Experienced RTS counseling administrator named professor and program director
JACKSON, Miss. — Reformed Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that Dr. Michael Hillerman has been appointed as Assistant Professor of Counseling and Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program. Dr. Hillerman recently defended his dissertation and earned his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University.
Dr. Hillerman began his new role on March 1, 2023 and will serve as a co-director of the MAC program with Dr. Elizabeth Pennock until her transition from RTS on May 31. He previously served the seminary as MAC Program Development Coordinator and as an adjunct professor of counseling at the Jackson campus.
“We are thankful to Dr. Pennock for her faithful service to RTS as a professor and, since Dr. Jim Hurley’s retirement, as MAC program director,” said Chancellor Ligon Duncan. “I can’t think of a more capable administrator to lead the MAC program forward than Mike Hillerman. Mike is a first-rate addition to RTS Jackson’s residential faculty and will make an excellent program director. I congratulate him on these academic milestones!”
Dr. Hillerman’s doctoral degree is in counselor education and supervision with an emphasis in clinical mental health counseling and a focus area in theology. He also holds an MAMFTC degree from RTS and a B.S. from the University of West Florida.
For his thesis, Dr. Hillerman researched the neurological impact of childhood maltreatment and its effects on adult counseling outcomes. The study examined adult men and women seeking mental health services at the RTS counseling center in Jackson and used the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) score to measure childhood maltreatment. Results of the study suggested that individuals with higher ACE scores have an increased risk of dropping out of mental health counseling, but those with severe ACE scores who can continue with treatment achieve comparable results to those who reported ACE scores of zero.
Dr. Hillerman was instrumental in the effort to merge the seminary’s two professional counseling programs—the MAMFTC at RTS Jackson and MAC in Orlando—by unifying curriculum and transitioning the MAMFTC into the MAC program. In 2017, RTS began to pursue accreditation for the program through the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Dr. Hillerman’s involvement in the process was key to ultimately obtaining CACREP accreditation in 2022.
“Dr. Hillerman has been faithfully and capably serving RTS Jackson for some time now within the MAC program,” said Dr. Guy Waters, Academic Dean. “I am very grateful for the solidification and expansion of his ministry at RTS, now that he has been appointed Assistant Professor of Counseling and been named the MAC program director.”
As a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Qualified Supervisor in the state of Mississippi, Dr. Hillerman continues to maintain a part-time private counseling practice.