Cirecie West-Olatunji, UC associate professor, academic program director for the Counseling Program, and director of UC’s Center for Traumatic Stress Research, has been elected to the role of president of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Last year, West-Olatunji was elected as president-elect wherein she served a full year prior to assuming the office of president on July 1. In total, she has committed to three years of service.
West-Olatunji brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her new post as president. In addition to service at the state branch level (Louisiana Counseling Association), she has served as vice president for African American Concerns and then president in the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, a division of ACA. She was also elected to the ACA Governing Council, which serves as the policy making arm of the association to govern the organization’s affairs.
As an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, and author in the area of culture-centered theory, research, and practice, she has provided consultation and training in Africa, Asia, Western and Eastern Europe, and the Americas.
As president of the ACA, West-Olatunji’s vision includes continuing to add to the organization through leadership development, encouraging social action and outreach in vulnerable communities, and expanding the global presence of counseling.
West-Olatunji said she ran for president of the ACA because her mentors instilled in her the importance of having passion for her profession as well as a compulsion to serve when called.
“After having served in various positions at the ACA and as a counselor educator and licensed professional counselor, I think I have personal and professional qualities that can help advance the ACA,” West-Olatunji said.
Unwavering commitment to service and helping others is central to West-Olatunji’s outlook, guiding her in the many important roles she plays.
As president of the ACA, West-Olatunji will lead the organization and serve as its spokesperson and liaison to other national and international organizations. She will also oversee its budget and preside at all organization meetings, among other duties. As the largest association of professional counselors, the ACA equips more than 53,000 members with the resources they need to make a difference. The ACA helps its members navigate issues and provides various services. Among them: professional liability insurance, legal and ethical support and oversight, profession development opportunities, and research development. The ACA also ensures that practitioners have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings to serve diverse clients, such as active duty military, veterans, and people with disabilities.
West-Olatunji is a graduate of Dartmouth College and attended Teachers College of Columbia University, where she pursued graduate studies in the area of Multicultural Counseling Psychology. West-Olatunji holds a doctorate degree in Counselor Education from the University of New Orleans.