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Getting to know Dr. Janeé R. Avent Harris

I have lived in…

Rocky Mount, NC; Chapel Hill, NC; Greensboro, NC; San Antonio, TX; and back in Rocky Mount

My favorite teachers are…

My favorite teachers have been my parents. My mom taught me about resilience and my dad taught me how to be an advocate for social justice and always give back to my community.

My favorite place to eat or favorite food to eat / prepare is…


Some cultural experiences who make me who I am…

Being a counselor! Being a counselor is a commitment to constant to self-reflection, increasing awareness, and taking action to grow in your cultural competence journey.

Dr. Janeé R. Avent Harris' Biography and Background

Janeé R. Avent Harris is an Assistant Professor in Counselor Education and is a part of Department of Interdisciplinary Professions. She is a also a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (NC), Approved Clinical Supervisor, and National Certified Counselor.

Dr. Avent Harris obtained her Ph.D in Counseling and Counselor Education and her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her BS in Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Selected Publications

Wilson, A., Avent Harris, J. R., & Munsey, B. (in press). Interview experiences of counselor education faculty from underrepresented populations. Counselor Education and Supervision.

*Avent, J. R., & Wong, C. D. (in press). Today's college student, the Black Church, and counseling. Journal of College Counseling.

Avent Harris, J. R., Robertson, D.L., Jones, B., & Prado, A. (2017). Faith, race, and LGB affirmation: Experiences of counselors-in-training. Counselor Education and Supervision, 56(2), 145-158.

Robertson, D. L., & Avent, J. R. (2016). African American counselors in training and LGB affirmative counseling. Counseling & Values, 61, 223 - 238.

Purgason, L. L., Avent, J. R., Cashwell, C.S., Martin-Adkins, M., & Reese, R. (2016). Culturally relevant advising: A relational cultural framework. Journal of Counseling & Development, 94, 429 -436.

Avent, J.R. (2016). This is my story, this is my song: Musical chronology and emerging life song with African Americans in spiritual bypass. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 11, 39 - 51

Avent, J. R., & Cashwell, C. S. (2015). The Black Church: Theology, and implications for counseling African Americans. The Professional Counselor, 5, 81 - 90.

Avent, J. R., Cashwell, C. S., & Brown-Jeffy, S. (2015). African American pastors on mental health, coping, and help-seeking. Counseling & Values, 60, 32 -47.

Professional Work

How do your beliefs about diversity, social justice, and equity manifest themselves in your research, teaching, advocacy and/or service?

Diversity is at the core of everything I do. My research is centered around how to help underserved and marginalized communities get access to culturally competent services. In my teaching, it is my goal to stimulate critical thinking in students and invite them to consider a perspective different their own. My advocacy and service happens on a variety of levels, including serving on institutional and professional committees that advance justice and equality for students, faculty, and clients, and providing educational development opportunities for community members.

Share with us an example of that kind of work that you are proud of or committed to.

Recently, I hosted a Lunch and Learn for local pastors and ministry leaders to increase education and awareness related to African American mental health help-seeking behaviors. It is my mission and personal and professional passion to bridge mental health and African American churches in order to increase quality, culturally competent services for African Americans.

Whose work or research do you draw on to inform or support your work in areas of diversity, social justice, and equity?

There are so many! Recently, I have revisited the work of James Cone and liberation theology. Melissa Harris-Perry, Dr. Maya Angelou, and Kimberly Crenshaw are also very influential in my work.

Who are your collaborators in this work? Who - in the field, at ECU, and/or in the College of Education - also does diversity and equity work that you respect?

My colleagues in the Counselor Education program are awesome collaborators. It is so energizing and inspiring to be in a place that values social justice and supports each other in the different work that we are doing to enact change in our region, state, and profession. In the profession, I collaborate with many counselor educators who are committed to seeing the profession more diverse and increasing awareness around issues that impact the clients and students we serve.

How do you hope your field and society might change as a result of your work and that of others doing similar work around this issue

My hope is that stigma around mental health will decrease and access and utilization of resources will increase for everyone!