Department Chair & Professor
Westlake Hall 345
Dr. Christopher Rybak is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Leadership in Education, Human Services, & Counseling. Dr. Rybak received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology/Counselor Education and M.S. in Education/Educational Psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and B.A. in Sociology from Illinois State University. Dr. Rybak is a National Certified Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Illinois.
Professor Rybak has served as Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Development since 2004 and teaches in the Human Development Counseling Graduate program. His courses include Group Counseling and Counseling Diverse Populations. In 2009 Dr. Rybak received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to research indigenous healing practices in Nepal while developing a graduate program in counseling. During this period, he also participated in an Indian national psychology conference and offered workshops on group counseling to psychology graduate students at Fergusson College in Pune, India. His research interests center on the holistic approaches of Eastern and Native American psychologies as well as group counseling.
Dr. Rybak also received a Fulbright Award in 2002 to research indigenous healing methods in India. While there, he also gave presentations on group counseling, strength-based assessments, mind-body integration, and other topics to faculty and graduate students at several Indian institutions of higher education. Since joining the department in 1993, Dr. Rybak has explored aspects of diversity, both locally and globally, and has presented papers at international conferences in India, Thailand, Nepal, China, Spain, and Australia. Locally, he has collaborated with Native Americans to explore common themes of healing in Native American practices and counseling, and offered support groups. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors of the Seven Circles Heritage Center, Edwards, IL that seeks to preserve and restore indigenous culture and to improve cross-cultural understanding and respect. Dr. Rybak has served on the editorial board of The Journal for Specialists in Group Work since 1998 and co-authored the 2004 textbook Group Leadership: Interpersonal Process in Group Counseling and Psychotherapy. Based on research with Native Americans, Dr. Rybak co-authored a recently published article entitled “Understanding Native American Healing Practices”. Dr. Rybak has recently become the President of the Illinois Association for Specialists in Group Work.