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Derek Ruiz, Ph.D., CRC, LPC (IL)

Assistant Professor

Derek Ruiz is an assistant professor in the Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Department, where he assisted in the transition from CORE to CACREP accreditation for the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling Program.

Dr. Ruiz received his bachelor's degree in psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. He then worked for the State of Texas at Austin State Supported Living Center as a psychology and psychiatry assistant. Of particular focus during this time was the psychosocial development of the clients under his care. He then pursued a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling from the Illinois Institute of Technology. During which he interned at Thresholds Chicago and Asian Human Services.

These internships focused on multiple minority populations in psychiatric recovery, substance abuse recovery, recovery from HIV, or a combination of the three. The researcher pursued his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has doctoral level experience counseling at Mendota Mental Health Hospital and Journey Mental Health and Wellness Center. 

His research interests include the psychosocial adjustment to disability, and specifically, self-efficacy, sexuality, and stigma related to disability. This has been reflected in research related to impression management and how it relates to technology. Research interests intersect with personal interests specifically regarding intimacy and sexuality for people with multiple minority statuses. He has had the privilege of working with several researchers who have studied sexuality and intimate relationships. Additionally, he has worked as a youth outreach counselor at OutReach! Austin, an LGBT youth outreach program in Austin, Texas. Finally, he has also been awarded a scholarship for a suicide education and prevention program developed and targeted at subgroups in the LGBT population.

While the learning objectives have varied across the different courses, my ultimate goal of encouraging students to be active participants, rather than passive recipients, in learning has been present across all courses. I make it a goal to promote student learning and motivation by providing clear goals, objectives, and policies as well as an emphasis on the relevance of topics and their application outside of the classroom. Helping students appreciate the relevance and possible applications of a topic can result in increased motivation for learning (Kember & McNaught, 2007). My ultimate hope is to further my teaching style in both traditional, online, and blended formats to assist student cultivation of a similar passion for learning that I have come to develop, as well as encourage the growth of intrinsic motivation that overshadows extrinsic values (McKeachie & Svinicki, 2006).

Dr. Derek Ruiz
Derek Ruiz

Curriculum Vitae