broaden their thinking. Teaching provides an opportunity for perpetual learning and growth. My main goal is to instill a love of learning and the counseling profession in my students, as I share my passion for the field of counseling with them.

I design in-person and online classes by first listing my objectives/goals for the course. Then, I work backward to determine the best course of action to arrive at the end result. My class sessions typically have four phases:

  1. The initial introduction of the subject through a reflective activity
  2. Discussion of subject matter through interactive dialogue
  3. Demonstration of learning through application
  4. Reinforcement activity

By employing this process, my students have more time and opportunities to interact with and apply the material. Technology is an effective tool to enhance the in-person and online learning environment. Preparation is key.

I utilize class participation, presentations, surveys/assessments, and written work to evaluate student learning. I believe that each student is a unique individual who needs a secure and stimulating atmosphere to grow and develop. My desire as an educator is to help students meet their fullest potential by providing a safe environment that supports risk-taking and invites sharing ideas. There are three elements that I believe are conducive to establishing such an environment:

  1. The teacher acts as a guide
  2. Allow the student’s natural ability to direct his/her learning
  3. Promote respect for all

Helping students develop a deep love and respect for themselves, others, and counseling occurs through an open sharing of ideas and mutual respect given and expected from each student. As an educator, my goal is to utilize various teaching tools and mediums to facilitate learning.



  • Ed.D., Counselor Education and Supervision, Governors State University
  • M.A., Counseling, Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling, Governors State University
  • M.A., Communications, Governors State University
Professional Memberships

Professional Memberships

  • Association for Counselor Education and Supervision
  • International Association of Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Chi Sigma Iota Academic & Professional National Counseling Honor Society
  • American Counseling Association
  • Illinois Counseling Association
Select Presentations

Select Presentations

  • A paradigm shift: From problem talk to solution focused. Poster presented at the Southern Conference of the Illinois Counseling Association. March 2018.
  • The nihilistic threat: The truth about internalized oppression. Lecture presented at the Illinois Association for Multicultural Counseling Annual Spring Conference. May 2018.
  • A Crack in the foundation: The implications of parent hopelessness for a blue ribbon school district under construction. Poster presented at the International Marriage and Family Counseling Conference, Oxford University July 2018.
  • The Nihilistic threat to the family. Lecture presented at the Black Mental Health Symposium. September 2018.
  • The couple that plays together stays together: Using play to enhance African American couple relationships. Lecture presented at the Black Mental Health Symposium. September 2018.
  • An elusive phenomenon: Parent hopelessness in a changing world. Poster presented at the Illinois Counseling Association Annual Conference. November 2018.
  • Childhood sexual abuse/assault, molestation. Lecture presented at First Pentecostal Church of Chicago. August 2019.
  • Marriage, families, and mental health check-in with licensed professionals. Panel participant at the Mental Health Check-in. First Pentecostal Church of Chicago. April, 2020.
  • Chickens Have Come Home to Roost: The Impact of Hopelessness in the Black Community. Lecture presented at the Illinois Association of Multicultural Counseling. May, 2021.

Chicago Campus

Located in the heart of the city, the Chicago Campus was designed to provide and inspire the learning and living experience. To that end, we have created an environment that caters to your mental, emotional, and intellectual growth. Our classrooms are bright and spacious with windows to the outside world and the latest technology. In our Library, you will find every resource you need to research, form, and shape your journey. At Adler University, we have more than enough room to share your thoughts and flex your intellect.

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