Date of Completion


Embargo Period



school counseling, school counselor, social advocacy, leadership, accountability, school counselor support, advocacy engagement

Major Advisor

Robert D. Colbert, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

D. Betsy McCoach, Ph.D.

Associate Advisor

Erik Hines, Ph.D.

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The profession of school counseling has the charge of facilitating student success in the effort to break down barriers to achievement and opportunity toward college and career readiness. Leading professional associations such as the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and the National Center for Transformed School Counseling strongly encourage counselor practice centered on leadership, advocacy, and accountability toward social justice centered practice, or school counselor social advocacy as defined by this study. This study assessed school counselor attitudes related to their belief in the importance, quality of support for, and level of actual engagement in school counselor social advocacy through the development of the School Counselor Social Advocacy Scale. Results of this study from a northeastern state with clear achievement disparities suggest that school counselors believe in the importance of social advocacy and are willing to engage in social advocacy behaviors even when support is moderate. Strong relationships exist between beliefs of importance and engagement as well as between support and engagement. A moderate relationship is clear between the quality of support a counselor feels and their belief in the importance of social advocacy suggesting the need for system wide shifts in practice and support. This study supports the need for development of operationalized models of practice in three phases as they relate to counselors; theoretical shift, cognitive process shift, and engagement in social advocacy practice.