• Ph.D. 2000 – University of Virginia, Counselor Education
  • M.A. 1994 – Morehead State University, Higher Education
  • B.S. 1993 – Vanderbilt University, Human and Organizational Development/Secondary Education

Areas of Expertise

  • Transitions
  • Career Development
  • Thriving and Well-Being
  • Strengths-Based School Counseling
  • Early Adolescents and Emerging Adults
  • Higher Education


Dr. Akos’ professional experiences as a teacher, school and college counselor inform his work as a Professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In his work with early adolescents and emerging adults, he discovered the power of awareness and agency toward strengths and well-being (e.g., positive emotion, relationships, engagement, meaning). Especially in vulnerable moments of transition – students and clients need hope – both goals and pathways to success. Caring, research informed, and self-aware professionals can co-construct and empower others toward flourishing.

He is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Supervisor, as well as a licensed secondary and middle grades teacher and K-12 school counselor in North Carolina. He was also recognized as the American School Counselor Association’s Counselor Educator of the Year.

Overall, he strives to lead, teach, counsel and serve others consistent with a strengths orientation.


Patrick Akos seek to understand how best to help others thrive. His primary focus has been on navigating transitions across the lifespan. School, college and career transitions depend on strengths, meaning making, agency, opportunity structures, as well as development and stage-environment fit in multiple contexts. He utilizes a strengths framework (Galassi & Akos, 2007) for inquiry and practice, which is based in humanistic traditions and is empirically supported by contemporary scholarship (e.g., positive psychology).