Bayla McDougal honored as Educator of the Year by MARRCH
Bayla McDougal, M.A., L.A.D.C., a member of the Minneapolis College Addiction Counseling faculty, was awarded the 2022 Educator of the Year Award by Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) at its annual conference Oct. 24–26 at Saint Paul RiverCentre.
The award has deep meaning for McDougal because it comes from her peers in the chemical dependency field and because it recognizes her outstanding contributions in the classroom, especially after navigating the online environment for nearly two years during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"There's nothing that can replace being in a classroom. The students want to be there. They're interested in the topic. To have that kind of readiness and eagerness and interest, the passion and compassion for the work—there is nothing like that," said McDougal.
"It's cool to be recognized by my field after 42 years of teaching, counseling and long-term recovery," said McDougal, who began her addiction counseling education at Minneapolis College and has been a member of the faculty since 2004.
After receiving her Chemical Dependency Professional certificate from Minneapolis College in 1984, McDougal spent 22 years in addiction counseling and program management while earning a bachelor's degree in human services from Metropolitan State University and, in 2006, a master's in human development from St. Mary's University of Minnesota.
Her transition to teaching began with a conversation with her mentor, former Minneapolis College faculty member Victoria Holbert, at the MARRCH conference in 2002. "I told her I wanted to go into teaching and she gave me the opportunity to come in and train with her," McDougal said.
"Leaving my clinical work to move into teaching the next generation of counselors has been a profoundly rewarding experience. I've taught students from age 18 to age 65, and we have so many superstars in the field who have come through our program," said McDougal. "It's been a joy. I've loved every minute of it," she said.
"We are so lucky to have Bayla McDougal at the college and in our Addiction Counseling Program," said Ann T. Deiman-Thornton, Dean of Education and Public & Human Service at Minneapolis College.
The College boasts Minnesota's oldest Addiction Counseling Program and one of the oldest in the country. More than 2,200 students have graduated from the program and many are now in leadership positions.
"We pride ourselves in experiential learning, self-care and giving back. Organizations like to take our interns because they feel they're well trained," said McDougal, who takes a group of students to the MARRCH conference every year for networking and "to meet their future."
The Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH) is a professional association of addiction treatment professionals and organizations striving to raise awareness about addiction and the power of recovery. The Educator of the Year Award recognizes individual teachers for their outstanding contributions to the field.
McDougal will retire in 2024 and has taken up painting with highly-pigmented alcohol-based inks ("inks, not drinks") as part of her self-care. Her first show, the Longfellow neighborhood's LoLa Art Crawl in September, "was so successful it blew my mind," she said. See her art on Instagram at @artbybayla.