MINNEAPOLIS, June 1, 2005 – Four students in the Capella University School of Human Services earned first place in the American Counseling Association (ACA) Ethics Committee Student Case Study competition. Teams from 34 master's and 12 doctoral programs around the country participated in the contest. The winning team members are enrolled in the Capella University School of Human Services mental health counseling specialization, the first and only Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accredited online program.

Despite hundreds of miles between them and a deadline that fell near final exams, online learners Renee Kurkin (Roseville, Minn.), Renee Tucker (Piscataway, N.J.), and Cheryl Wessell (Pine Bluff, Ark.), collaborated via the Internet to complete their award-winning submission. Their case study, "A Demonstration of Ethical Decision Making," outlines the challenges mental health professionals face in making ethical decisions in situations not specifically addressed by professional codes of ethics. The learners focused on the ethical management of bartering arrangements between counselors and clients.

"Capella University is proud to have learners who are accomplished and motivated and willing to stretch themselves academically and professionally," said Janice Caron, chair of Capella's mental health counseling specialization in the School of Human Services. "The ACA Ethics Committee Case Study is one of the most prestigious competitions among counseling students and draws entries from some of the top mental health programs in the country."

Each team responded to an ethical dilemma designed for the master's or doctoral program level and presented a case study to address the issue. The ACA Ethics Committee, comprised of leading mental health professors from around the country and an ACA staff liaison, evaluated the case studies based on clear identification of an ethical dilemma faced by practicing counselors, a persuasive solution to the dilemma, and quality research and writing. The winning case study will be published in Counseling Today and is posted online at http://www.counseling.org (click Ethics Competition Results).

About Capella University Founded in 1993 to serve working adults and employers, Capella University is an online accredited* academic institution. The Capella University School of Human Services provides graduate study in eight areas of specialization, including study in a CACREP-approved mental health counseling master's degree specialization. The school's mission is to impact social change within specific professional areas of practice as well as within American social systems. To accomplish this mission, the school provides highly relevant graduate education in counselor education and contemporary areas of professional human service delivery. For more information about the School of Human Services, visit www.capella.edu/humanservices.

In addition to human services, Capella University also offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, and psychology, plus undergraduate degrees in business and information technology. The university currently serves nearly 13,000 enrolled learners from all 50 states and 55 countries. Central to Capella's approach are achievement-oriented learners, expert faculty, and a university staff that is passionate about each individual's success. Capella is a national leader in online education, committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, visit www.capella.edu or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456, www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org.