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Behind the scenes with Kok-Mun Ng, Counseling Academic Unit program chair


Kok-Mun Ng believes that a counselor never stops learning. As the Counseling Academic Unit program chair and a professor of counseling education in the OSU College of Education, he has modeled constant growth for Oregon State students since 2013. He is deeply immersed in the counseling field, having earned a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision with an emphasis in marriage and family counseling and three master’s degrees in education, Christian education and Christian studies. Kok-Mun earned his degrees both in the U.S. and Malaysia, and his professional work engages him internationally. His research includes multicultural and cross-cultural issues in counseling, social justice advocacy and the internationalization of counseling training.


By Julie Cooper
Jan. 31, 2018

Briefly describe your role as the Counseling Academic Unit program chair. What degree programs do you oversee?

“As the program chair, I provide curricular oversight to both Master in Counseling and Ph.D. in Counseling programs. In general, that includes making sure our courses and programs are in compliance with CACREP standards and OSU regulations. My job also requires me to be a representative of the counseling unit on the Dean’s Council of the College of Education, as well as to external stakeholders and the counseling profession. The Master in Counseling program includes two options, namely, school counseling and clinical mental health counseling. All three degree programs are CACREP-accredited.”

What inspired your career path?

“I’ve always enjoyed working closely with people in their development as individuals trying to figure out their lot in life. I’ve also always been drawn to connecting with people in a deeper level than just mere acquaintance, particularly individuals who have experienced emotional and relational difficulties, individuals who need a listening ear and a non-judgmental presence to come alongside them. I never regretted going into the counseling profession. My career path into higher education also reflects my passion in working with individuals who desire to grow personally and professionally so they can be a helper to those in need. I remember in my elementary school days, I’d wanted to be a teacher. I see that my desire to be a teacher and my aspiration to be there for others who are experiencing life challenges and difficulties come together full circle in my current job as a counselor educator who trains future counselors.” 

Kok-Mun Ng and Rayne Vieger, OSU Ecampus assistant director of course development and training, collaborate on designing courses for Oregon State Ecampus students in counseling hybrid programs.

What do you like most about your job?

“What I like most about my job is that it gives me the opportunity and setting to fulfill my aspirations to be a helper; to participate meaningfully in students’ personal and professional growth as counselors; and to apply my knowledge, skills and talents in areas that I’m passionate about. Additionally, my job requires me to be creative, problem-solving orientated, responsive to changes and challenges, innovative, see the big-picture and think systemically. Also, it gives me a channel to address social injustices and advocate for social justice as a counselor educator.”

The counseling program recently celebrated 100 years of counselor education – describe what this means to you/students/Oregon State. Why is this such an important accomplishment? 

“The 100-year anniversary signifies the important role the counseling programs at OSU have played in advocating for mental health wellness in individuals and communities in the state and the country by producing numerous competent professional counselors serving in various settings locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. It further signifies that we remain significant, viable and relevant, even after 100 years. Our longevity and history helps our current students see a meaningful connection with a long line of professional counselors who have graduated from the nationally recognized program. This gives our students a sense of pride and responsibility. It further energizes faculty and students to look forward to rendering more services to individuals and communities and greater participation in the counseling profession locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. We look forward to another 100 years of accomplishments and contributions.”

“I’ve always been drawn to connecting with people in a deeper level than just mere acquaintance, particularly individuals who have experienced emotional and relational difficulties, individuals who need a listening ear and a non-judgmental presence to come alongside them.”

Describe why Oregon State decided to create hybrid programs, and how that method of learning benefits students. 

“The counseling programs at OSU in the Corvallis campus have for a long time offered degree programs via OSU Ecampus, even before the advent of the internet. So, with the growth of the internet and online learning in recent decades in the United States, we have decided to offer hybrid programs at the Corvallis campus and on-ground programs in Bend. Hybrid programs provide opportunity for OSU to fulfill its land-grant mission by bringing educational opportunities to all parts of the state, making it accessible to even individuals living in rural counties. The hybrid nature of the programs gives students the flexibility of not needing to come to campus weekly to pursue their education. Hybrid programs also provide training to students that capitalizes on the latest information technology that allows teaching and learning to go beyond the confines of traditional learning environments that tend to be location-specific and restrictive.”

What would you say is the most fascinating aspect of this field of study?

As helpers, counselors are required to bring their whole self to their work with clients and the communities. This includes their personality, values, beliefs, attitudes, knowledge and skills. As such, they are required to engage in continuous personal and professional growth and keep pace with the latest development in the field in order to effective and remain relevant. This field, like other helping professions, allows the professionals to exercise their passion in helping others while they develop effectiveness and excellence in serving others and benefiting the society. This, beyond the latest development of counseling theories and techniques, is the most fascinating and fulfilling part of the field.”

What type of qualities do you typically see in students who pursue counseling degrees?

“Passionate about helping others. Curious about how individuals develop and live their lives. Concerned about equity and social justice.”

What advice would you like to give to current or future students?

“Never stop growing personally and professionally. Never think that you already ‘got it’ as a counselor. Always remain humble, knowing that your clients are your best teachers as you learn your craft as a counselor.”

What are your favorite activities outside of work? 

“Photography, driving up and down the Oregon coast, visiting the Cascades.”

Julie Cooper is a student marketing writer for Oregon State Ecampus.

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