ALCA "ICON" Interviews

Alabama Counseling Association Icons:
A Series of Interviews

Current members of the Alabama Counseling Association have been influenced by men and women (counseling leaders) who created our counseling associations, developed our Counselor Education programs across state universities, and lead the way for accreditation, licensure, and certification. Yet, as we move forward in the 21st Century, we may lose an appreciation of the integral aspects of our historical development (i.e., how the field began in Alabama, the challenges faced, the doors that were opened or closed, and the vision of counselors and counselor educators who made the field flourish in our state) unless we make a concerted effort to document and distribute information to members who will carry the past forward into the future.

After reflecting on this important process of preserving our counseling heritage, icons (i.e., pillars in the counseling field from across the state) were interviewed.  Interviews were conducted to record thoughts and experiences about compelling questions and issues from the past (e.g.,  “What was it like to be the first African American female Counselor Educator in the state?”, “How did Alabama Counseling Association (ALCA) develop and grow into the state organization it is today?”, and “What impact did the National Defense Education Act (1958) have on our state?”).
Through a series of icon interviews from across the state of Alabama, the overarching goals of this history preservation were fourfold. Through the interview process and the dissemination of the gleaned information, the intentions were to: (1) acknowledge the contributions of counseling icons, many of which had state and national prominence, by completing interviews;  (2) offer video footage and excerpts from the interviews to ALCA to archive and distribute; (3) engage past leaders in a dialogue about their contributions to the field; and (4) educate current and future counselors about our past history.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was requested and received for these interviews.  For each icon interview, the following steps were taken: (1) Each icon was invited to be a part of an interview and consented;  (2) The initial interview was videotaped for later distribution purposes;  (3) When needed, a follow-up interview was completed to clarify or ask further questions; and, (4) Each icon was given a copy of the video and the transcribed interview and asked to offer suggestions and approve the document prior to publication.

Dr. Robert E. Comas
Dr. Fannie Richardson Cooley
Nancy Young Fortner, M.Ed.
Dr. Glenda Elliott
Dr. Thelma Maniece Robinson
Harriett Schaffer
Dr. Wilbur Tincher
Dr. Carolyn Thomas
Dr. Ervin "Chip" Wood

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