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Michael D. Eisner College of Education

College of Education

Personnel Directory

Merril Simon

Merril  Simon
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
Office:ED 2222
Phone:818 677 2558



Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, Specializations in Career Counseling and College Student Development, University of Southern California, 1990; M.S., Counseling, University of Southern California, 1988; Post Master's Certificate, Career Counseling and Development California State University, Northridge, 1986; M.A., Education, California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1986; B.S., Dental Hygiene, University of Southern California, 1981.

Licensure and Credentials

Nationally Certified Career Counselor; Nationally Certified Counselor; California Registered Professional Career Counselor.

Teaching Interests

College student development; career indecision and career development of adults in general; professional development of new counselors; revision of the graduate course in mid-career counseling (EPC 660) to include grant development skills; First-Year Experience course.

Research Interests

Career indecision of college students and other adults; persistence/retention of community college students; attributes of successful student affairs professionals; first-year and transfer-year college student adaptation to university education and experiences; creation of portfolios for graduate counselors; professional ethics of college and career counselors.

EPC Handbook


Click each research item to view details on it.

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A Longitudinal Examination of the Impact of Mattering on College Students’ Success, Retention, and Involvement


The psycho-social construct of mattering (vs. marginality) is often cited as making a difference in college student success as evidenced in increased persistence, retention, and improved grades (Goodman, Schlossberg, & Anderson, 2006; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). In this context, mattering may be defined as 'making a difference to others in one's environment. However, until our recent work (Tovar, Simon, & Lee, 2009), the construct of mattering has not been reliably measured with college students other than in returning (i.e., older), non-diverse college student populations (Schlossberg, La Salle & Golec, 1991) with a psychometrically sound instrument. We have successsfully validitated the assessment tool (Tovar, Simon, & Lee, 2009) and now are engaged in the use of this tool as a potential indicator for student success using the previous sample of students (in 2007, as CSUN freshmen and sophomores) and will be looking at their retention, persistence, and involvement over time.

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Tovar, E. & Simon, M. A. (2010). Factorial Structure and Invariance Analysis of the Sense of Belonging Scales. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 43, 199-217.


This research article was awarded The 2010 Patricia B. Elmore Award for Outstanding Research in Measurement and Evaluation. Association for Assessment in Counseling and Education/Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development. The award was given as the article was "deemed to have made the greatest contribution to the professional literature."

Using a diverse sample of university students, this article describes outcomes of a confirmatory factor analysis and a group invariance analysis conducted to validate the factorial structure of the Sense of Belonging Scales. Accordingly, a modified factor structure departing significantly from that of the original authors is proposed.

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Simon, M. A., Amirian, S., DeCaussin, J., & Lam, J. (2013, Nov. 8). Understanding career indecision and how to “unstick” undecided students and clients. Invited professional conference presentation for professional career counseling practitioners within the California Career Development Association, Torrance, CA.


Have your career clients shared that they are still stuck or undecided – even after your work together?  This workshop will help you understand how different types of career indecision require different kinds of interventions.  This presentation will lead to better supporting career clients, especially those impacted by CA SB 1456.

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