Faculty Spotlight: Senior Associate Dean Joseph R. Franco

  Joseph Franco
    Senior Associate Dean Joseph R. Franco

Joseph R. Franco, PhD, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), National Board Certified Counselor (NCC) and the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, has been a member of the Pace University community since 1987. Recently Dr. Franco has taken on another role having been elected as President of the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA). He will first serve as President-Elect and then transition to the Presidency, which will be a commitment for a six-year period.

“Over the years, I have observed the growth of the organization as well as the pivotal role that it has played in collaborating with the New York State Office of Higher Education and other major professional organizations and agencies to ensure licensure for mental health counselors,” said Dr. Franco, who guides students through the licensure process in the graduate Mental Health Counseling Program. In 2006, New York State approved the licensing of clinical counselors. Dr. Franco wants to increase the visibility and understanding of mental health counseling as a profession, showing that it is comparable to other licensed degrees.

“He’s in the perfect position to integrate the academic side into the profession, to use what he knows about students and counselors in training into the profession’s growth and development at the state level. From the Pace perspective he is able to let us know what the professional licensing board’s needs are so we can guide our curriculum accordingly and we can be on the cutting edge of training programs in the state,” said Ross Robak, chair of the psychology department on Pace’s Pleasantville campus.

Dr. Franco is a tenured full professor in the Department of Psychology on the Pleasantville Campus. He teaches for the graduate program in mental health counseling and serves as the Director of Clinical Field Supervision for interns as well as teaches the courses “Field Experience in Counseling I & II,” “Career & Lifestyle Development,” “Social & Cultural Foundation,” and the undergraduate course, “Life Span Developmental Psychology.” Dr. Franco has also taught numerous undergraduate courses in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and has developed courses in medical sociology and social stratification.

Additionally, with the assistance and support of the Center for Community Action and Research, he developed one of the first undergraduate “experiential learning” courses in juvenile delinquency, a course required for the criminal justice program. Dr. Franco arranged for Pace University students to provide mentorship and academic tutoring to male school-aged children and adolescent residents at the Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, New York. The course met at the facility and the experience provided Pace students with the opportunity to gain firsthand insight into the issues of the residents as well as to understand the theoretical implications in the field.

“The transformation is the most exciting part. Students who are cautious initially become willing to gain insight into themselves and into the profession,” said Dr. Franco.

Dr. Franco has presented at a variety of conferences and published on blended and experiential learning and teaching.

His clinical background includes serving as a consultant to a variety of agencies on mental health issues as well as offering workshops on stress management, anger management, and on the counseling of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) clients. He has worked for the past fifteen years as an educator, group facilitator, and counselor at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in Bedford, NY, where he has offered programs in HIV prevention, coping with HIV and “parenting from the inside out.”

Dr. Franco’s book, Aspirations of Italian-American College Students: The Impact of Family Traditions and Mentorship for Professional Success, is forthcoming from University Press of America.

Learn more about Pace’s Psychology programs.