PAU Trustee Carol Bobby, Ph.D., Honored with ACES Legacy Award

November 10, 2019

On October 11th, ACES (The Association for Counselor Education and Supervision) awarded Palo Alto University Trustee Carol Bobby, Ph.D., the ACES Legacy Award at their annual conference in Seattle, WA.

“It was an unexpected honor. It’s a humbling experience,” Bobby said.

The award may have been unexpected because it was awarded two years after Bobby left full-time and lifelong work in education and counseling. She retired in May 2017 as the second and longest-standing President and CEO of CACREP (The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) after serving more than 30 years.

In those three decades, Bobby raised the profile and standards of the counseling profession, often providing a steady and unifying voice. Under her leadership in 1987, CACREP received recognition from the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation (COPA), which is now the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). She guided CACREP through numerous revisions of their standards to ensure the needs of changing demographics were met. And she led the growth in the number of CACREP-accredited institutions nationally.

Her impact is still felt throughout professional circles. In her introduction speech at the award ceremony, Bobby’s successor to the CACREP CEO role, Dr. Sylvia Fernandez, said, “She is a transformative leader” and went on to highlight how Bobby nurtured colleagues and supervisees as well as incorporated doctoral students into the accreditation process.

In an interview, Bobby spoke more often about others than herself. In speaking of the other awardees, she said, “I know many of the other awardees. I have so much respect for all of them. They are truly giving back to the profession with the skills they have, whether research, writing, advocacy, or policy-writing.”

She spoke of her professional ethos in terms of being a servant leader, using her skills to “give back” to the profession, and to collaborate with and support colleagues.

Her participation in ACES is a good example, which she joined in 1982 while still a doctoral student.  “Joining these kinds of membership associations is important to being a professional and supporting a profession. Being a role model, being active as a member, it’s something I wanted to do. You’re not a profession unless you share knowledge and skills. You’re not really a professional unless you’re collaborating with your peers.”

And now Dr. Bobby serves on the Palo Alto University Board of Trustees. She appreciates the opportunity to bring her experience as an accreditor to the Board.  

“I think Palo Alto is a rather unique institution, because it’s only focused on psychology and counseling. I’m looking at how those two professions balance within a university and at what Trustees need to know about quality assurance in order to support administrators.”

She describes PAU President Dr. Maureen O’Connor as warm, funny, thoughtful, and smart. “The opportunity to work with someone of that caliber was a driving factor [in joining the board].”