[ skip to content ]


To allay the fear or hesitation of those considering the new doctoral program in counseling, Old Dominion University's Batten Distinguished Chair and professor of counseling intends to demystify the process.

"Oh! The stories you hear floating around out there about the horrors of the doctoral process scare graduate students off right and left," said Theodore P. Remley Jr., the newly appointed chair in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling. "This is especially true when an institution previously did not have a doctoral program in a subject, and students can't see the workings and successes. That's going to change here."

Remley also said that a fear of taking courses in statistics and qualitative data analysis, both required for the doctorate in counseling, is another reason some students don't consider the program. "A lot of counselors don't like numbers," he chuckled. "That's alright because we're going to get them all through it. ODU has a very competent and capable faculty which is going to mentor and become more proficient at graduating doctoral students."

To that end, Old Dominion has also hired Teresa Christensen, assistant professor of counselor education, who has personally helped nearly 40 doctoral students earn their degrees by assisting them in the dissertation writing process.

"I just keep students on task by setting deadlines and just not letting them stray. Anyone willing to work hard can do this," she said. "I love to write, always have. Writing is a skill and you have to practice it to get good at it. I sort of have a system and a template that I follow and I'm pretty direct about it. I see it as sort of a collaboration."

Like Remley, Christensen comes to ODU from the University of New Orleans, where they worked together for the past seven years.

"He's a quantitative researcher and I'm qualitative, and we butted heads over that quite a lot in New Orleans," she said. "That turned out to be great because we each learned a lot from each other, and his challenging me made me grow."

Remley, who has led successful doctoral programs at both New Orleans and Mississippi State University, said, "I intend to make ODU a top name in the field for graduating doctoral students within the next three to five years."

His plan includes seeding universities across the nation with ODU doctoral graduates, thus attracting an ever-increasing number of top-notch doctoral candidates.
According to Remley, that task is more easily accomplished at ODU than it was at his previous institution. "In New Orleans the students were mainly
from families who had been there for generations and who viewed Georgia or Vermont as other planets," he sighed. "In Norfolk, everybody's from someplace else with the Navy and all, so it won't be as difficult to get graduates out there into the big world to take the ODU name with them."

Remley, who specializes in the field of suicide prevention, believes he can also save graduate students from doing-in their dreams of earning a doctorate. "The problem right now, in any doctoral program in the United States, is that every program has different standards set by the individual professors," he said. "Students are left guessing what the professor wants, and if you're a good guesser you get a doctorate; if not, you could spend 10 years chasing the degree. I intend to assist professors in mentoring students to get them through in a timely and consistent fashion."

Remley holds a doctorate in counselor education from the University of Florida and a law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He is licensed as a professional counselor in Virginia, Louisiana and Mississippi, and is a member of the bar in Virginia and Florida.

A nationally certified counselor, Remley has chaired the counselor licensure boards in Virginia and Mississippi. He is a former executive director of the American Counseling Association. Remley has also taught at George Mason University and Mississippi State University.

This article was posted on: September 11, 2006

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.