Professor Yanhong Liu Receives ACES Grant Award for Transformational Leadership Research

Yanhong Liu, Associate Professor of Counseling and Counselor Education in the Syracuse University School of Education, has been awarded a 2023 Research Grant Award from the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES). Liu’s study is titled “School Counselors’ Attachment, Coping, Work-Family Enrichment, and Transformational Leadership: A Developmental Lens.”

Yanhong LiuThe 2023 ACES Grant Award funds studies aimed at increasing understanding of counselor professional development by focusing on teaching, supervision, professional identity, and leadership. The 2023 Grant Award Committee specifically focused on proposals that support diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism within counselor education and supervision.

Liu’s research team includes co-Principal Investigator Derron Hilts G’22, Assistant Professor at Niagara University and a graduate of SOE’s doctoral program in Counseling and Counselor Education, and Si (Meredith) Gao, a current doctoral student in the program.

This research project, explains Liu, defines transformational leadership as behaviors aimed at encouraging others to enact leadership, challenge the status quo, and actively pursue learning and development to achieve higher performance. She observes that school counselor leadership was imperative during the coronavirus pandemic, given the worsened gaps and disparities between and among student groups, and especially among marginalized groups.

Liu’s research will use a dynamic experiences-grounded model—which looks at leader developmental experiences that occur before and beyond the workplace—to investigate the influence of school counselors’ childhood- and early-to-late adulthood on their transformational leadership practices.

“Specifically, we test a path model for the effects of school counselors’ childhood attachment with primary caregivers on their coping, work-family enrichment, and transformational leadership practices,” explains Liu. “With the path model, we also examine potential mediating effects of the adulthood factors—i.e., coping or work-family enrichment—and the relationship between childhood attachment and current transformational leadership practices.”