May 11, 2010

Benshoff heads Rehabilitation Institute

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- John J. Benshoff was named director of the Rehabilitation Institute in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Education and Human Services effective March 1. He had acted as interim director since 2006, replacing James E. Bordieri, who took an administrative position in the college.

“John Benshoff is a distinguished researcher who has been an outstanding interim director of the Rehabilitation Institute for the last several years,” Dean Kenneth Teitelbaum said. “That the Institute continues to be recognized as among the strongest of its kind in the country -- for its stellar academic programs, its rigorous scholarship, and its significant outreach -- is due in no small measure to John’s leadership. I know the Institute faculty, staff and students could not be in better hands as John assumes the role of permanent director.”

SIUC’s nationally ranked institute houses seven traditional academic programs, two online programs, six service programs and five journals. It also oversees four non-traditional, off-campus programs, largely in Chicago and environs, and provides continuing education to a six-state region.

The staff includes some 50 full-time employees and roughly 90 graduate assistants. Clients come from throughout the region and include young adults with disabilities, children and families affected by autism, abuse and neglect, people with speech, language and hearing problems, and those recently released from prison.

“Each of our academic units has established a goal of seeking and maintaining national prominence,” Benshoff said. “Rehabilitation Counseling is ranked sixth by U.S. News & World Report; Communication Disorders and Sciences is 72nd, making us the only department home to two Top 100 Programs on campus. We are particularly interested in growing and strengthening the CDS program.”

The institute currently is accredited by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the Association for Behavior Analysis, the Council on Rehabilitation Education, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association.

“We want to continue to maintain that accreditation while launching our online rehabilitation administration master’s program and beginning another off-campus master’s program in behavior analysis and therapy,” Benshoff said. “We also aim to increase our involvement in the college’s gerontology certificate program.”

In fiscal year 2009, institute grants and contracts totaled more than $4 million. “We have an ongoing goal of expanding external funding each year and are currently at about $4.5 million,” Benshoff noted.

Benshoff came to SIUC in 1988 as an assistant professor. Four years later, he was promoted to associate professor and became director of studies in substance abuse counseling, a part of the institute’s rehabilitation counselor training program. He added coordination of the training program to his portfolio in 1999 and received promotion that same year to full professor.

Previous administrative experience includes stints as executive director at both The Open Door of Indiana (a Pennsylvania alcohol and drug treatment center) and the INTERCEPT Program at Del Puerto Hospital in California as well as a year as chief of clinical services at Westchester Arc, a New York agency serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Benshoff currently serves as a commissioner with the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, as an editorial board member on the “Journal of Teaching in the Addictions,” as a commenter for the “Journal of Rehabilitation Administration” and as a peer reviewer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He is a charter fellow of the American College of Addiction Treatment Administrators.

Benshoff’s professional memberships include the National Council on Rehabilitation Education and the National Rehabilitation Association, from which he received the E.B. Whitten Silver Medallion Award for notable leadership in overcoming discrimination against persons with disabilities. The association also named him a Switzer Scholar, recognizing him for outstanding leadership, expertise and achievement.

Benshoff is a two-degree graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, earning his bachelor’s and master’s in 1967 and 1968 respectively. He received his doctorate in 1987 from the University of Northern Colorado.