Dr. Gerard Lawson is a Professor in the School of Education at Virginia Tech, and was the 66th President of the American Counseling Association, having served in that office from July 2017-June 2018. Gerard is also past-president of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) and past-president of the Virginia Counselors Association. In July of 2021, he was named to Governor Northram's administration, serving on the Board of Counseling in the Office of the Secretariat of the Commonwealth.
Since joining the faculty at Virginia Tech, Dr. Lawson has published his research in prestigious journals including the Journal of Counseling and Development, Counselor Education and Supervision, and The Clinical Supervisor. He has presented at national and international conferences on a range of topics including counselor wellness, crisis response and resilience, and clinical supervision. Gerard is the Principle Investigator on $1.6 million in grants from the National Institute of Justice, to explore influences on the School to Prison Pipeline. He has been involved in training and consulting across the country to help keep kids in the classroom, and out of the courtroom.
Gerard has been a disaster mental health volunteer with the American Red Cross since 2001, and has supported numerous national, state, and local disasters. He was instrumental in helping to coordinate the counseling response to the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007, and he is the author of Virginia Tech’s Disaster Behavioral Health Plan. He has helped many institutions prepare for crisis response, and works frequently with counselors who have responded, providing debriefing and supportive services. His focus is on building resilience in the individuals (including counselors) and communities that are affected by disasters. His published work includes articles exploring the experiences of professional counselors and clinicians in the aftermath of natural disasters such as the Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita and traumatic events such as the shootings at Virginia Tech. He was the chair of the ACA Taskforce on Crisis Response Planning and has authored several articles on counselor wellness and resilience, particularly when working in disaster mental health.
He is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, a National Certified Counselor, and an Approved Clinical Supervisor.
- Clinical Supervision
- Crisis Preparedness and Response
- Counselor Wellness and Resilience
- School Discipline Disparities
- PhD, College of William & Mary
- MS, Longwood College
- BS, Virginia Tech
- Editorial Board – Journal of Counseling and Development
- Education Committee – SAIGE Membership
- American Counseling Association
- Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES)
- Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling (AARC)
- Association Humanistic Counseling
- Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development
- American Counseling Association Research Award - 2021
- Outstanding Tenured Faculty Member - 2021
- Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Legacy Award Recipient – 2019
- American Counseling Association Fellow – 2019
- Niles Land Grant Scholar Award – 2017
- Chi Sigma Iota Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy (JCLA) Outstanding Article Award - 2017
- Martin Ritchie Award for Excellence in Advocacy (inaugural award, 2015)
Select Journal Articles
Lawson, G., *Asadi, G., Welfare, L., Miyazaki, Y. & *Hori, K. (2021). Integrating large datasets in outcome research: A case example. Counseling Outcome Research and Evaluation, DOI: 10.1080/21501378.2020.1866433
Welfare, L. E., Grimes, T. O., Lawson, G., *Hori, K., & *Asadi, G. (2020). The school to prison pipeline: Quantitative evidence to guide school counselor advocacy. Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy. doi:10.1080/2326716X.2020.1861490
Fullen, M.C., Lawson, G. and Sharma, J. (2020), Analyzing the Impact of the Medicare Coverage Gap on Counseling Professionals: Results of a National Study. Journal of Counseling & Development, 98: 207-219. doi:10.1002/jcad.12315
Lawson, G., Trepal, H., Lee, R.W., & Kress, V. (2017). Educational standards in counselor licensure laws: Application of a grassroots advocacy model for the future of the counseling profession. Counselor Education and Supervision, 56(3), 162-176. doi: 10.1002/ceas.12070
*Day, K., Lawson, G., & Burge, P. (2017). Clinicians’ experiences of shared trauma after the shootings at Virginia Tech. Journal of Counseling and Development, 95(3), 269–278. doi:10.1002/jcad.12141
Lawson, G. (2016). On being a profession: A historical perspective on counselor licensure and accreditation. Journal of Counselor Leadership and Advocacy, 3(2), 71-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2326716X.2016.1169955
- Secondary School Climate Survey VA Department of Criminal Justice Services, $229,343 (Active: 2021 - 2022), Principal Investigators: Lawson Gerard F (60%), Kniola David J (40%)
- Secondary School Climate Survey, VA Department of Criminal Justice Services, Amount Awarded to Date: $197,847, Principal Investigators: Lawson Gerard F (60%), Kniola David J (40%), 05/21/2020-12/31/2021
- An Investigation of School Resource and Safety Programs Policy and Practice in Virginia, National Institute of Justice, Amount Awarded to Date: $689,416, Principal Investigators: Lawson Gerard F (40%), Patrizio Kami M (30%), Welfare Laura E (30%), 01/01/2017-06/30/2020
- Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) - Co-PI with Dr. Laura Welfare (PI) on a $100,000, one-year investigation of School Disciplinary Outcomes for Students with Disabilities.
- National Institutes of Justice (NIJ) - Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. Principal investigator (with Patrizio [Co-PI] and Welfare [Co-PI]) for a $689,416 two-year Investigation of School Resource and Safety Programs Policy and Practice in Virginia.
- National Institutes of Justice — Comprehensive School Safety Initiative. Principal investigator for a $914,000 two-year study of the school-to-prison pipeline in Virginia.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Screening Brief Intervention and Referral for Treatment (SBIRT) grant. Co-Principal Investigator and Associate Project Director for a $945,000 three-year investigation of SBIRT training.
- Presentation to the Joint Commission on Healthcare, regarding the mental health workforce. (09-21-2021)
- Townhall Discussion on Mental Health during the pandemic; Del. Chris Hurst (06-05-2021) (with Matt Fullen)
- Served as an evaluator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management for a Full Scale Disaster Response Exercise for the Roanoke City Public Schools. Observed and scored the response to a simulated mass casualty event at the Roanoke Civic Center.
- Prepared trainings (ultimately delivered virtually) for the supervisors and managers of employees affected by the May 31, 2019 shootings at the Virginia Beach Municipal complex.
Select Media Mentions
Article ItemThe quest for wellness: A conversation with Dr. Gerard Lawson , article
The Thoughtful Counselor, 1/28/2020
General ItemVirginia Lawmakers Want to Dismantle Their ‘School-to-Prison Pipeline’
The Root, 01/19/2018
Recent Academic News
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