Spotlighting Staff

Diane Sus, new Admissions & Field Placement Coordinator for Counseling Department

Diane Sus

Diane comes to us from JFK University, where she has served as the Administrative Director of the JFKU Community Counseling Center for the past 13 years. She has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Somatic Psychology from JFKU and she earned her B.A. in Psychology at Saint Mary's College.

What do you think makes our Counseling Program unique or different from other programs?

There are many unique aspects about our Counseling Department that stand out to me. I am really impressed by how many specializations we offer. We currently have six specializations with a seventh one being considered for possibly starting this fall 2015. Our students are eligible to choose and complete more than one specialization at a time if they wish. Our class sizes are very small so that we can ensure our students are getting the personalized attention they deserve. Our faculty offers our students hands-on support and individualized attention, and they not only embody the philosophies they teach, but also exemplify the mission and diversity of our program and values. In their first year of the program, our students receive in-depth counseling skills instruction and training in their Counseling Skills I & II courses. In this two-part sequence our students are learning and practicing core counseling techniques and principals through role-plays. We have found that these classes have really proven to prepare our students for their field placement experiences. Many field placement site supervisors have commented on how well-prepared our students are when they begin field placement, and our students are highly sought after by many agencies and schools.

What do you tell prospective candidates about the Counseling program?

First and foremost, I always thank them for their interest in our program. I provide information and address any questions they may have regarding: curriculum; admissions requirements; program information; faculty/staff; field placement; scholarships; etc. Our Counseling Department honors and addresses the whole person and seeks to work from a holistic, multicultural, humanistic and systemic framework. The importance of social justice and cutural compentency is interwoven in all of our courses. Most importantly, I let them know that being a student in our program can be an exciting, transformative, and deeply rewarding personal experience. Our Counseling Department students are strongly encouraged to do deep self-reflective work as they learn to become counselors. We provide a high quality training and supportive environment to them. Our ultimate goal is for our students to become competent counselors in the field whereby they can create positive change and advocacy in the community.

How has being an SMC alumni assisted you in your current role?

My years at Saint Mary’s College as an undergraduate student left such a positive impression on me. I recall feeling like my professors really made an effort to know me, and encouraged me to awaken my mind to new ideas and concepts. It was a place where I was able to thrive. After having worked in graduate-level academia and community mental health for many years, I wanted to return with the experiences I’ve gained in order to give back through service to Saint Mary’s College and its students.

Not only am I able to speak first hand to the high quality of education I received at Saint Mary’s, but my alignment with the College’s mission and values has also proven to be helpful for me in my new role here. I hope my genuine enthusiasm and connection with the College comes through when speaking with prospective students.