- Jacqueline Mims
When Jacqueline Mims found UCSC Extension, she was already an established psychotherapist, guidance counselor and lecturer with more than 20 years of experience, two Ph.D.s and several professional certifications. She was also based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“In this day and age, additional course work and certification helps to solidify you as an expert in a certain area,” Mims says. As an active therapist and lecturer on psychology and education, she was looking for courses that both met her professional needs and fit in her schedule. Despite the distance, Extension’s Educational Therapy certificate program fit the bill.
“Because educational therapy is relatively new to our area, I wanted to stay on top of it,” Mims says. “When I’m working, I don’t have a lot of time for traditional courses.” She enrolled in online and hybrid courses, and even flew from Louisiana to Santa Clara to attend occasional courses in Extension’s Silicon Valley facility.
Extension staff worked with Mims to customize the Educational Therapy curriculum to suit both her level of experience and her availability to travel. Though she was already a psychology expert, she did appreciate the opportunity to hear other educators’ experiences.
“Most of the people in the class, including instructors, had experience in K-12,” she says. “In terms of my teaching experience, I was coming from a social practice.” As a therapist who works with children and young adults, she liked being exposed to the K-12 teacher perspective.
Part of the reason she was willing to travel, Mims says, is because educational therapy is still emerging as an active practice in Louisiana. She explains that one of her biggest challenges as a therapist is to simply explain to the public what educational therapy is, why it is beneficial, and how it can be helpful.
“In communities where educational therapy is not very popular, there is a lot of ground work to be done to educate the public on what it is, and how it can remediate learning difficulties,” she says. “Educational therapy is not tutoring. Tutoring focuses on a specific subject matter. Educational therapy focuses on individuals developing strategies to learn so that information can be effectively given and retrieved.”
Mims completed the certificate in 2012 and maintains an active practice in Baton Rouge. She says that her clients are receptive to the fact that she has gone out of her way to stay current in the latest approaches to educational therapy.
“I recently had a parent in my office who had brought her child in for counseling,” Mims says. “My Extension certificate was hanging on my wall. The first thing the child said was, ‘oh you took classes in California?’ She was raised in California, and had recently moved to Louisiana, and was feeling the effects of culture shock. The certificate was really helpful in developing a rapport with the child.”
When asked about making the long trips to California, Mims states that “if I would travel from Louisiana, then there have to be other people in the universe that, when it comes to what they feel passionate about, will do what it takes. When developing these types of programs, it is important that colleges and universities be sensitive to the needs of working professionals.”
Read more UCSC Extension Student Stories.