Counselor Education Distance Learning Conference

February 19, 2021

8:00-3:30 PST / 11:00-6:30 EST

Conference Overview

The evolution of Counselor Education means that many programs offer classes and degrees partially or totally online. Innovations in technology allow such practice to meet the rigor and standards of accreditation while maintaining cultural relevance and sensitivity. As educators we must be strategic in how we approach our work. The Counselor Education Distance Learning (CEDL) Conference gives online educators, or those interested in the development of best practices, a space to share their pedagogical innovations and processes. This practical and innovative fully virtual conference will inspire and inform those who currently provide, or are interested in providing, online counselor education.

The Social Justice Force of CEDL

Counselor Education in a distance learning format is truly an initiative in social justice. By reaching underserved students, crossing state and national borders, we can offer training opportunities to students with a passion for helping who are geographically bound. In addition, students have the opportunity to learn from faculty and peers from outside of their typical area.

Why Attend?

Many counselor education programs have moved toward distance learning. Due to COVID-19, we all had to. We recognize that pandemic pedagogy is not the same as planful distance learning that is rooted in research. It is both essential and responsible for counselor education programs to evolve and evolve well. That evolution should be strategic, grounded in best practice, and driven by a social justice mindset. Attending CEDL will allow participants to bring best practice pedagogy into their programs whether they are teaching one course in an online/hybrid format or an entire curriculum. CEDL allows like-minded educators to engage in thoughtful discussion and training on concepts essential to delivery models that are rapidly changing. The conference is organized to benefit the educator new to online teaching as well as those who have been working in this space for some time.

Highlights of a virtual conference?

  • No masks needed!
  • You can sleep in your own bed at night.
  • You can participate from wherever you are.
  • Easy on the (now mostly defunct) travel budget!
  • Learn from people you might not ordinarily see at f2f conferences.

Conference Program

The conference addresses topics related to teaching and training counselors in an online format. Sessions for educators new to online training as well as for those with experience are offered. Sessions related to the challenges of student engagement, clinical placements, social justice curricula, and specific course offerings are provided along with sessions on the hard pivot to online pedagogy.


  • $100 – Professionals – Includes 6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) 
  • $0 – Students

Why is there a fee for a virtual conference?

While we do not have the same overhead as a f2f conference, we do have technology and IT expenses to run a conference of this size 🙂

Target Audience

The CEDL conference will include sessions pertinent to counselor education distance education.  Sessions will be of interest to counselor educators and students.

Conference Coordinators

Donna Sheperis, PhD

Donna Sheperis, PhD joined PAU in 2016 and currently serves as an Associate Professor, Associate Chair for Clinical Training, Chair of the PAU Faculty Senate, and Co-Chair of the PAU Institutional Review Board. She earned her Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Mississippi and her masters in Counseling from Delta State University. Donna has taught for land based and online programs since 2000. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi and Texas; a Board Certified Counselor; a Board Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor; and an Approved Clinical Supervisor with 30 years of experience in clinical mental health counseling settings.

Dr. Donna Sheperis is active in the counseling profession. She is past-president of the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling and on the Ethics Appeals Committee for the American Counseling Association. Previously, Donna served as chair of the ACA Ethics Committee. She also serves on the Ethics and Bylaws committees for the Association for Humanistic Counseling and the Western Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. She is active in scholarship and research as well with multiple articles in peer reviewed journals. In addition, she has authored multiple book chapters and textbooks including Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Fundamentals of Applied Practice for Pearson Publishing; Ethical Decision Making for the 21st Century Counselor for SAGE Publishing; and Foundations of Substance Use and Addiction Counseling: Principles and Applied Practice for Cognella Publishing (in press).

Margaret Lamar, PhD

Dr. Margaret Lamar is an assistant professor for the masters programs at Palo Alto University and a licensed professional counselor (LPC). At PAU, she has taught courses focused on counselors’ career development, the legal and ethical foundations of counseling, and research and program evaluation. As a professor she works with students to help understand and develop their professional identities as counselors, including their roles within the greater community.

Dr. Lamar received her Ph.D. at the University of Northern Colorado, where she also taught both master’s and doctoral level counseling courses. She also served as the Assistant Director for Community Standards and Conflict Resolution at the University of Northern Colorado. Prior to her time in Colorado, Dr. Lamar was a student affairs professional at the University of North Texas. While holding various positions within the university, she obtained her master’s degree in counseling. Dr. Lamar’s clinical specialties include working with college students and domestic violence victims and perpetrators. Her research interests include research education, researcher development, higher education organizational culture, and applications of intersectionality theory in counseling.

William Snow, PhD

Dr. William Snow received his B.A and M.A. from Pacific Lutheran University and Ph.D. from the University of Washington. Prior to joining Palo Alto University, he served at Bethany University for over 25 years where he was a Professor, Departmental Chair, Director of Institutional Research and Vice President for Academics. Dr. Snow also served as a Commander and Colonel in the Army National Guard Medical Department where he supervised the physical and behavioral health assessment and health promotion of the National Guard Soldiers in California. He also has extensive experience in peace keeping operations in Kosovo and working with Partnership for Peace programs in Ukraine, Thailand, and Nigeria.

Dr. Snow’s early research was on behavioral health promotion with children and adolescents and then moved onto research on how leader decision making and actions positively or negatively impacts the wellbeing of individuals and organizations. His current focus is on online education, pedagogy and understanding the strengths and challenges of the educational cohort model in graduate counselor education programs offered in both residential and online distance learning formats.

Szu-Yu Chen, PhD

Szu-Yu Chen, PhD, a licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, and registered play therapist. She is an assistant professor and clinical mental health counseling emphasis area coordinator at the Palo Alto University. She has worked with diverse populations in a variety of settings, including private practice, community agencies, psychiatric hospitals, and schools. In addition to her clinical experience, she has provided intensive supervision to master’s level students. Her research interests include humanistic play therapy, family play therapy, play-based teacher intervention, and multicultural issues in counseling and supervision.

Clark D. Ausloos, PhD

Clark D. Ausloos, PhD, LPC, LPSC, NCC currently serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Counseling Program at Palo Alto University and also works clinically in Northwest Ohio. Dr. Ausloos was nominated for Toledo’s 20 Under 40 Award, and was the recipient of the Ohio Counseling Association’s Susan J. Sears Counselor of the Year Award, Chi Sigma Iota’s Outstanding Practitioner Award, and OACES’ Professional Integrity and Leadership Award. Dr. Ausloos is a recent NBCC Minority Fellow, currently serves on the NBCC MFP-MHC Advisory Board, and was selected to serve as an Item Writer and Content Expert for the National Counseling Exam (NCE). Dr. Ausloos has several publications in peer-reviewed journals and is also a contributor to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Multicultural Counseling, Social Justice, and Advocacy, to be released in 2021. Dr. Ausloos is passionate about working with LGBTGEQIAP+ clients and families, and recently founded NW Ohio Diversity in Schools: A resources for communities and schools, promoting diversity and inclusion for LGBTGEQIAP+ students. As a counselor, educator, and researcher, Dr. Ausloos values leadership, advocacy and social justice, especially with non-dominant, historically marginalized and oppressed persons, specifically those within the LGBTGEQIAP+ communities. Through intentional research, Dr. Ausloos aims to empower and promote ethical, affirming training and professional practices within counselor education programs, and within clinical and school settings.

Continuing Education

Attendees of the entire conference will receive 6 CEUs – Continuing Education Units (NBCC)

Further Information

For specific questions about the conference proposals and program, contact Margaret Lamar at

For general questions about the conference, contact Donna Sheperis at

We look forward to seeing you at the conference!