By Madison Moore '15
When Dr. Audrey Ervin, saw a job posting at Delaware Valley College, she decided she needed to apply. She realized she could help grow the program, and ultimately, help raise awareness of diversity issues.
Dr. Ervin is an assistant professor of counseling psychology at DelVal, a licensed psychologist with her own practice, Ervin Counseling and Consulting, LLC, and she recently became academic program director for graduate counseling psychology at the College.
Ervin plays an important role in Semester at Sea, which is an independent study abroad program where students can complete some of their studies while on a ship. She served as staff psychologist for the May 2012 and summer 2009 voyages. Dr. Ervin has also introduced several DelVal students to Semester at Sea, and speaks about the program in her classes. She has circumnavigated the globe and traveled to Asia, Europe, Central and South America, and North Africa with the program.
Counseling psychology student Barbara Krier said that Ervin allowed her to have a learning experience at sea that was both professional and personal.
“With Dr. Ervin’s encouragement, I studied global mental health issues while traveling to six South and Central American countries with Semester at Sea,” said Krier. “There have been numerous times when I was experiencing difficulties that Dr. Ervin has taken the time to listen and offer support. I really think I would have given up on completing my degree if it had not been for the encouragement, support and true caring that she extends to all of her students.”
Experiential learning is one of Dr. Ervin’s passions so she wants her students to be able to have hands-on experience in their field while they are completing their studies.
In the last four years, Dr. Ervin has given several of her counseling psychology students the hands-on experience of co-presenting at the Association for Women in Psychology conference.
“I love giving them the opportunity to apply [what they learn] to the real world,” said Dr. Ervin.
Dr. Ervin gets students to use what they learn in class on campus in order to increase multicultural awareness and competence. Several of the committees and clubs Dr. Ervin is involved with focus on diversity, racial identity, multiculturalism, international issues, sexual orientation, and gender.
Dr. Ervin is chair of the Stop the Hate committee and is a certified Stop the Hate trainer. She is the faculty adviser for the Minority Relations Council, which oversees clubs such as GLOW, Hillel and Students for Diversity. Ervin is also involved with the Race, Culture and Diversity Committee, which addresses diversity issues on campus.
Dr. Ervin said that these clubs and organizations could help students develop pro-social initiatives, attitudes and behaviors on campus and create an affirming environment where all members of the college can thrive.
“It’s changing,” said Dr. Ervin. “We want this campus to be the best place [for students].”
Dr. Ervin enjoys working with people, and decided she wanted to become a psychologist as a teenager. She completed her Ph.D. in counseling psychology at the University of Memphis and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Delaware, where she specialized in diversity issues and mindfulness-based interventions in therapy. Her clinical and research areas focus on multiculturalism with a particular emphasis on gender, sexual orientation, racial identity, and international issues.
Dr. Ervin has presented at more than 40 conferences including: the American Psychological Association, the Association for Women in Psychology, College Student Educators International, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Pennsylvania Psychological Association, and the International Women’s Conference in Cuba.
She has also served as the national spokesperson for the Association for Women in Psychology and serves on the Public Education Committee and the Committee on Multiculturalism for the Pennsylvania Psychological Association.
Dr. Ervin thinks that it is a professor’s job to be a “good role model” for the students. She tells her students to get involved with clubs or attend events that specialize in multiculturalism and diversity, and helps expose them to current issues.
“She is empowering people to ‘be the change,’” said Krier. “DelVal is very lucky to have Dr. Ervin as part of the faculty.”