Faculty Focus: Dr. Afiya Burson
Title: Online Full Time Faculty, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Years at GCU: 2
- Bachelor of Psychology, Clark Atlanta University
- Master of Clinical Psychology with Counseling Specialization, Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Chicago campus)
- Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision, Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Washington, D.C. campus)
What is your most notable accomplishment in your field, and why was it important?
Some of my most notable accomplishments were presenting at conferences on the national and regional level. Some of the topics that I have covered were Black women in the workplace, promoting counselor wellness, and a description and evaluation of the experiences of an all-African American doctoral counselor education cohort and the impact of cohort cohesion. Being part of presentations or even attending conferences is very important because this keeps professional counselors abreast of trending research and information. It helps to continue to build and refresh my counselor identity.
What are you most passionate about in your field and why?
Advocacy, self-care and self-awareness. I highlight these things in as many assignments and discussions as possible. Regarding advocacy, I love being able to use my voice to advocate for others who may not be able or unsure of how to advocate for themselves. This passion is driven by being a member of multiple cultural groups that have been oppressed. I also am very passionate about self-awareness and self-care because in the work that I do as a counselor I am using my mind and body as a tool. I am connecting with others, and I have learned that to be effective I have to take care of myself. I also need to be in tune with myself. If nothing else, being able to just have the space for others can be healing.
What is a memorable moment you had in class, and what does that reveal about your teaching style?
It was in an internship course I was teaching. This was a learning moment for me because I bumped heads often with the student I was supervising/teaching. She felt unheard by me. I was really concerned for her client at the time, which caused me to focus more on the client than my student. I learned a lot about myself and myself as a teacher. I never want my students to feel undervalued or unheard. I have taken that teachable moment and made sure that I incorporate it in my classes with wellness check-ins and just trying to be as available as I can to mentor students who want and need help.
What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
Before COVID, traveling was my favorite thing to do. When I travel, I get to relax and unwind. I usually travel with friends and my friends are all over, so this is a good time to reconnect with one another. I also enjoy traveling because I believe that it fosters growth. I like to learn about other cultures and what is unique to that particular culture, which is always so interesting to me.
What is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?
When I was younger, I used to collect Barbies with my aunt. We still have about 200 of them.