Bayne’s research agenda is broadly focused on the factors that cultivate connection or lead to disconnection. Under the B.O. Smith Professorship, she intends to expand on a recently piloted study that provides social justice training and supervision to Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education graduate students at UF.
Bayne worked with Della Mosley, assistant professor of counseling psychology, to design an interdisciplinary program that could address the gap in training that students were feeling with regard to applied practice in social justice work.
“Especially as social justice becomes this really critical additional force within counseling, students are coming hungry for knowledge about how to grow in their own skill set for social justice, and our programs don’t really have the space within the curriculum to fully explore what that looks like,” Bayne said.
Through a UF Creative Campus Grant, Mosley and Bayne established and piloted the Social Justice Consultation Corps (SJCC), recruiting, training and supervising eight graduate students to provide mental health consultation to UF student organizations that are supporting marginalized students and engaging in critical social justice work. The project has just finished the initial year, and the B.O. Smith Professorship allows the SJCC to continue developing and supporting student growth.
“And so, one goal I think is to offer that kind of opportunity for students who are really interested in not just a theoretical understanding of what social justice looks like, but the opportunity to apply the principles in their work,” she continued.
Through the SJCC initiative, consultants are trained to partner with student leaders to offer event assistance, provide training on handling microaggressions and difficult dialogues, and share research on additional resources to help these organizations expand their campus reach.
“It provides an opportunity and space for collaboration and for counseling students to help dialogue with, walk alongside, and work to support some of these amazing student leaders at UF who are working within spaces that are already committed to social justice,” she said.
Part of Bayne’s focus for the B.O. Smith Professorship is to reconceptualize the SJCC as a collaborative research endeavor between student consultants and student organizations. As such, students are co-researchers in a participatory action project that allows for co-ownership, research as action, and flexibility to adjust based on data gathered throughout the process. The SJCC will thus continually analyze the diverse needs of students to identify what supports are needed.
“There are all of these things that that can break down relationships and that can really harm and are harming our student populations, and this initiative is about helping student voices to be heard, helping them to feel, I think, empowered and affirmed in their experience, and to be able to try to re-story what their college experience could look like,” she said.
By partnering with student organizations that serve UF’s marginalized student populations and work in the realm of social justice and advocacy, SJCC hopes to foster opportunities for discussion, support, and to build a more connected campus by tackling challenging subjects and brainstorming solutions collectively.
“If we are engaging in collaborative spaces, if we’re using the strengths of both groups … then that’s going to have a ripple effect on the campus community,” she said “…to help create the space for students to feel supported, for students to feel a sense of belonging, particularly marginalized students who don’t always have that sense or feeling, and to highlight issues of inequity that can then be openly addressed.”
Although the B.O. Smith Professorship recognizes individuals, Bayne shared the SJCC would not exist without the ideas and leadership of Mosley or the dedication of the graduate students who are serving as campus consultants.
“The award was something that only a single person applies for and receives, and it feels like it’s not fully reflective of what this initiative is,” she said. “Della Mosley had an awesome vision of what this could be, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to work alongside her this year. It means a lot that I have her blessing to continue the project, even as she is unable to serve in the same role moving forward. And the SJCC certainly does not feel like my project alone. It’s co-owned by the students who are courageously working towards their passion of social justice and more equitable spaces.”
Bayne shared she is thrilled to continue expanding and refining the SJCC to support not only UF students, but also potentially the greater fields of practice. Having the support of her colleagues in receiving the high honor makes it all the more worthwhile.
“It helps me believe in myself,” she said, “believe that this is worthwhile and even when my own imposter syndrome might settle in, it presents some evidence that others are kind of in my corner cheering me on.”