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Chuck Carney
IU School of Education
ccarney@indiana.edu
812-856-8027

Last modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Conference offers help for those working with youth

44th Munger Conference at School of Education

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- More than 50 seminars on topics as varied as nutrition and pre-adolescent stress highlight the 44th Annual Paul Munger Conference for Youth-Serving Professionals on June 18-20 at the Indiana University School of Education in Bloomington. An optional Best Practices Summer Institute focusing on population-based services follows on June 21.

The conference is aimed at a variety of professionals who work with youth, including counselors and psychologists from schools or agencies, teachers, social workers and administrators. Speakers include experts from the IU faculty and the state department of education, including an opening keynote address from Charlie Nelms, IU vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs, and a Tuesday address from Suellen Reed, Indiana schools superintendent.

Continuing renewal units are available for teachers holding a master's degree. Counselors, therapists, social workers and others attending can earn continuing education units.

The conference began more than four decades ago as a seminar focused primarily on school counselors. It is named after the late Paul F. Munger, former chair of the then Department of Counseling and Guidance in the School of Education and professor until 1984.

In the last several years, the program has widened to include a very broad range of professionals. Catherine Gray, conference director as well as associate director for the Center for Research and P-16 Collaboration in the School of Education, said the school added the portion of the title "for Youth-Serving Professionals" to better reflect the scope of the conference. "It just wasn't inclusive enough," Gray said of the previous title.

For the third year, the conference is co-sponsored by the Indiana Pathways to College Network, an organization that works with those interested in issues of college access and success. Many speakers will focus on those problems. "It is all about educating folks who work with youth about college access issues -- financial aid, different enrollment, how you prepare, how you succeed -- a lot of the facts that a lot of us aren't aware of enough," Gray said.

Gray says the conference allows an opportunity for counselors and others to hear about issues from the perspective of other professionals. "Mental health people in the community will come who just want to get more information about some of the things that are out there, because a lot of the issues are the same," she said. "For example, you have a child who walks in your office with eating disorders, the mental health professional might have a pretty good understanding of it because that's more in their background. The school counseling people, though, really aren't trained as therapists. And so this gives them at least enough understanding that they know how to best support what a therapist is doing."

Reed, who will give the keynote speech during Tuesday's session, said professional interaction and understanding is very important. "It's vitally important that people understand that what may be something that you just pass off may be very, very important to that student at that particular time," Reed said. "And being able to recognize that and being able to be interested, let students know that we really do care about them. You know the old saw about students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. I think it's very important that we relate that in all ways."

Cost for the conference varies based on the number of days attended. Discounted rates are available for part-time or full-time college students. Full information on the cost, schedule and education credits are available at http://munger.indiana.edu/home.aspx.

Media Outlets: the following comments are available as mp3 files on the IU School of Education Website at http://education.indiana.edu/audio.html.

Keynote speaker Reed says the conference emphasizes a point youth-serving professionals should remember:

"So it's vitally important that people understand that what may be something that you just pass off may be very, very important to that student at that particular time. And being able to recognize that and being able to be interested, let students know that we really do care about them. You know the old saw about students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. And I think it's very important that we relate that in all ways."

Gray says the conference will focus on many issues regarding access to college and success in higher education:

"And it is all about educating folks who work with youth about college access issues -- financial aid, different enrollment, how you prepare, how you succeed, a lot of the facts that a lot of us aren't aware enough of. A lot of the obstacles that keep especially the traditionally underserved out of higher ed and how can we open those doors?"

Gray says the conference gives an important chance for professionals to relate experiences:

"Mental health people in the community will come who just want to get more information about some of the things that are out there, because a lot of the issues are the same. You have a child who walks in your office with eating disorders, the mental health might have a pretty good understanding of it because that's more in their background. The school counseling people, though, really aren't trained as therapists. And so this gives them at least enough understanding that they know how to best support what a therapist is doing with that student, how to refer a student when they recognize some of the signs that they might have missed."