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Supporting the Community-Based Block Program

Multicultural Counseling & Social Justice Education

The CBB Story

An early cohort graduating

Half a Century of CBB

​Founded in 1973 by Dr. Dave Malcolm and directed or co-directed with Dr. Maria Nieto Senour for 37 years, CBB was a one-year program that prepared over 800 counselors to work with individuals and communities. Graduates of the program served k-12 schools, universities and community organizations as paraprofessionals, or continued on to advanced graduate studies in other programs. Today, many serve in leadership roles throughout California and the U.S. Over the years, many alumni and community members expressed a frustration and a strong desire for CBB to prepare students for licensure. In 2014, CBB transitioned to become a two-year program that prepares students to become Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC), with the opportunity for students to simultaneously begin doctoral studies in the SDSU/Claremont Joint Doctoral Program in Education.

The Early Years

CBB was founded in 1973 by Dr. Dave Malcolm using his Partners-in-Learning Model, which was influenced by Dr. Carl Rogers’ person-centered theory of counseling. From the beginning, the program employed ethnically diverse full-time faculty. Dr. Maria Nieto Senour joined the CBB faculty during the academic year 1977-78. During those early years, CBB served approximately 240 Students with a racial mix that closely mirrored the program staff: 33% Euroamerican, 33% African American, and 33% Latinx. Truly a community-based program, CBB held classes in City Heights and Southeast San Diego, and field sites throughout San Diego. Field sites included K-12 schools, colleges universities, and community-based organizations. Dr. Maria Nieto Senour began directing the program and the CBB Counseling Clinic was housed in SDSU's North Education Building.​

An early cohort graduating
The Dede Alpert Center for Community Engagement at San Diego State University

CBB Matures

As CBB matured, the program added an additional full-time faculty member for a total of four. With a continued commitment to diversity, their racial make-up expanded to include Native Americans, Asian Americans, Middle Easterners, and other underserved groups. Dr. Dave Malcolm retired after directing the program for 19 years. In 1990, Dr. Maria Nieto Senour was elected to the San Diego Community College Board, and CBB’s focus on community college counseling and leadership intensified. During this time, Dr. Malcolm’s dream of a community clinic was realized, when Center for Community Counseling and Engagement opened in City Heights. The program began implementing a trauma-informed approach because the clinic began attracting more clients with serious mental health issues, often due to racism and intergenerational trauma. The program also began to focus on LGBT issues.

Another 250 highly diverse students matriculated in the program. Forty-to-fifty  percent of program graduates pursued additional graduate studies for school counseling or school psychology credentials, or MFT licensure preparation; while one-third pursued doctoral degrees. Many alumni serve in leadership positions, including as college presidents, deans, elected office, university faculty, or clinic directors.​


In 2014, CBB celebrated the program’s 40th anniversary, and Dr. Maria Nieto Senour retired after 37 years as program director and faculty member.

CBB Today

The academic year 2020-2021 was the 48th anniversary of the CBB Program. One of the most challenging years in recent history, the COVID-19 and racism pandemics in the U.S. and across the world saw people of color disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered, along with many other people of color; Asian Americans, Muslims, Jews, and transgender people were targets. Numerous incidents of white supremacy glared across social media, including “fragile” white women exerting their power and influence with the police to try to cause Black and other people of color to lose their jobs and safety or to get arrested or killed. In addition to serving as competent multicultural counselors in diverse, under-served communities, many current CBB students and alumni led social actions in support of social justice and advocacy.

A group of faculty

Now several years into CBB’s transition from a one-year to a two-year LPCC program, the program continues its commitment to having a diverse faculty who are creating the educational pipeline into the counseling professions for diverse learners. CBB maintains its strong commitment to multicultural community counseling, with close to 1000 one-year graduates, 100 two-year graduates, 29 current students from highly diverse backgrounds and underserved communities, and a completely ethnically diverse faculty. 


Associate professor Dr. Nola Butler-Byrd (CBB’99) has directed the program for over 10 years and has taught in the program for more than 20. As part of the CBB program’s transition in 2013, Drs. Arianne Miller and Nellie Tran were hired as tenure-track assistant professors. In 2019, Dr. Tran was promoted to associate professor. Dr. Arianne Miller will be leaving CBB at the end of 2021-22 after eight years of dedicated service to our students and the program. For close to 20 years, Dr. Juan Camarena (CBB’01) has served as a lecturer in the program and was formerly executive director of the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement. Too many to list, CBB has had the honor of working with outstanding professional counselors who have greatly benefited our students and community as part-time lecturers in the program. CBB’s Each One Teach One fellows program supports recently graduated alumni, and associate professional clinical counselors who serve as CBB teaching and practicum assistants.

CBB Cohort at Graduation

CBB Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond

Because of CBB’s ongoing commitment to the mental health and well-being of marginalized immigrants and the LGBTQIA+ community, CBB developed service and research projects, including a Transborder Crimmigration telemental health project with Casa Arcoiris in Tijuana, MX. As part of this service-learning project, CBB students served human rights activists and LGBTQIA immigrants seeking asylum at the US/Mexico border. Because of this project, when COVID-19 locked down the U.S. in March 2020, CBB was able to quickly transition the entire program to provide telemental health services for our community during this time of critical need. The student-led Transborder Crimmigration telemental health project is exemplary of the responsive work CBB students provide to the emergent needs of the community.

​The hostile cultural climate of the past many years triggered renewed civil uprisings in 2020, led by young people of color (some of the CBB alumni), which resulted in political and cultural shifts toward a more inclusive democracy. As is typical when these shifts occur, they are usually followed by white supremacist backlashes against the restorative justice that occurred. Currently, we’re dealing with a new McCarthyism of unfounded accusations of subversion and treason against diversity education and critical race theory that began with voter suppression, Trump’s Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping 13950, and the January 6, 2021 insurrection, which was led by middle- and upper-class white supremacists. The goal of this vendetta is to institutionalize a new Jim Crow era that will maintain the white supremacist power status quo and the lies that denigrate people of color and women. CBB continues to defy the lies of the new McCarthyism and maintains its long-standing use of critical theory, affective experiential multicultural education, and multiracial democratic processes to prepare culturally competent multicultural community counselors.

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