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Counseling and Student Affairs Staff

Dr. Cynthia Mason

Dr. Cynthia Mason
- Professor, Certification and Rank Coordinator

Cynthia Palmer Mason is a Professor in the Department of Counseling and Student Affairs at Western Kentucky University.  She earned her BS Degree in Business Education at Kentucky State University, MA Degree in Counselor Education at Western Kentucky University, EdS Degree in Counselor Education at Western Kentucky University, and EdD Degree in Educational Administration and Instruction at the University of Kentucky (Lexington).


She started her professional career in the Hopkins County School System at Madisonville North Hopkins High School.  Her positions in the school system included classroom teacher, secondary school counselor, Counseling Department Chair, Advanced Placement Coordinator, and College Board Representative.  Perhaps her most significant contribution to the school and the community was made possible by the approval of a grant for minority and low-income students that was written by her and her superintendent.  This was the result of a conversation she had with him about her concern for students who did not have everything they needed for their classes and could not participate in the clubs and organizations of their choice.  The only qualification for participation was for students to be eligible for free lunch.  For those students, money from this grant covered course fees, books, supplies, tutoring services, dues for organization memberships, and any school related travel.  In addition to attendance at cultural events, each school year ended with a semi-formal dinner for the students and their parents/guardians.  This grant was being funded when she left the school system in 1993.  She thoroughly enjoyed her work in the Hopkins County School System where she had the opportunity to encourage many students to attend college who were the first from their families to do so.


After receiving her doctoral degree from the University of Kentucky, she accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Auburn University (Alabama) in 1996.  She was recruited to Western Kentucky University as an Assistant Professor in 1997 and received early promotion to Associate Professor in 2002.  Since being on the faculty at Western Kentucky University, she has been actively involved at the department, college, and university level.  She was the School Counseling Program Coordinator for seven years, an Alternate Senator for the department for one year, Senator for the department for two years, and Senator-at-Large for the college for one year.  She has been a member of several Search Committees and has chaired three of the last four in her department.  In addition, she received a 2-year appointment to the University Faculty Appeals Committee for Continuance, Tenure, and Promotion and this appointment was extended for her and her committee to a third year.  She served as a consultant to Parker-Bennett School for several years with the goal of increasing the involvement of parents in the school.  Other highlights of her work in higher education have been the two 3-year appointments from the Governor to the Program Review Committee of the Education Professional Standards Board.  The members on this committee reviewed and made final decisions about approval for all new or revised programs in the Colleges of Education in Kentucky.  Individuals on the Program Review Committee were also invited to be members of NCATE teams that evaluated the colleges and universities in Kentucky.


Dr. Mason’s research interests include the implementation of comprehensive, developmental school counseling programs; the essence of choice theory, reality therapy, and lead management principles in schools; and efforts to decrease the academic achievement gap in P-12 schools.  She has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals and contributed to book reviews and chapters in various books.  Also, she has presented with colleagues or alone at the local, state, national, and international levels including local schools, Western Kentucky University, KCA, KSCA, ACES, the William Glasser Institute’s National Conference, and the Institute for the Study of the African American Child’s National Conference (ISAAC). 


She is delighted to be a member of the faculty at Western Kentucky University and has been recognized for her performance in teaching, research, and service by being named a Distinguished Member of WKU’s Faculty and Staff in 2009; a “Hats Off to Women Honoree” in 2013; and the recipient of the NAACP’s Ambassador of Education Award in 2015.

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 Last Modified 9/11/18