It is the mission of the Western Michigan University Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies rehabilitation counseling/teaching program to promote quality rehabilitation services for, and with, individuals with disabilities through the education and preparation of qualified rehabilitation personnel, the provision of professional and student centered services to rehabilitation agencies, facilities and associations, and the sponsorship of research related to employment and rehabilitation to advance the profession.
- Prepare rehabilitation counselors and teachers who subscribe to the basic philosophical tenets of rehabilitation, including the value and worth of all individuals, a belief in human dignity, the right of all individuals to live as independently as possible, to engage in gainful employment, and to have full participation in society.
- Prepare competent professionals in rehabilitation counseling/teaching with skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary for delivering rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities.
- Prepare rehabilitation counselors and teachers who embrace professionalism by:
- Adhering to the codes of ethics for rehabilitation counselors and teachers.
- Engaging in activities that foster the advancement of the rehabilitation counseling and teaching profession.
- Updating and maintaining skills through lifelong learning and service to the rehabilitation profession.
- Prepare rehabilitation counselors with expertise in blindness or low vision services.
- Utilize experiential and innovative instructional strategies to maintain high-quality personnel preparation programs in rehabilitation counseling and teaching.
- Facilitate a diverse learning environment through recruitment of representative populations within each cohort of students.
- Emphasize diversity and multicultural issues in counseling and teaching program offerings.
- Engage in ongoing program evaluation and improvement to respond to the ever changing evolution of applicant, student, legislative, profession, employer and consumer demands.
- Utilize a collaborative, constituent-based cooperative approach for the counseling/teaching program management which includes contributions of students, faculty, department representatives, rehabilitation community representatives and the counseling/teaching program advisory board.
- Promote the practice and profession of rehabilitation counseling and teaching by emphasizing the vocational aspects of rehabilitation service delivery within the context of human development.
- Meet the demand for qualified rehabilitation counseling and teaching personnel in public and private rehabilitation systems, with emphasis in systems serving individuals with blindness or low vision.
- Pursue internal and external student and research based funding to support personnel development and advancement of the profession.
- Facilitate student acquisition of a strong conceptual and working knowledge of the foundations and principles supporting rehabilitation counseling and teaching.
- Establish and maintain professional and student-centered research and services with local, state, regional and national rehabilitation entities.
- Maintain the high standard of professional education in rehabilitation counseling and teaching as established by the CORE and ACVREP accreditation bodies in conjunction with promoting advances in the profession.