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Bellevue University Clinical Counseling Professor Recognized as Nebraska Counselor of the Year


Bellevue University’s Dr. Barb Daubenspeck, Program Director of the University’s Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, has been recognized as Nebraska Counselor of the Year by the Nebraska Counseling Association.

The Counselor of the Year award was presented to Daubenspeck at the 2023 NCA Fall Conference that took place Sept. 29 in Hastings, Nebraska. 

Dr. Michelle Eppler, Dean of the College and Arts and Sciences, said “We’re proud to see Barb recognized for the positive impact she has had on the clinical counseling profession and on Nebraska’s clinical counseling community. The passion she has for excellence in clinical counseling education is evident across all her interactions.”

Dr. Daubenspeck leads Bellevue University’s CACREP-accredited Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program. CACREP, which stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, represents specialized program accreditation. It provides recognition that the content and quality of the program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession. 

Over the last decade, the Bellevue University program has grown in enrollment significantly. More than 900 students from every region of the United States are currently enrolled in the 100% online program, and more than 1,100 students have earned their Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degrees through the program. 

Dr. Daubenspeck’s nominator, Dr. Katey Shirley, highlighted Dr. Daubenspeck’s mentoring of non-traditional students to ensure access to opportunities and resources, her alignment of the Bellevue University program with the American Counseling Code of Ethics and CACREP standards and her cutting-edge teaching strategies. 

The passion Barb Daubenspeck has for excellence in clinical counseling education is evident across her interactions with students, fellow faculty and other practitioners and educators."

Dr. Michelle Eppler, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

“She is supportive of creative teaching modalities that engage distance learners to become active participants in their online education,” said Dr. Shirley, who teaches in the clinical counseling program alongside Dr. Daubenspeck. “For example, the program recently adopted the Skillsetter tool, which allows students to practice audiovisual counseling microskills in response to simulated counseling clients.”

Dr. Shirley cited another example, as well, noting that Dr. Daubenspeck has personally worked to increase the accessibility of counselor education for the Orthodox Jewish population. “She supports a unique cohort program to meet the needs of these learners alongside community partners in New York and Israel,” Dr. Shirley explained. “This program helps to reduce the stigma of seeking professional counseling and widens the availability of counselors in historically underserved areas.”

The Nebraska Counseling Association is a counseling community with approximately 550 members, with six districts to connect counselors across the state. 

Dr. Daubenspeck earned a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Wyoming, as well as her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Regent University. She has nearly 25 years of higher education teaching and administration experience, plus seven years of professional experience as a mental health counselor. 

Dr. Daubenspeck is a National Certified Counselor as certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) and licensed in Nebraska as an Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Professional Counselor. 

About Bellevue University

Founded in 1966, Bellevue University is a non-profit university with more than 60,000 graduates worldwide. The University is a recognized national leader in preparing students for lifelong success with career-relevant knowledge and skills, while making college affordable. Routinely ranked among the nation’s top military and accessible institutions, the University serves residential students at its main campus in Bellevue, Nebraska, and everywhere online with more than 80 degree programs uniquely designed for working adults. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org).