Foundation Award for Service

Jeffrey Cornelius-White

Jeffrey Cornelius-White

Counseling, Leadership, and Special Education
College of Education

I. Philosophy of Service

My philosophy of service involves university citizenship, professional service, and fostering high impact learning experiences for students and other community members that intersect with teaching and/or research. When I use research methods, conflict resolution, or communication skills to further work on a committee, I am learning and bringing scholarly skills to bear on university citizenship. When I review for or edit an academic journal or book, I foster the development of emerging scholars and learn and improve my own research and writing skills. Likewise, when I create a study away program or service-learning course, or mentor student research, I am linking the three pillars of academia with broad benefits.  I believe it is important to participate in the democratic processes of committee membership to advocate and shape the formation, agenda, and decisions of those committees. Having grit to listen, advocate, allow yourself to be changed through learning and build consensus among groups of persons with similar interests is key to success in service. I strive to foster relationships and consider the impact of service activities on future relationships, appreciating that sustainability and growth in relationships leads in unexpected beneficial ways. Service is essentially the disciplined practice of scholarly behaviors in the context of positive relationships for the public good.

II. Examples of service including service to University, discipline and community

I have aimed to participate consistently in a variety of university citizenship activities. As several relationships were built and my understanding of the issues at the university has deepened, I have endeavored to take on more leadership and advocacy roles. I have served on approximately 65 committees at University, college, department, and program levels in the last decade. In particular, I served multiple terms as a Faculty Concerns Committee representative, secretary, chair, and subcommittee chair and as a Faculty Senator. I have co-authored several lengthy reports for the university, many of which are available online, as well as co-authored and/or moved or seconded many non-curricular Senate Actions and Resolutions. Some of these Actions and Resolutions have resulted in notable changes and/or rhetorical arguments for the university such as the only raises for per course instructors, overload payments, and GEP faculty instructors in that time, and congratulations for or disapproval of upper administrative or board decisions. One project on which I, and several others, worked for many years was the strategic, historic passage of domestic partner (household non-employee) benefits, which involved multiple committees, resolutions, and meetings with the president. In particular, I am grateful for the level of consensus and diplomacy with which I have been met both within faculty and with administration over the years. I have served as a Program Director, Program Coordinator, Provost Fellow, Dean Fellow, and Service-Learning Fellow. I co-developed, validated, and published the Public Affairs Scale that is taken by every undergraduate student and have published in the AAUP magazine, Academe, to help faculty morale during times of financial distress based on the findings of the faculty concerns reports I co-authored. I played a role related to faculty, staff, and student voices outside of committees, such as in the Harvard Voices of Diversity study, the first Diversity Climate study analysis, and improved faculty morale initiatives. I have helped develop or teach high impact student learning experiences, including study away programs, service-learning courses, practica, and internships. I have helped several students and junior faculty publish as a co-author pre-submission reviewer.

In terms of public service, my largest contributions have been as a leader in the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling, an umbrella organization which has had up to 25 organizational and 500 individual members, including national associations from the UK and Germany as its largest organizational members. With the World Association, I served as a board member, chair of the board, chair of the elections committee, newsletter editor, journal co-editor, and other smaller roles.  Additionally, I have served in an editorial review capacity for about 50 different journals and book publishers. I served as an editor, co-editor, managing editor, content editor, acquisitions editor, or associate editor at several.

As an example of the intersection of teaching, research and service, I have served as guest lecturer, doctoral faculty, and/or consultant at several prestigious institutions including University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Vienna, University of Munich (Ludwig Maximillian), and National Research University (Higher School of Economics) in Moscow, Russia. In 2015, one of the first doctoral students I worked with at the University of Vienna starting in 2008 in a consultant role came to Missouri State as a Fulbright Scholar. I have been invited to guest lecture in 2016 at Iberoamericana University in Mexico City, one of the highest ranked institutions in Mexico and have also guest lectured at other universities in Brazil and Germany. I am routinely contacted by graduate students and researchers from around the world for consultation on areas related to the person-centered approach, such as relational therapy, learner-centered education, or mentoring and teacher-student relationships.

My contributions in community service are more modest. I am engaged with my community as a voter and political activist and participant in parent teacher associations and the like, similar to most faculty. I have had some limited success meeting with most state Senators and some House Representatives to prevent certain changes to healthcare laws in the state and encourage Medicaid expansion. I provided written testimony for this purpose as well as in a similar situation in Germany.

III. Future Commitment to Service

My philosophy of service links service, teaching and research in most situations, providing opportunities to further student learning, mentor research, and bring scholarly skills to bear in university and professional service as a daily commitment. In 2015, I began as a co-editor of Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, an international indexed journal with a SJR Impact Factor of .52, with the intent to serve till 2018. I am chair of the PCE 2016 Scientific Committee, an international Psychotherapy Conference held in July 2016 at Columbia University and City University of New York. I will continue to be a reviewer for journals, currently having reviewed for about 50. I will continue as a Faculty Senator and in chairing and serving on dissertations for the cooperative doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy analysis with the University of Missouri-Columbia and serving as mentor for dozens of final graduate research projects and junior faculty annually. I will continue to listen and look for opportunities to contribute in expansive ways. 

IV. Topics related to service for which you are available for presentations and/or consultations (e.g., public affairs, relationship of service to teaching, and relationship of service to research).

  • Editorial reviewing: Why reviewing for journals is important service to the profession, the importance of reviewing to improve your own research, writing, and likelihood of publications, how to get opportunities to review, and becoming an editor of books and journals.
  • A relational view on the public affairs mission: How to build a broad professional network through service in professional associations, find opportunities to consult while engaging the community, ethically leading and learning, and practicing and improving cultural competence, and how to meet really neat people while doing it.
  • Linking service, research and teaching: How university citizenship provides opportunities for research and research provides opportunities for service, how high impact learning experiences serve as an intersection between research, teaching, and service, such as service-learning, study away, and internships.