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Historical Review of AECAA
1986 - Present

submitted by Paul Roberge, ACAD


The AECAA executive has made progress towards using technology to assist members in meeting Association objectives. Our website (www.aecaa.ab.ca) and the companion Blackboard site hosted through Mount Royal College, are the result of the AECAA Executive's efforts. Members' usage of the sites has been limited and efforts are being made to ensure the content is relevant and current to members. Members have continued to be active at the Alberta Services for Students Conference and the old tradition of a late winter Professional Development Day is back on counsellors' agendas. Networking continues to be a priority for the AECAA Executive.


AECAA activities over this period were centered around the spring A.S.S.C.conference. Counsellors continued to provide conference delegates with presentations that focused on counselling related issues. Except for the counsellor networking and annual general meetings conference, AECAA was dormant until Spring 2001. The executive was appointed from the group that attended and charged with exploring the possibility of creating a web site.

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Due to personal circumstances much of the 1993-94 executive could not serve or could serve for only part of the year.  However, the Newsletter was published and planning proceeded for the Camrose conference.  Former members of the A.E.C.A.A. executive organized a meeting of counselling center heads to be held at Red Deer.  This was well attended.  A.E.C.A.A. was discussed since the Newsletter subscription would depend on the support of counselling department heads.  The attitude seemed mildly supportive but unenthusiastic.  It was decided to hold a follow up to the Red Deer discussion at the A.E.C.A.A. special interest session at the Camrose A.S.S.C.

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The 1992-93 executive was able to manage reasonably well with an incomplete executive since the new By-Laws eliminated the membership list and we had a Newsletter editor.  A conference was planned in conjunction with the Edmonton A.S.S.C..  There were concerns about attendance at the A.E.C.A.A. events because many counsellors lived in Edmonton and might not attend on full time bases.  To encourage participation, only a token fee was charged.  It was also decided to advertise the openness of A.E.C.A.A. events to all who wished to come as this was also consistent with the new By-Laws.  The executive also put in considerable effort to obtain a full slate of candidates for the election at the A.G.M..

As predicted, A.E.C.A.A. events were modestly attended but things worked smoothly.  A previously circulated proposal to charge a subscription fee for the news letter was passed.  A name, Nexus, was adopted for the newsletter.

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The 1991-92 executive sent several letters protesting counselling cuts at SAIT.  It also discussed a proposal to disband as an independent organization and become a subcommittee of the A.S.S.C. planning committee.  A new set of By-Laws were drawn up and the attitude of the membership was surveyed.  Most of the membership that responded were positive concerning the changes.  The A.S.S.C. provincial planning committee seemed receptive.

Planning an A.E.C.A.A. conference in conjunction with the A.S.S.C. to be held at Fairview proved to be challenging.  The distance to be traveled resulted in a shortened time period.  Communication difficulties with the on site committee resulted in the nonoccurrence of the social.  The A.G.M. was well attended.  The new By-Laws were discussed and adopted except that the association would maintain status as an independent association cooperating with the A.S.S.C. planning committee.  Once again the association failed to elect a full executive.

Although there was no A.E.C.A.A. conference as such, counsellors who experienced the cuts at Red Deer, Athabasca and SAIT gave presentations on their experience as part of the A.S.S.C..  Other counsellors gave presentations as well.  Some of these presentations were recruited by the A.E.C.A.A. executive and some were not.  Thus the Fairview conference was a significant event for many of the counsellors who attended.

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The 1990-91 executive sent a letter to the Minister of Advanced Education concerning counselling at Red Deer College as did many individual members of the Association.  Planning proceeded for the next conference.  The Newsletter was published and the membership list was managed as well as it could be.  Revenue and current memberships were up.

The 1991 A.E.C.A.A. conference at Lethbridge was also successful.  There was more news of counselling cuts, this time at SAIT.  For the first time efforts to obtain a complete executive failed.  The secretary-treasure position remained empty and we almost failed to get a Newsletter editor.  The association seemed to be working well as far as networking and providing a meaningful conference in conjunction with the A.S.S.C. were concerned.  However, the organization was not capturing the active interest of senior counsellors in the province and there wasn't much new blood coming in.

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The 1990 A.S.S.C. opened with news of the demise of student services at Red Deer College and Athabasca University.  The director of student services position had also been eliminated at Keyano College.  One of the addresses by a College dignitaries at Lakeland opened with an expression of doubt about the continued existence of Student Services in the Province.  Among counsellors informal discussion focused on the virtual elimination of counselling at Red Deer.  An ad hoc meeting was called to update members concerning this situation and to discuss the issues involved.

The A.E.C.A.A. conference, social and A.G.M. were well attended and were evaluated positively.  Filling executive positions remained problematic.  The future direction of the association was discussed but no consensus was reached.

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The A.E.C.A.A. conference at Olds College was considered a success.  However, there was a significant problem in recruiting new members for the executive.

The 1989-90 executive continued the efforts to plan a significant conference, to publish the Newsletter and to keep the membership list up to date.  The membership list was problematic in that current membership seemed to depend on attendance at the last conference.  The executive did not wish to lose contact with previous but not current members.  In addition there were several different types of members.  As a consequence there were multiple membership lists to keep as all these different types were entitled to different privileges.  This state of affairs also resulted in considerable confusion regarding conference registration.  Current members were due a break on the conference fee.

The executive also investigated the possibility of A.E.C.A.A. becoming a subgroup of a national counselling organization.  This was to become an issue to be examined at the next conference.

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The A.E.C.A.A. Social and A.G.M. at the A.S.S.C. in Red Deer were moderately well attended.  The social in particular seemed to serve a useful function in bringing counsellors together.

The 1988-89 executive focused on planning a more extensive conference to be held at Olds College in conjunction with the A.S.S.C. in 1989.  Efforts to interface with A.S.S.C. planning committee continued.  Considerable attention was given to soliciting paid up memberships.  Publication of the Newsletter continued.

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The new executive focused on publishing the Newsletter and on organizing an A.G.M. and social at the A.S.S.C. to be held at Red Deer College in 1988.  The president of the association organized an area professional development activity for Calgary.  The executive decided to avoid the counsellor licensure issue because it was thought to be an issue that was divisive among the membership.

Efforts were made to coordinate information about the A.E.C.A.A. conference published by A.E.C.A.A. with information published in the A.S.S.C. registration packet.

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In 1986 the A.E.C.A.A. conference was held in Conjunction with the 3rd annual Alberta Service for Students Conference (A.S.S.C.) at Red Deer College.  There was a day long work shop on counsellor licensure and a well attended A.G.M. at which the by-laws of the association were reviewed and adopted.

The association was to include Counsellors from Alberta Post-secondary Educational Institutions and from Alberta Career Centers.  The Province was divided into 5 zones: Calgary, Edmonton, North, Central and South.  Each area was to have a representative on the executive and hopefully counsellors from each area would meet among themselves.

Four purposes were set out for the provincial association.  A.E.C.A.A. was to: (1) provide for exchange of ideas and resolution of common concerns, (2) foster professional development, (3) initiate recommendations for change, and(4) coordinate activities among adult education counsellors.  An unspoken and unwritten purpose was to pursue counsellor licensure.

The 1986 A.E.C.A.A. conference was well attended and the energy level appeared high and well focused among the participants.

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