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Counselor and Rehabilitation Education Faculty

Our faculty are a unique blend of researchers, educators and professionals who are proven experts in their fields. They are actively involved in:

  1. publishing juried scholarly works in their respective disciplines and contributing to the scholarly program at meetings of professional organizations
  2. submitting grant applications to external agencies
  3. contributing to the department's service mission through participation in professional organizations, involvement on departmental, college, and university committees, and by serving the nation, state and region with their professional expertise.

Yancy Cruz-Virella, Assistant Professor

I have conducted research and publications in areas of chronic morbidly obese, dialysis and kidney transplant patients, multiculturalism and academic advising in the rehabilitation counseling field. I am interested in developing other research topics such as employment of people with disabilities, mental health crisis management, multiculturalism and program evaluation in the rehabilitation counseling field and related areas. Currently, I am developing the design to conduct two research mixed methods. The first research is analyzing and evaluating the experiences of persons with a kidney transplant that have more than ten years. The second research will evaluate dialysis treatment patients with more than ten years. Also, I am interested in developing research including persons with severe disabilities that have maintained a long-term employment, mentoring, support to first generation of students, minority and non-traditional students.

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Yancy Cruz-Virella

Office: Rehn 333A
Phone: 618-453-8223

Jody Giles, Associate Professor of Practice

Dr. Jody Giles is an Associate Professor of Practice specializing in Clinical Mental Health training and supervision.

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Jody Giles

Office: Rehn 331
Phone: 618-453-2311

Jane Nichols, Program Director, Associate Professor

Specializations: Sequlae of traumatic brain injury, including challenges in communication, decision making, and addictive behaviors.

Dr. Jane Nichols is an Associate Professor in the Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration Program. She received her M.S. from Portland State University and her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Rehabilitation Counseling. Dr. Nichols has over 20 years of experience in public, private and non-profit settings as a rehabilitation counselor, mental health counselor, and program coordinator. Her dissertation involved the qualitative study of social interactions of persons with acquired brain injury. Dr. Nichols research projects include: the intersect between social skills, mental health and addictive behaviors; interdisciplinary teamwork and military counseling. Dr. Nichols specializes in mental health and substance use counseling and is coordinating the Advanced Training Program in Substance Use Disorders and Addictive Behaviors at the Rehabilitation Institute. She is a licensed clinical counselor and a certified rehabilitation professional.

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Dr. Jane Nichols

Office: Rehn 329A
Phone: 618-453-8291

Thomas Upton, Professor

Specializations: Brain Injury, Rehabilitation Counselor Education and Disability Attitudes.

Dr. Thomas D. Upton is a Professor in the Rehabilitation Counselor Training Program at the Rehabilitation Institute, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling from The University of Iowa (2000). Additionally, Dr. Upton has varied rehabilitation experiences. These include work in two comprehensive rehabilitation centers, as a senior state/federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor, a private consultant for a private VR firm, and as a brain injury consultant who designed, provided, and replicated innovative treatment programs to enhance the social skills and employment opportunities of adults with brain injury. Dr. Upton actively mentors graduate students with disabilities and is involved in research projects with community agencies. Furthermore, he serves as an editorial consultant for the Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling and the Journal of Rehabilitation. His primary research interests include innovations in brain injury rehabilitation, rehabilitation counselor preparation, and disability attitudes.

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Thomas Upton

Office: Rehn 322A
Phone: 618-453-8287


Lisa Vinson, Assistant Lecturer.

As a Counselor Educator, my educational background has empowered me to conduct impactful research, present at prestigious national and local conferences, and publish influential works.

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Lisa Vinson

Office: Rehn 331A
Phone: 618-453-8843

School of Health Sciences | College of Health and Human Sciences | 618-453-7211 |