Update, 10/13/2020: Several unverified sources have notified us that the Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program is going to shut down as well. We still have not received any response from Gallaudet University, despite a few contact attempts. One reader asked us if the Master of Social Work program would be impacted as well, and we are trying to find out about that. We will post another update later on when we know more.

Kendra Smith, the Chairperson for the Department of Counseling at Gallaudet University, sent out an e-mail to alumni sharing that as of September 2020, the Counseling graduate program is closed for both tracks in School Counseling [Summer and Online, or SOS]. It was not sustainable for the university to keep the SOS programs operational, due to the combination of “insufficient faculty,” low enrollment of students, and the current fiscal landscape (Smith’s e-mail). The Department of Counseling was established in 1971 and after 47 years, it is being phased out. This is not to be confused with Gallaudet University’s counseling services for enrolled undergraduate and graduate students.

ID: Email from Kendra Smith about the counseling program forwarded to an anonymous source.

The number of anticipated faculty members for 2021 has dropped from six to three, and the number of enrolled students for both has steadily dropped over the past five to six years (Smith’s e-mail). It is not entirely clear from Chairperson Smith’s e-mail on whether the Master’s program for Clinical Mental Health Counseling is also closing down, and an e-mail has been sent to Gallaudet University for clarification on this.

While the Department of Counseling’s webpage does emphasize that applications are no longer being accepted for the Master’s in School Counseling program, it does not say the same for the Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

Gallaudet University was awarded $7 million earlier this year, which remains available for use through September 30, 2021, “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” (Singman, 2020). It also has been said that the Master’s in American Sign Language may be put on hiatus for a year (for different reasons), and more will come on October 16.

Some community members have responded unfavorably to Smith’s e-mail, questioning whether the President’s salary could have been reduced to help hire faculty and maintain the School Counseling programs. We are in search of current graduate students, recent graduates of the School Counseling programs, and professionals who are working towards or have obtained licensure in School Counseling for interviews on the impact of the School Counseling programs being temporarily closed. If you are interested, please contact us at [email protected] or find us on Facebook at Deaf Vee.