The Center for the Study of Narrative (CSN) of Mercer University was founded in January 2014 by Dr. Don Redmond and the generous support of the Georgia Compassion Project, counseling and other Penfield faculty, Dean Pricilla Danheiser, Provost Scott Davis, President William Underwood, and the Mercer Board of Trustees.
The faculty and student collaborators of the Center use principles of narrative theory and therapy to seek out and learn from stories from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, while also using this knowledge to improve ways to help others. Our first narrative interview took place on January 9, 2014 at King’s Bridge retirement community in Atlanta. CSN is inspired by the work of Erik and Joan Erikson, the developmental and wellness model of the field of counseling, and the positive psychology movement led by Martin Seligman among others. Further, CSN is also indebted to the examples of the following individuals for providing the inspiration to pursue an interdisciplinary academic model for research and outreach; Michael White and David Epson and the Dulwich Centre in Adelaide, Australia; Molly Andrews and her collaborators in East London at the Centre for Narrative Research; Dan McAdams at the Foley Center for the Study of Lives at Northwestern University, Chicago, USA; and particularly William Randall at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Narrative at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada.
CSN targets several areas of Mercer's ‘Inspire’ strategic plan and the imperatives of (1): “Being an Intimate and Diverse Community of Gifted Scholars Committed to Changing the World”; (2) “Being a Place of Discovery and Innovation” ; (3) “Being a Global University”; (4) “Being Relevant”; and (5) Achieving Meaningful Outcomes”.
Within these Strategic Initiative Imperatives, CSN in particular adds to the Mercer University efforts to
- “Explore ways to more directly engage staff in activities that are changing the lives of our students and faculty.”
- “Meet the criteria for further Carnegie Reclassification as a Doctoral / Research University – Higher Research Activity (R2).
- “Develop a wider array of relationships with institutions of higher learning throughout the world.”
- Helping to promote the belief “…that all members of the University Community have the broadest possible latitude to think, to listen, and to express themselves.”
Meet our 2018-2019 Student Fellows and Narrative Interviewers
Toni F. Monroe
Toni Monroe BS, IC&RC, LCDC II, NCAC II, has worked with families and individuals struggling with addiction for the last 25 years. For the last eight years, she has worked with a gender specific program focused on gay men, bisexuals and transgender individuals as senior counselor. While there she helped develop the outpatient program and taught other professionals how to empower LGBT individuals to meet the challenge of addiction. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Mercer University and has served as a Digital Storytelling specialist and narrative interviewer with CSN since beginning her Master’s Program in 2015.
Jonathan D. Brown
Jonathan "JB" D. Brown is a third year PhD student in Counselor Education and Supervision in Penfield College of Mercer University. JB returns to the Narrative Center in hopes to continue aiding in the progression of the center and the field, by finding and utilizing resources that will benefit interviewers and interviewees. His professional work revolves around adolescent and young adults in various inpatient and outpatient settings, and rehabilitation counseling. His work, time in his Masters program, and personal life have reinforced his notion that no matter what path we are on in life, we all share some common factor. He has always enjoyed storytelling, and believes that wisdom and insight can be gleaned from anyone's story, they just need the opportunity to tell it and someone to listen.
Marlon C. Williams is currently pursuing a doctorate in Counseling Education and Supervision with a cognate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. A writer since the age of 14, his love of crafting poetic works taught him firsthand the healing power of “storytelling.” Marlon’s experiences as a standout collegiate athlete at Georgia Tech and life thereafter, fuel his passion for assisting athletes (and people in general) with improving their lives with Narrative Therapy.
Kimberly M. Griffin
Kimberly Griffin is a final year Ph.D. student at Mercer University majoring in Counselor Education and Supervision. Kimberly is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor (LAPC) with a primary treatment focus on the integration of faith and psychotherapy throughout the treatment process. She has done extensive work as a case manager working with homeless families to strengthen family dynamics and increase career stability and self-sufficiency. Additionally, Kimberly has a certification in Organizational Development to better understand organizational culture and employee satisfaction as it relates to self-efficacy and stress/anxiety. Kimberly’s goals include growing her private professional counseling practice and working as a consultant to help companies offer employees personal insight to achieve ideal work experiences.