Supporting Staff Resilience: Field of Counseling Lessons To Manage Pandemic and Post-Pandemic Burnout

Concurrent Session 4 & 5 (combined)
Streamed Session Leadership

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The abrupt switch to online during the pandemic represented challenges to our students, faculty --and also to our staff on whom we rely to support the success of our students. The complexity imposed on by the pandemic has led, at some institutions, to loss of faculty and/ or staff, with some leaving the industry altogether. This adds to the challenges of maintaining a quality experience for students. In this workshop participants share their experiences and lessons learned, as well as explore the application of concepts from the fields of counseling and leadership to support staff success and satisfaction.



Dr. William Prado has 20 years of experience in online education, including in administration, instruction, and course and curriculum design. He teaches sustainable business and other management subjects, and has served as Dean of Graduate and Online Programs at Green Mountain College and Prescott College. Currently Bill is the Director of the MBA in Sustainability Leadership and Sustainability Management programs at Prescott College. He also serves on the Institutional Advisory Committee of NC-SARA. Bill’s work in education is informed by a focus on BIPOC and marginalized students’ success, including integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion dimensions rooted in his experience as a first generation American Latinx and also as a first generation college graduate.

Extended Abstract

Among the roles of organizational leaders during turbulent times is to facilitate change and adaptation (Daft, 2018). The impact of the pandemic is a strong example of turbulence and the impacted have included students, faculty, and staff at all levels. Challenges associated with the pandemic had to be met at a time when many of our institutions were embarked on important programs, such as improvement of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility that required essential updates to our processes and systems (e.g., something as simple as incorporating student-selected pronouns for college communications may require significant process and systems rework.) 

At the same time, the turbulence caused by the pandemic can represent a shared traumatic event causing unprecedented workplace stressors, exacerbating the exit of individuals from education altogether. This contributes to disruption and workload challenges to staff on whom we rely for the positive experience of our students. For educational leaders,  that equates to managing staff burnout risk and to an urgent priority of supporting staff motivation, empowerment, and satisfaction. There are institution-specific factors to consider in developing a plan to support staff in building resilience, developing coping strategies, and post-traumatic growth (Finstad et al., 2021) to help mitigate burn out and improve workload management, etc. 

This workshop summarizes select concepts from the fields of counseling and leadership as a starting point to then explore and share participants’ experiences and lessons learned at their own institutions. 


Level of participation:

Session facilitators will engage the audience extensively throughout the session, mixing short presentations with activities, polling, and discussion. Participants will engage in exercises to explore burnout management concepts as they share their experiences and lessons learned.


Session goals:

Individuals attending this education session will be able to share their institution’s lessons learned supporting the well-being of organizational members during turbulence. Participants will look at the challenges and solutions from the perspectives of the staff member, students, and faculty in their institutions.



Stacey Carrillo, Ph.D., NCC, is the Dean for Graduate Studies and faculty in the Master of Science Counseling Program at Prescott College. Stacey has utilized her counseling background working in higher education for over two decades cutting across academics, student affairs, and finance and business functions. She has significant experience working in human resources management with a focus on training and development, employee relations, and organizational change. As a program director and faculty member in online academic programs, Stacey has focused on building engaging and meaningful learning communities that enhance the student experience. Areas of research interest are professional identity development, best practices in online and blended learning formats, using technology in clinical supervision, and counselor self-care.


William Prado, D.B.A., is the Program Director of the Sustainable MBA and Sustainability Management BA programs, and Sustainable Business Professor at Prescott College. Prior to this role, Bill served as the Dean of Graduate and Online Programs at Prescott College, leading teaching and learning support. With 20 years of experience in higher education, curriculum and course design, and educational consulting, Bill has also taught courses in leadership, strategy, international business, finance and accounting. Bill has served as a consultant for publishers and universities in the development of online academic programs and courses. His research interests are in the area of ​​cross-cultural factors in organizational management and sustainable management.