Chowan offers unique program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

MURFREESBORO – Progression at Chowan University is continuing with the introduction of a new, one-of-a-kind program that will not only educate students, but improve their chances at landing a job.

Next fall the university will be offering an Alcohol and Drug Studies track, through the department of psychology, which can lead to state certification as an alcohol/drug counselor.

“We just take them through the gamut,” said Dr. Romey Peavler, who is coordinating the courses and will serve as chair and associate professor of the Psychology Department. “There’s so much (they will learn).”

The courses in the alcohol and drug studies will teach knowledge to students while the certification will teach and give them a chance to practice the skills they need in the real world.

“Students enrolled in the department of psychology’s new drug/alcohol studies program will be exposed to a strong theoretical and practical foundation in counseling skills, professional and ethical responsibilities and client advocacy,” said Dr. Danny Moore in a written statement.

Moore is provost and vice president of academic affairs at Chowan University.

“The cutting edge, evidence-based curriculum addresses community, social and individual factors of addiction,” he said.

Various courses in Alcohol and Drug Studies will delve into subjects like how substances affect the body, alcoholism and addiction, legal issues, effects on the family and courses of treatment.

In certification courses students will have up to 600 required hours to have hands on experience with facets like counseling, group process and personality theory.

“They will be working with people in their internship and practicum,” Dr. Peavler said. “With a program like this, it’s continuum.”

Peavler said in North Carolina no bachelor’s degree is needed for certification, but by having a degree and certification increases the students’ chances of getting a job.

“When people leave with a BA in psychology they will be very much employable,” she said. “A lot of psychology undergraduate programs deal with theory and when they leave (here) they are going to be able to apply it.”

The program will help others who may have already received their BA in psychology and are seeking certification.

According to Peavler the program will be the only alcohol and drug studies program that can lead to certification from the North Carolina Alcohol/Drug Counselor Certification Board.

Peavler said there may be various reasons the new course of study may be engaging to students. She noted how drug and alcohol related issues are more commonplace now days in media and also in society.

“There are people with these problems,” she said, adding that students may know people with drug and/or alcohol related issues.

Interest in the topics is another reason she listed as to why students may decide to take the course of study.

She said for students who have taken a general psychology class, which may have touched on alcohol and drug studies, they may decide to pursue the subject further.

Peavler’s background boasts a variety of experience in the field not only educationally but vocationally as well.

A native of Kentucky, she received her Masters in Counsel Psychology from the University of Louisville and her Ph.D. in Behavior Psychology from Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Oh.

She took a practicum at Duke University and worked in the field dealing with not only alcohol and drug issues, but mental health in general.

She served as an adjunct professor at Indiana University and coordinated programs for Louisville Public Schools that promoted the prevention of alcohol and drug use.

But fate almost didn’t lead her down the path to Chowan.

At first, Peavler pictured herself teaching in a private college somewhere in the mountains. She was a little reluctant about moving to the Roanoke-Chowan area initially.

Peavler recalled making the trip with her husband, Phillip, for the interview, driving down the flat, rural roads with no soul in sight for miles.

“My husband and I looked at each other and we said, ‘No’,” she said shaking her head.

It was a culture shock for Peavler going from a big city to the small town of Murfreesboro. But soon the growth happening at Chowan University won her over when she interviewed with Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Kirk Peterson.

At the time Chowan was making its transition from college to university status as well as building up psychology department programs.

“He really appealed to me in my interview with what was happening here (at the university),” she said.