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Thursday, December 8, 2016

COE’s Ewing Wins National Award

Dr. Jan Ewing
The award was established for faculty members who have inspired their former students to make a significant contribution to society.

Dr. Jan Ewing, a faculty member in the College of Education Counseling and School Psychology Department, did exactly that, earning her the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award, national recognition and a $25,000 cash prize. Ewing received her award in mid-November.

“I feel mostly humbled to think that my initiatives have inspired my students to create something or establish a concept that would be of benefit to the larger community,” said Ewing, who teaches in the Marriage and Family Therapy master’s program. “I grew up wanting to make a difference in society. I think many of us can relate to wanting to make a difference in the world and wondering if all of our efforts add up to something that is beneficial to others…The award substantiates all our efforts and energy and makes it more real by offering it attention.”

Presented by Wells Fargo, the Elizabeth Hurlock Beckman Award is given to current or former academic faculty members who have inspired their former students to “create an organization which has demonstrably conferred a benefit on the community at large.”

“Dr. Ewing engaged our class in not only understanding different theories but also utilizing critical thinking to challenge some of the more dominant and often harmful ideas that end up limiting us,” said Mona Klausing, a former student and founder of Re Spectrum Community. Re Spectrum Community, now a part of San Diego Center for Children, offers mental health services and support to families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum. “[Her] influence instilled possibility in me that I could work in different and preferred ways. She was a role model.”

Dr. Sarah Kahn helped to establish the Counseling and Social Change Minor Program at San Diego State University and has been the director of the program since 2012.

“Dr. Ewing has been and continues to be the single most influential mentor in my life,” wrote Kahn in her nomination letter. “Her impact spans over the past 12 years, beginning when I was her student in a marriage and family therapy master’s program at Alliant International University.”

Ewing, a professor for the past 20 years, brought a couple key principles/concepts to the field of marriage and family therapy, namely Narrative Therapy.

Narrative Therapy is a collaborative approach to counseling and community work which centers on people as the experts of their own lives. It views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and competencies that will assist them to change their relationship with the problems influencing their lives.

Ewing is glad that her students get excited by the principles and concepts she embraces in the field of marriage and family therapy and is happy to support them to be creative in how they apply them in different people and settings.

“The principles of my therapy work and foundation of our Marriage and Family Therapy program at SDSU come from Narrative Therapy,” said Ewing, who loves hiking, camping and travel with her teenage son.  “I get excited and hopeful about the world becoming a better place because we are changing the ways we relate to and affect one another.”