Assistant Professor Deanna Cor receives state award


The Oregon Counseling Association (ORCA) presented College of Education Assistant Professor Deanna Cor with the Human Rights Award at their fall meeting, held Friday, November 9, at the Mark Spencer Hotel in Portland.

The award is presented to ORCA members who have demonstrated an exemplary level of professional and personal commitment in the areas of human rights and the advancement of human dignity.

Cor came to PSU in 2016 and is the program coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling specialization. She is a licensed professional counselor in Oregon, a National Board Certified Counselor, and a board-approved clinical supervisor. Her research interest is in facilitating and advancing multicultural and social justice counseling competencies for working with trans and nonbinary clients. She has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and presented locally and nationally on these topics.

Most recently, in conjunction with a small group of advocates, she worked to establish the Oregon chapter of the Association for LGBT Issues in Counseling. She is currently serving as the inaugural president of the organization.

The Human Rights Award was established in 1986 by PSU Emeritus Professor David Capuzzi, who began working at PSU in 1977. He was an instructor, program coordinator, department chair, and assistant dean, and is a past president of ORCA’s national affiliate, the American Association for Counseling and Development.

New Hires in GSE 2018–19

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Counselor Education
Benita Bellrichard Munson, MS, CRC, LPC, CADC I, is an assistant professor of practice in the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Program, in the Counselor Education Department. She is also a member of the Graduate Certificate in Addictions faculty. She obtained her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Portland State University. She maintains a private practice where her clinical specialties include working with individuals and couples adjusting to chronic illness/disability, relational improvement, and addiction. She has previous experience working in an inpatient alcohol and drug treatment program and a history of both social work and career counseling in Canada. She is interested in multicultural issues in counseling and the intersection among couples, families, and their adjustment to disability.

Helen Gordon Child Development Center
Mary Schumacher-Hoerner, MA, is the new head of PSU’s Helen Gordon Child Development Center (HGCDC). Schumacher-Hoerner was previously an associate professor of early childhood education and director of the Child and Family Development Center at San Juan College (SJC) in New Mexico, where she supervised for the past six years. Schumacher-Hoerner has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming and an MA from the University of New Mexico and has done doctoral work in curriculum and instruction.

Curriculum and Instruction
Alex “Xander” Davies, PhD, is a new assistant professor of ESOL and elementary education in the Curriculum and Instruction Department. Prior to coming to Portland State University, Davies earned his doctorate in education–TESOL from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. His research interests include ESOL infusion in teacher-preparation programs using interactive avatars and simulated classrooms; dual-language education with emphasis placed on curriculum and program implementation; ESOL methods among both preservice and in-service teachers; family and community involvement in K–12 schools; and second-language and cultural identities among first-generation immigrants and persons of refugee and asylum backgrounds. Davies has worked closely with administrators and content area teachers in local school districts throughout the Orlando area to provide professional development in both ESOL methods and dual language. Additionally, he worked with resettlement agencies as a cultural broker and language specialist to various families from refugee backgrounds.

Special Education
Mary E. Morningstar, PhD, is the new co-director of PSU’s ThinkCollege Inclusion Oregon project in the Special Education Department and will teach courses for preservice students focused on transition and postsecondary outcomes. She has a BSEd in special education from the University of Georgia, an MEd in special education from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from the University of Kansas. Morningstar’s research encompasses three interrelated concentrations: college and career readiness for youth with disabilities, teacher education and professional development, and secondary inclusive educational reform. She is the author of The Educator’s Guide to Implementing Transition Planning and Services (2017) and over 40 peer- reviewed journal articles and numerous book chapters, monographs, and technical reports.

Maria Gilmour, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA, is an assistant professor of practice in the Graduate School of Education and head of the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) program in the Special Education Department. Gilmour is an educator who has extensive experience consulting with parents and families, teachers, educational leaders, and school administrators in both public and private programs for educating children and adults with special needs. Gilmour received her master’s degree in Special Education at Gonzaga University and her PhD from the University of Georgia, focusing on applied behavior analysis and autism, learning and cognition, and educational administration and policy. She has been working with families since 1998.

U.S. News & World Report ranks GSE near top 100

2019 US News & World Report: 108th out of 1900 SchoolsThe Graduate School of Education (GSE) is ranked 108th out of 1,900 graduate schools in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“It is a true testament to the hard work of our outstanding faculty, who are recognized leaders in their disciplines,” said Dean Marvin Lynn.

PSU’s GSE is the largest, most comprehensive school of education in Oregon, with 53 programs that address K–12 education, adult education, counseling, and sustainability education.

The 2019 ranking for the GSE overall is consistent with previous years for U.S. News & World Report.

The GSE’s online Master’s in Early Childhood: Inclusive Education and Curriculum & Instruction is ranked 141st for 2019. This is a new master’s program that focuses on the intersection of inclusion and early childhood education and has four specializations.

The GSE’s Rehabilitation Counseling program has also been ranked by US News & World Report as high as 18th in the nation.

GSE Counselor Education program earns extended accreditation

The Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) has awarded accreditation to the GSE’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling master’s degree programs. The accreditation extends through March 31, 2024.


“This is wonderful news for our school,” said Dean Marvin Lynn. “We are proud of this department and all the efforts of our faculty and administration who continually uphold the highest standards of equity-based research, teaching, and practice. I am particularly thankful for Tina Anctil, who led this effort.”

These programs join the GSE’s School Counseling program and the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program, which is jointly accredited as a Clinical Mental Health Program. The Rehabilitation Counseling is also ranked 18th in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

The GSE’s Counselor Education programs are some of the most sought-after programs in the school. Many GSE Counselor Education graduates go on to successful careers in private practice, community mental health and hospital settings, government agencies, veterans services, and in higher education.

Counseling research project will assess experiences of women of color in medical treatment settings

Investigating the experiences of women with invisible illnesses in medical settings: A comparison of intersectional identities

Assistant Professor Rana Yaghmaian will expand her work in rehabilitation counseling with this new grant from the Dean’s Funds for Excellence.

It was the experience of a close family member that sent Yaghmaian’s career on this trajectory. This person lived nearly three decades with an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder, consistently being told by medical personnel that her symptoms were psychosomatic in nature.

Yaghmaian’s work focuses on women with chronic, ambiguous, and invisible illnesses. She states that there is very compelling evidence that women with chronic illnesses must constantly adapt to, negotiate, and interact with the social environment, specifically medical settings, in ways that are intimately connected to the intersection of gender and illness. Studies reveal that women in general are perceived as overly emotional and burdensome in medical settings, and Yaghmaian has stated that this is especially true for women with the types of conditions she studies. According to her research, when medical practitioners fail to diagnose a problem through conventional methods, women are often told legitimate physical symptoms are “all in your head.” As a result, women can feel invalidated and disempowered. This messaging leads to delayed and ineffective care, and could impact the individual’s ability to participate fully in important life roles and achieve good a quality of life. Yaghmaian will continue her line of research around this topic, specifically focusing on ways in which the experiences of women of color compare to those of women with privileged racial identities.

Yaghmaian plans to conduct her research using quantitative and qualitative research methodology, specifically investigating the experiences of women who seek conventional medical care. This grant will give Yaghmaian the opportunity to design and develop the project over the next year and to nurture University and community partnerships to collaborate and expand the work. Her ultimate goal is to organize a research team that can move the project forward for possible federal funding. This could provide opportunities for PSU students to work on an important project that is relevant to the community, and at the same time reflects the GSE’s and the University’s emphasis on diversity and social justice.

“The overarching purpose of this project, and the reason I’m so interested in this line of research, is that I want to use this work as part of my commitment to advocacy for women and women of color with chronic illness and disability,” said Yaghmaian. “I want to explore intersections of gender, race, and illness to ultimately improve quality of life for these women.”

Yaghmaian is the coordinator of the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling program in the Counselor Education Department.

This is one of a 4-part series of projects funded by the 2018 Dean’s Fund for Excellence. For more information or to contribute to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, or any other GSE fund, please contact Scott Shlaes,, or call 503-725-4789.

NEXT: Two ground-breaking GSE programs collaborate on “what’s possible?”

GSE announces new staff for 2017



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chandler Duff is a member of the Recruitment, Outreach, and Student Services team, supporting prospective and current students at the GSE. Her work ranges from assisting the admissions processing team, to directing student queries, to planning recruitment efforts like the annual GSE Open House. Additionally, Duff serves as the intake specialist for Continuing Education. In this role, she works closely with cooperative agencies offering graduate-level coursework for educators and supports students in these courses. Prior to her position at Portland State, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Eugene, Oregon. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with two degrees, one in Spanish language and literature and a second degree in international studies.

Tammy Klupar supports multiple departments within the GSE. She is the department administrator for Counselor Education and provides support for the Curriculum and Instruction Department, with their full-time department administrator. In the summer, she supports the GSE’s licensure recommendation process. Klupar has an undergraduate degree in business administration from Southern Oregon University. She previously worked as a travel consultant.

Erica Soule provides support to current and prospective GSE students. Working alongside the ROSS team as the admissions and progression specialist for the counseling department, she serves counseling students from first questions through to graduation. Her other GSE-wide student support services broadly range from maintaining the new student orientation module to helping coordinate academic hooding. Soule has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Virginia Tech and recently earned a graduate certificate in teaching adult learners (PACE). She arrived at PSU after a long career as a training manager in the coffee industry.

Juliet Wilhelm is the new technology support specialist in the Technology Services Center in the GSE. She is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, where she studied classical languages. She also worked at the school’s IT help desk for several years, in support of both undergraduate and graduate students. She has experience supporting students completing EdTPA portfolios.

Carith Wiseman is the development administrator for the GSE. She is in the Dean’s Office, where she works closely with the development director. Her position acts as a liaison between the PSU Foundation and the GSE, which means she assists with a large variety of duties, including scholarship and stewardship. Wiseman has a bachelor of arts in theater from San Francisco State University.