Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. In honor of Black History Month in February, this week’s Q&A features a Black faculty leader – Dr. Teah Moore, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, which launched its first cohort in Fall 2020.
Tell us more about yourself and your educational and professional background.
I am a former Midwesterner from Illinois. I hold three degrees – each from a different state that starts with “I” – a Bachelor of Arts in Administration of Criminal Justice from Anderson University in Indiana; a Master of Arts in School Counseling from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois; and a PhD in Counselor Education and Counseling from Idaho State University in Pocatello.
Previously, I owned a private counseling practice in Georgia as well. I saw patients of different ages, genders and mental health issues. I also provided supervision to postgraduates and field experiences opportunities for students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs. I also taught at a historically black university, Fort Valley State University, for about 11 years in school counseling and mental health counseling programs.
What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?
I have always loved teaching and meeting new students. One of the highlights of my being at Spalding has been meeting new people. I feel supported and among people who are interested in my success here at Spalding. I have met some really great people. I have thoroughly enjoyed staff and faculty. I am looking forward to the new normal and really building relationships here at Spalding.
What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?
My passion at this time is working with women. I have been on a journey that included discovery more about me as a woman. I love spaces that allow for me to explore safety in terms of psychological, spiritual, emotional and intellectual. I think women really need to experience safety. We have been taught to stuff our emotions and various aspects of ourselves. I have begun moving in that direction in terms of research. Additionally, I enjoy work related to accreditation and evaluation.
Why is Clinical Mental Health Counseling a good option for students to consider as a graduate program?
I think students will love the fact that they can build a business and become their own employer. This degree is designed to lead to becoming a licensed professional counselor in Kentucky. This is a practitioner’s degree. In addition, our graduates can elect to pursue terminal degrees in the field because of the alignment with accreditation standards. With a terminal degree, a person has the ability to teach and/or practice.
What is an example of a discussion topic, lecture, assignment, project, etc. in your class that you enjoy presenting or working with students on and that they have found engaging?
Of course, teaching students how to counsel. This course provides them with the clinical skills they will use regardless of the client. Students are enjoying conducting counseling sessions with their peers. It’s self-discovery for them. I enjoy watching them take risks and seeing their expressions when it pays off.
What is an interesting thing you have in your office?
Ha! I just moved here, so there is nothing in my office right now except furniture. I’ve always kept play therapy toys, such as doll house sand trays, and what we call miniatures. I love using books, music and movies. So, you will likely find these in my office when I get settled.
Who is a Black leader who has inspired you, and for what reason?
Shirley Chisholm is someone I have admired and respected. She became the first American of African descent to be elected to the United Sates Congress. She became the first American of African descent to run for presidency from a major political party and the first woman to run for the Democratic party nomination. She has not always been given the acknowledgement that she is due. When Barack Obama won the election as president, she was left out of the discussion as someone who opened the door for that reality. Similar to Obama’s run, many did not support her run. They tried to deter and discourage her from running. Unfortunately, she did not live to see Obama take the oath of high office. I believe she is proud knowing she contributed to the dream. Shirley was a woman who lived up to her motto, unbought and unbossed.
How would you describe the importance of racial diversity in your field – clinical mental health counseling?
The need to address the stigma about counseling among people of color and persons from lower social economic means is very important. Mental health is sometimes observed as a “rich white female” disorder. However, there are staggering statistics that suggest the severe need of mental health services among diverse persons. It is alarming. Having more racially diverse persons in the field of clinical mental health counseling will certainly serve to educate people about mental health. The racial disparities in mental health can be better addressed from the inside through advocacy and the provision of services by people who look like the racial population they serve. There is a better understanding when you are from a group that has experienced a lack of services or supportive measures in clinical mental health.
Spalding’s mission is to meet the needs of the times, to emphasize service and to promote peace and justice. What is an example of how your teaching style, your research, your class or your curriculum is supporting the mission of Spalding?
Advancing the whole notion of what is compassion. Compassion is more than a word or feeling. We emphasize the importance of empathy in the program. Compassion is empathy in action. Infused in every class is the issue of diversity, cultural awareness and fair practice. Students must meet professional counseling dispositions that are aligned with the promotion of social justice and awareness of beliefs, values, etc.