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Counseling Prof & Master’s Degree Win National Online Program Award

October 06, 2020

Angelo State University’s online Master of Science (M.S.) in professional school counseling degree program and its director, Dr. Lesley Casarez, have been selected for a 2020 John R. Bourne Outstanding Online Program Award by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC).

The Bourne Award is given annually to recognize outstanding online education programs with a proven track record of excellence, as demonstrated by their success in providing expanded access, learning effectiveness, and high levels of student and faculty satisfaction in a cost-effective manner.

Jennifer Mathes Jennifer Mathes “Award recipients were hand selected by our esteemed board of directors and awards selection committee for their exemplary contributions to the field,” said Jennifer Mathes, CEO of OLC. “These individuals are not only making a difference within their organizations; they are elevating our community’s efforts in advancing quality online and blended learning experiences designed to reach all learners.”

Angelo State’s M.S. in professional school counseling degree is designed for teachers with at least two years of classroom teaching experience who are interested in becoming a school counselor in Texas. Graduates of the program may be eligible to take the Texas Examination of Educator Standards (TExES) for the Professional Certificate for School Counselors. Casarez built and directs the program, and she teaches courses in the program along with Dr. Audrey Heron and Ashley Atwood.

Dr. Lesley Casarez Dr. Lesley Casarez “Having our program recognized by the OLC is quite an honor,” Casarez said. “This really showcases the dedication that our faculty have put into growing enrollment in the program while also maintaining rigor and quality. Mental health in the schools is such an important issue right now, and I think that others are beginning to recognize that, as well. The candidates from our program are leaders in their districts and provide their students with the needed resources to support their social emotional learning.”

Casarez and the other OLC award recipients will be recognized during a virtual afternoon ceremony and a virtual evening gala on Nov. 9 as part of the 2020 OLC Accelerate Conference, one of the largest and most impactful gatherings of the national online learning community. In addition to the awards celebrations, the 10-day conference will include more than 425 virtual sessions designed to advance best practices for online and blended teaching and learning.

Since its inception in 2018, ASU’s online M.S. in professional school counseling degree has also been ranked among the best and most affordable programs in the nation by multiple higher education resource guides.

The OLC is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime. Its membership includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises.