One of the main recommendations from the review committee was to establish counseling services on campus in a combined health and counseling services unit. With this in mind, and following the best practices in the field of college counseling, we have begun a process to move services to a campus-based counseling model. These services will reside together in the space which is currently known as the Health Center, effective academic year 2010-11.
Last fall Student Affairs constituted a Student Counseling and Health Services Transition Advisory Committee which is advising on the changes taking place. Members of that committee are Andy Mobley, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Judy Hunter, Director of the Writing Lab, Kim Hinds-Brush, Associate Director of Residence Life and Orientation, Deanna Shorb, Dean of Religious Life, Jennifer Jacobsen, Wellness Coordinator, student representatives Chris Hildebrand '10 (Active Minds), and Mairead O'Grady '10 (SGA), and co-chairs Houston Dougharty, VP for Student Affairs, and Joyce Stern, Dean for Student Academic Support and Advising.
As we combine the two functions – health and counseling – we will have a somewhat different structure. First, coincidentally we are experiencing the retirement of our beloved Health Services Director, Karen Cochran. We have appointed Deb Shill, RN, to be our new Lead Nurse and Student Health Services Coordinator beginning July 1. Deb is currently working at the Health Center as a full-time staff nurse. Once the new structure is in place Deb will report to the new Director, and she will lead the medical services for students, maintaining the high quality of medical care for students we have had for many decades, in collaboration with local medical professionals and our community’s regional medical center. This Spring we will conduct a search for another nurse to fill the vacancy that Deb will leave in her current position.
The College will add two new full-time psychologists, and, in addition, for the first year of operation, we will contract the equivalent of one full-time counselor. Two new positions have been posted, which will be the first staff hired in this area: (a) Lead Psychologist & Director of Student Health and Counseling Services and (b) Staff Psychologist & Training Coordinator. It is our intention that a third full-time psychologist will be hired during the 2010-11 academic year to begin working summer 2011.
The search for the Lead Psychologist/Director, who will report to the Dean for Student Academic Support and Advising, is well underway. The search committee for that process includes the members of the Transition Advisory Committee (listed above) plus three additional students, Charlotte Feddersen ’12, Andrea Leiser ’11, and Jian Ming (Colin) Wee ’12.
The College seeks to maintain a strong relationship with Poweshiek County Mental Health Center. The staff there have been kept apprised of our process (and been quite helpful to our process) of moving to campus-based counseling. We intend to retain a contract with PCMHC for both psychiatric services and after-hours emergency services. Further, we are well aware that students may elect, through their insurance policies, to receive counseling services and longer-term therapy there, just as some have chosen to do with independent providers in the community. We feel fortunate to have such a diversity of services in our area to enhance the options for care for Grinnell students.
Students, faculty or staff interested in being involved in the process of transition can email Joyce Stern, Dean for Student Academic Support and Advising.