UF Counselor Education Research Featured

Research from members of the UF Counselor Education program featured in four articles in the October 2020 issue of Counseling and Values.


Counselor Ed’s Kristina DePue receives national research honor

ACES President Heather Trepel presents research award to Kristina DePue

ACES President Heather Trepal presents research award
to Kristina DePue

After nearly three-and-half years of conducting behind-the-scenes research, Kristina DePue was suddenly overcome with emotions earlier this month when she was thrust into the spotlight in her field of counselor education.

“Honestly, I broke into tears,” DePue said when she received one of the most prestigious awards given annually by the American Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).

DePue, an assistant professor of counselor education at the University of Florida College of Education, accepted the Research in Counselor Education and Supervision Award at the southern region ACES conference in New Orleans attended by scores of her peers from across the country.

“I was shocked,” DePue said. “It was an honor to be recognized, especially as I’m one of the newer faculty members in our field.”

Lead author on research project

DePue was the lead author of a research project that measured the strength of the relationships between graduate student counselors and their supervisors, as well as the relationships between these students and their clients.

The clients are people who come for therapy because of they are under mental distress, such as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation. Professors in the studies provided live clinical supervision of graduate students, as is typical in counseling education.

The report, titled “Investigating Supervisory Relationships and Therapeutic Alliances Using Structural Equation Modeling,” is slated to appear in the December issue of ACES’ Counselor Education and Supervision, a leading journal in the counseling field.

Benefits of strong student-supervisor relationships

The study found counseling trainees who reported strong relationships with their supervisors also had the strongest relationships with their clients. In a follow up study, DePue and her co-authors discovered that both the relationship between the client and counselor, and the relationship between the counselor and supervisor predicted client improvements.

Counterintuitively, DePue’s studies show these relationships work independently of each other. While these findings may seem obvious, they are not linear — in contrast what was previously thought. Instead, the two relationships (supervisor-supervisee and client-counselor) work independently, though both directly impact client change.

DePue and her co-authors are submitting this second study to the Journal of Counseling and Development.

Although the importance of supervision is undeniable, few researchers have investigated the influence of the supervisor-supervisee relationship on whether clients’ distress is lessened in therapy, Jacqueline Swank, UF assistant professor of counselor education, wrote in a letter nominating DePue for the award.

DePue came to UF in 2013 after earning a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Central Florida, where data for the study was collected. The project had the participation of 169 master’s-level counseling trainees and 253 clients served by UCF’s community counseling center.

DePue led a team of three other researchers: Ren Liu, a doctoral student in the UF College of Education’s Research and Evaluation Methodology (REM) program, Glenn Lambie, a professor of counselor education at the University of Central Florida, and Jessica Gonzalez, an assistant professor in counseling and career development at Colorado State University.

Sources: Kristina DePue, 352-273-4339, Kathryn Henderson, ACES awards co-chair

Writer: Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449 (office), 352-431-2269 (cell)


Education school rankings place UF No. 1 in Florida, Southeast

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida College of Education held on to its spot as the No. 1 education school in Florida and also was rated first among public universities in the Southeast, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Graduate Education Schools rankings announced March 10.

UF climbed one spot to 20th nationally among public education colleges, and was rated 30th overall–including private and public schools–for the second straight year.

US NEWS LOGO (2016)U.S. News also rated two College of Education academic programs among the top 10 in their specialty areas—special education at fifth and counselor education at No. 9. A third program made the second top 10, with elementary teacher education ranked 17th.

The college also received high marks in January when U.S. News ranked its online learning program 13th best among the nation’s graduate education colleges. Student admissions selectivity for the online program–an indicator of high quality student enrollment–was rated best in the nation.

For the latest US News rankings, 357 graduate education schools granting doctoral degrees were surveyed, with 246 providing the necessary data to be rated. Nationwide, there are more than 1,500 schools, colleges and departments of education.

UF’s college registered gains in several of the quality measures assessed in the rankings—improving its ratio of doctoral students per faculty instructor and hiking its scores for program quality from school superintendents and other education professionals surveyed—and showed continued strength in funded research activity.

Dean Glenn Good said that in the first half of this academic year (through Dec. 31, 2014), UF education faculty researchers doubled the amount of external research funding generated over the same period last year, attracting more than $16.3 million in grants and contracts.

“The College of Education has made dramatic strides over the past four years in the breadth and quality of our programs, and our rise in the rankings reflect that,” Good said. “We’re now in a position of strength to help the University of Florida meet its goal to become one of the nation’s preeminent research universities, while continuing our own rise in national prominence.”

The COE is involved in three targeted focus areas that UF is investing in to strengthen its interdisciplinary research and academic missions. The added preeminence funding is supporting aggressive investigations in early childhood development and learning, personalized online learning, and “big data” informatics research in education.

“There has never been a better time to be at the College of Education,” Good said. “Momentum is surging in our education reform efforts at every level, from cradle to college to career advancement.”

He cited a $5 million gift last fall from COE alumna Anita Zucker (BAE ’72) that is expanding the reach and breadth of the university’s and college’s trailblazing initiatives in early childhood studies. At the K-5 level, the college recently created a Center of Excellence in Elementary Teacher Preparation–one of four in the state–funded by the Florida Department of Education. Through the center, UF education professors are working with the local school district to pioneer new strategies and best practices for transforming elementary teacher preparation, eventually throughout the state.

The dean also cited the UFTeach program, a collaboration between the colleges of Education and of Liberal Arts and Sciences. UFTeach recruits top math and science majors on campus and prepares them to join the ranks of effective teachers in those vital disciplines in the middle and high school grades.

Aided by $25 million in federal support, UF special education faculty are helping multiple states strengthen their professional standards and methods for preparing teachers and leaders serving students with disabilities.

Statewide and beyond, the UF Lastinger Center for Learning is the college’s “education innovation incubator,” developing and field-testing novel learning system models that transform teaching and learning and promote healthy child development.

“We are closing in on our goal of becoming a top public university and a top-tier college of education,” Good said. “Achieving a ranking is nice and reflects the dedication and commitment of the entire College of Education community. The true measure of our success, though, is the impact we make on solving problems and making life better for everyone.”

To view the complete U.S. News Best Graduate Education Schools rankings, visit

   SOURCE: Glenn Good, PhD, dean, UF College of Education; 352-273-4135;;
   SOURCE: Tom Dana, PhD, associate dean, UF College of Education; 352-273-4134;;
   WRITER: Larry Lansford, communications director, UF College of Education; 352-273-4137;;