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EVMS alumna to lead Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program

Story Date: Tue, 14 May 2013 10:54:00 EDT

The EVMS Graduate Art Therapy and Counseling Program will have a new Director for the upcoming academic year.

Abby Calisch, PsyD, is leaving the position this summer, after five years of leadership and will be succeeded on June 17 by Mary Roberts, MS, a board-certified registered art therapist and licensed professional counselor. Ms. Roberts earned a Master’s of Science in Art Therapy from EVMS in 1997 and has served as community faculty for the program since spring 2012.

“Abby has introduced curriculum reforms and increased enrollment during a successful five-year tenure leading the program,” says C. Donald Combs, PhD, Vice President Dean of the EVMS School of Health Professions, which includes the art therapy program. “I’m looking forward to Mary continuing to build our enrollment and further developing the curriculum to include distance learning, as well as other educational technologies.”

Dr. Calisch oversaw a number of significant changes during her tenure as program director. Enrollment grew by 33 percent, and the program evolved to include counselor training. Securing studio space in Lewis Hall stands as the first time the program has had permanent, dedicated space for art making on campus. Dr. Calisch added a faculty position to the program and led the expansion of student-recruitment and awareness efforts, including teaching an “Introduction to Art Therapy” class at Old Dominion University and focusing on building a diverse student body.

In addition to her degree from EVMS, Ms. Roberts holds a Bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and an education specialist degree from the University of Virginia. She currently is a doctoral candidate at Old Dominion University, where she is focusing on counselor education.

“I have enjoyed building a good reputation for art therapy throughout my career with the strong foundation provided to me while a student at EVMS,” Ms. Roberts says. “This is a highly respected program because we, the skilled faculty, care about the success of our students to become clinically sound ethical professionals. It is an honor to become the leader of such an esteemed group of faculty and students and an honor to be a part of the EVMS community.”

Ms. Roberts brings 17 years of experience in art therapy and education, serving for the last seven years as an art therapist at the Chesapeake Juvenile Services Center. She is Vice President of the Virginia Art Therapy Association.