Excellence in Unclassified Staff Service
Dr. Barbara Hebert
Excellence in Service
Dr. Barbara Hebert
Director of the University Counseling Center
While some employees may get frowned upon for playing on the job, Director of the University Counseling Center Barbara Hebert, considers having fun while working hard a good thing.
With an office overflowing with stuffed animals and puppets, which she incorporates into her youth counseling sessions, her personality exudes the same lively attitude as her surroundings.
As a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, director of the Counseling Center, play therapy specialist at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Covington and an adjunct professor, it would be an understatement to say Hebert has her plate full.
“I feel so lucky to have this job because I get to do everything I love,” she said. “I get to practice counseling, teach play therapy classes, mentor interns and participate in community outreach where I can laugh, play and participate with students. Everyday is different and full of action, and that’s what I enjoy.”
Hebert, winner of the 2009 President’s Award for Excellence in Unclassified Staff Service, is a 15-year counseling veteran with a long Southeastern history.
“During my first semester at Southeastern, I enrolled in a class but soon decided not to take it. One day my phone rang and it was the professor calling to check on why I hadn’t been in class and to see if I was okay. It was then that I thought, ‘Wow, they really care about me here.’ It made the biggest difference in the world to me. Southeastern made me feel right at home.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1980, Hebert said the decision to continue attending Southeastern for her teaching certification and master’s degree in guidance and counseling was an easy one.
“The professors who taught me in the counseling department influenced me tremendously,” she said. “As director of the Counseling Center, I try and take the same team approach I learned so early on. I try to create a working atmosphere that is trusting and supportive. We all work hard together, have our strengths and weaknesses, and we complement each other.”
After taking the position as director three years ago, Hebert has been a central force in the Counseling Center’s increased involvement on campus and in the community. Under the umbrella of the Division of Student Affairs, the Counseling Center actively participates in Strawberry Jam, Family Day, Mocktails, Gumbo Ya Ya, the Southeastern Leadership Conference, Project PAWS (Promoting Awareness and Wellness for Students) and a myriad of other university events and programs.
In 2007, the Counseling Center received a $25,000 grant from the Louisiana Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) College Initiative to increase tobacco awareness at Southeastern through a series of campus events. The center received the grant for a second time in 2008 after finding success in the project.
A self-described worker bee and people person, Hebert said she enjoys being involved because she doesn’t know how to be any other way.
“I make it work because everything I am involved in is very important to me.”
Kay Maurin, the university director of disability services, said Hebert has led her staff’s initiative to serve as a resource to the Southeastern community by creating new programs and broadening the knowledge base of the university on the needs of students.
“It has been my experience that Dr. Hebert is always willing to go the extra mile to get the job done,” Maurin said. “Her willingness to attend to any and every detail, even the less than glamorous ones, is a tribute to her work ethic. No matter the task, Dr. Hebert approaches it with a smile and a positive attitude.”
April Montalbano, a graduate student in the department of counseling and human development, agrees.
“Dr. Hebert’s talent and creativity in counseling has been inspiring,” she said. “She is not only one of the best professors I’ve had in the Counselor Education program, but in all of my university experiences. She adheres to the principles of professionalism and respect, and I have always felt capable as her student.”
Hebert, who earned her doctorate in counselor education from UNO in 2004, said one of her biggest personal accomplishments was receiving her doctoral degree at 48.
“At the time, I was a single mom of two boys and working full-time,” Hebert said. “It wasn’t easy but I did it. The most valuable thing I have learned throughout my career is that there is no end to learning. Counselors are constantly learning about themselves through others, and I have to say that I learn more about myself everyday.”
Although Hebert has much to be proud of, she remains humble in her accomplishments.
“I don’t feel any more successful than anyone else at Southeastern,” she said. “There are so many incredible people here that do so much for the students, which is why receiving this award is such an honor. My fellow counselors, the students, and the great people across campus that I get to collaborate with make me feel truly blessed.”