SCSU Strategic Planning & Reporting
1999 - 2000
Student Life & Development

DEPARTMENT: Counseling and Related Services
DIRECTOR: Robert Bayne
PHONE NUMBER: (320) 255-3171

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Counseling and Related Services (CRS) is an academic department within the division of Student Life and Development. This unit contains two defined centers, the Counseling Center and the Academic Learning Center, which deliver a range of counseling and academic support programs and services to enrolled SCSU students.

The Director of Counseling and Student Health Services supervises this department which is staffed by seven faculty members (FTE=6.75), two graduate assistants, one clerk-typist III, and approximately fifteen student employees. Additionally, graduate trainees are selected each year to complete a nine-month internship for credit.

Both centers are located in Stewart Hall, an academic building, and occupy a suite of rooms on the first floor. Facilities for this unit are exceptional having been designed for their present function.

MISSION, GOALS, AND VISION:

The mission of this unit is to assist students in defining and accomplishing their personal and academic objectives in a manner that supports institutional retention goals and higher graduation rates. To accomplish this mission, the goals of this unit are as follows:

  • To provide high quality counseling to students who may be experiencing personal, educational, or career concerns which reduce their academic and personal effectiveness.
  • To provide quality programs and services in reading processes, critical thinking, and study strategies, as well as the assessment of study behaviors, reading skills and learning styles.
  • To provide consultation services to students, staff, and faculty with the goal of promoting the intellectual and emotional growth of both graduate and undergraduate students at this university.
  • To provide a range of services which promote student retention.
  • To support research and evaluation activities to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of services being offered.
  • To support the training and clinical development of new professionals by providing high quality internship appointments.
  • To provide a quality program of tutorial services in support of the Division of General Studies and other under-served populations.

Our vision is to accomplish these goals in a manner which respects individual differences, applies the ethical standards of our profession, and recognizes our advocacy role in promoting a positive mental health environment.

OPERATING PRINCIPLES (Values):

  • To provide the highest quality services possible to our constituents.
  • To respect differences and work towards greater diversity and inclusiveness.
  • To demonstrate civility in all discourse.
  • To responsibly use fiscal and human resources to serve students in fulfilling the goal of Student Life and Development and the University Mission.

STRENGTHS:

  • Counseling and Related Services is the only agency within the MnSCU system accredited by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS). Additionally, the College Reading and Learning Association has certified our tutorial program with an Advanced Level II rating.
  • The students, staff, and faculty we serve benefit from a highly trained and dedicated professional staff. Tenured faculty have all achieved the doctorate, and tenured counseling faculty are all licensed psychologists in the State of Minnesota.
  • This department has an excellent physical plant which includes a "Smart Classroom" for the delivery of reading and study skills instruction. The ALC has the most technologically advanced learning laboratory in the upper Midwest.
  • This unit systematically surveys student users in both the CC and the ALC. Evaluations consistently reflect a high level of professional performance.
  • Faculty in CRS have been central to the design, delivery, and evaluation of the Division of General Studies. This program has been instrumental in providing educational opportunity and maintaining a stable enrollment.

WEAKNESSES:

  • Our current ratio of counselors to students is approximately 1:3000 and this exceeds the professional standard recommended by IACS. While this unit currently has a fixed term counselor of color, this position needs to be recruited in 1999, as a tenure track position. Additional needs include: a staff person with formal training in disability diagnoses, a technical support position for the two computer labs, and staff to upgrade and deliver career and educational counseling in a more systematic manner.
  • This unit suffers from an inability to keep our computer laboratories operational. This has become a major problem in CRS and has resulted in the cancellation and/or modification of curriculum. The need for PC platform computers for all CC professionals is a continuing problem.
  • The CC and the ALC offer limited services during the summer. Referrals, crisis intervention, and single session services typify this period. If the university plans to expand summer and evening offerings, which better serve students, then counseling and academic support staff should be hired for this purpose.
  • A departmental weakness lies in attempting to meet student needs for preventive (proactive) mental health programs. The design, delivery and evaluation of outreach activities are limited by our need to focus services on crisis intervention (reactive) services. This is particularly true for underserved populations like "students older than the average" and those students who reside off campus.

OPPORTUNITIES:

It is anticipated that two retirements, Dr. Robert Bayne and Dr. William Bates, will occur by July of 2002. This situation offers CRS a unique opportunity to explore alternative organizational structures, emerging unit relationships, and identify more efficient staffing patterns. The 1996 merging of responsibility for student health services and counseling into one position was a reactive decision based on potential cost savings. It seems reasonable to assert that replacing the Director of Counseling and Student Health Services should involve a more wide ranging exploration of viable options.

CRS staff believes that this unit should have a more collaborative relationship with career services, advising, student disability services, campus drug and alcohol programs and a newly developed center for assessment and testing. Ideally, this would occur in a centralized facility with integrated outreach, support staff, and programming. A possible trade-off lies in the extension of student services to potential enrollees. This would benefit recruiting activities in the SCSU service area.

An analysis of relationships between campus units with an academic support mission (i.e. the Academic Learning Center, the Write Place, Math Skills Center, Minority Academic Support Center and Student Disability Services) could result in a more effective and integrated system for delivering these services.

THREATS:

There is a tendency, with some support, to view external decision-makers as a primary threat to organizational growth and vitality. This threat most often appears in the form of funding decisions. An analysis of position allocations over the last five years would support a consistent pattern of reduced funding in this unit for those services, which directly serve the expressed needs of students. This has the effect of driving services into the reactive domain and reduces our ability to move in proactive directions.

An additional threat lies in a pervasive "one-time funding mentality" which permeates the MnSCU system. While CRS has been moderately successful in supplementing our operational budget, each year we begin from a historical base that may be over ten years old. The threat occurs when budgets are under funded and an across the board take back is proposed.

Unfunded services, which are mandated through state, federal, and system initiatives, are always a potential threat. In recent years, the state legislature has toyed with the provision of required career counseling (or some version there of), and the expansion of ADA activities on the state level.

A threat to our initiatives in the area of technology lies in the need to maintain our current position of regional leadership (emerging software, upgrades for our "Smart Classroom," and hardware). A predictable funding base, electronic security systems and a realistic equipment replacement schedule is essential.

EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT:

A significant factor operating in our external environment is the mental health profile of incoming students. National research supports a perceived increase in the numbers of students attending colleges and universities with higher level mental health issues. We also project an increase in the number of students with learning disabilities. Both of these groups place an extraordinary burden on CC and ALC resources.

The national movements to managed health care and the rise in HMOs have limited our referral resources. Concerns regarding cost containment, credentialing, and access to mental health providers is at a critical level in both the state and the nation.

TRENDS IN THE FIELD:

The following trends are taken from the University of Maryland Counseling Center Director's DataBase for 1997-1998. A copy of this document is on file in the CC Director's Office.

  • The abuse of alcohol and other chemicals is becoming a more pervasive issue for counseling center staffs. This becomes problematic in that evaluation and treatment costs are prohibitive. Most institutions seem to respond with a range of low cost programs aimed at education, intervention, and referral.
  • While there are clearly some methodological problems with research on the increase in campus violence (absence of long-term data and a historical climate that encouraged under-reporting), most counseling centers report an increase in the need for and delivery of services to victims of sexual and physical violence.
  • The percentage of enrolled students taking psychotropic medication is reported at a range of 0 to 37% (University of Maryland DataBase). This seems to be a national trend and may be a center research topic. The implications for this unit are significant and support the need for psychiatric consultation.
  • An increasing reliance on computer based technology and distance education is the principle trend in the delivery of reading and study skills instruction. Educational technology offers an extensive range of diagnostic and skill development programs, which support both student success and retention.
  • Efforts, which align personal counseling and career services (Moorhead State, Mankato State, and Bemidji State), may reflect the value of program integration rather than cost containment. Counseling services, which are merged, with student health services tend to have more of a psychotherapeutic than developmental orientation.
  • Assessment activities in higher education have received increasing attention. MnSCU has also identified this area as a statewide initiative and funds have been allocated to advance this agenda. The ALC staff anticipates performance-based assessment with pre and post testing and the development of test-out policies to demonstrate academic accountability.

University Themes

Academic Distinction

Academic distinction goes to the heart of the University's aspirations and springs from its heritage of excellence. Student Life and Development will, through its programs, services and cooperative ventures with faculty, compliment the academic mission of the university. In addition, SLD will provide students with distinctive opportunities to develop cultural sensitivity; leadership, social and career oriented skills necessary for future success.

Ongoing Initiatives:

The following initiatives will advance the academic distinction of this university and will continue through the 1998-1999 academic year.

  • Counseling and Related Services will maintain its accreditation through the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).
  • The Academic Learning Center will maintain its Advanced Level II Certification of our Tutor Program through the College Reading and Learning Association.
  • Staff in CRS will continue their active participation in state and national professional development activities. This would include involvement as participants and presenters.
  • The Counseling Center will continue to offer high quality graduate level internships to selected students.

New Initiatives - 1998-1999:

  • The Director will seek Senior Visitor status with the International Association of Counseling Services.
  • ALC professional staff will explore the writing of a scholarly text on the delivery of reading and study skills in higher education.
  • Counseling Center staff will research appropriate models for the delivery of services to students with learning disabilities. We anticipate supporting a sabbatical in 2000 to accomplish this goal.
  • As resources permit, the Counseling Center will expand the provision of computer-assisted career and educational planning resources to the campus community. This will include a systematic analysis of existing software/hardware configurations. This activity is a portion of the sabbatical that has been awarded to Dr. Pfleger.
  • Research and training on mediation, arbitration and methods for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) will be implemented as a portion of the sabbatical awarded to Dr. Bayne. This research will be presented at both state and national conferences.

Future Initiatives - 1999-2002:

  • This unit will explore cooperative ventures with academic departments, which will infuse career decision-making skills into the curriculum.
  • This unit will develop a screening process, which will assist those students, who are diagnosed as learning disabled in developing a viable plan for post- secondary learning.
  • This unit will explore the need, and implement when appropriate, training activities focused on mediation and the resolution of conflict.

A Service Community:

A service community will lead to a more respectful and a more secure campus environment for everyone. Student Life and Development will put students first in everything that we do. Guided by periodic assessment, we will provide the highest quality student services possible, cognizant of the diverse needs of our students. Further, SLD will model and advance the values of civility and service to others in an effort to develop a safer and more effective living-learning community.

Ongoing Initiatives:

The following initiates can be viewed as "bread and butter" programs and will continue through the 1998-1999 academic year.

  • We continue to offer high quality instruction and counseling.
  • We will continue to maintain our accreditation and certification activities.
  • The systematic evaluation of ALC and CC services by student users will continue.
  • Group based support programs for test anxiety, non-traditional students, grief, self-esteem, and other appropriate topics will continue to be offered.
  • Coordinated programming with career services, student health services, residential life and other academic and service units will continue. This would include targeted services for students' undecided about their major.
  • The ALC continues to coordinate services with the ESL and Intensive English program, and collaboration with the Math Skills Center, Write Place and the Division of General Studies is ongoing.

New Initiatives -- 1998 -1999:

  • Focused outreach to non-trad students and students of color
  • Evaluation and upgrading of the ALC Computer Laboratory
  • Extended hours (Tuesday - Thursday) for non-traditional students
  • Computer assisted career and educational planning through the curriculum
  • Development of a CC student database using computer technology. This would include the expansion of technical training for professional staff members.
  • Development of a short-term (Three Years) Strategic Plan.

Future Initiatives - 1999-2002:

  • Staffing: This unit will actively pursue a staffing plan, which is responsive to student needs. As senior staff are replaced, a process that defines and demonstrates needed CC and ALC specialties will be implemented (See "Opportunities" section).
  • Organizational: This unit will develop organizational options, which seek to maximize consulting and cooperative relationships. Areas of possible organizational overlap will be addressed.
  • Programming: This unit will expand our offering of programs on mental health topics. This activity will include the recruitment and funding of guest lecturers and the staffing of topical workshops.
  • Technology: The effective use of emerging technology must be an essential element in any multi-year plan. The acquisition, maintenance, and periodic upgrading of equipment should be a planned activity. A plan that includes a reasonable level of technical support and training is self-evident.
  • Facility: The Counseling Center is located in an excellent facility, at this time. On the other hand, one can make a viable case for the centralizing of services in a renovated Centennial Hall. The Academic Learning Center could expand services to students in a larger lab and classroom facility, and be co-located with other academic support services. The natural alliance in services between career planning and career counseling would also benefit from this arrangement.

Diversity and Justice:

Diversity and justice will allow the university to better serve our rapidly changing world and foster a community of people of many backgrounds and perspectives working successfully together. Student Life and Development through staff contacts, programs and services will foster an understanding of human differences and promote a just community in which every student is free to learn and grow. Departments within SL&D will provide a supportive, civil and welcoming environment for all members of the university community. SL&D will improve staff understanding of human differences and needs as they pertain to the delivery of services.

Ongoing Initiatives:

The following initiatives describe current practice within both the Counseling and Academic Learning Centers and are responsive to the "Diversity and Justice Theme."

  • This unit will continue to recruit a diverse staff of professional, support and student employees.
  • This unit will continue to support students of color through regular meetings with organizations, which represent this part of our student body.
  • Counseling and Related Services will continue to administer a scholarship program for male victims of childhood sexual assault (Recreandae Vitae Causa).
  • The Director will continue his advisory role with the Pink Triangle Resource Center and when funds permit, provide financial support to GLBT programs.
  • The ALC and the CC will continue to assess user satisfaction with our services on a regular basis. This process will provide data on both qualitative and quantitative indicators of service in our centers.
  • Counseling and Related Services will continue our outreach efforts taking programs and structured workshops to various student groups. Our long-term association with the APP program is an example of this commitment.
  • The Counseling Center will continue its advocacy role for students who are the victims of violence and other forms of oppression.
  • The Director of this unit will continue to serve on the GLBT Advisory Board and the Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center Board.
  • This unit continues to offer specialized services and an orientation class (ORIEN 121) to incoming non-traditional students.

New Initiatives - 1998-1999:

  • The Counseling Center hired a counselor of color on a fixed term contract for this academic year. This individual has focused responsibility in the area of outreach to students of color. It is anticipated that a tenure track position with similar responsibilities will be allocated to this unit and searched for the 1999-2000 academic year.
  • An advisory council (composed of students of color from various campus groups) has met to discuss the service needs of this population.
  • Additional resources have been allocated to publicize the services of this unit to potential users.
  • Dr. Avelino Mills-Novoa, Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Applied Psychology, provides counseling to SCSU students for one afternoon each week in the center.
  • The scholarship program, which is designed to empower male victims of childhood sexual abuse, continues under the administration of this unit. Additionally, training on this topic is coordinated by the center.
  • The sabbatical for Dr. Robert Bayne will be focused on the development of conflict resolution and mediation skills with anticipated attention and programs, which are responsive to issues of civility and justice on this campus.
  • Research conducted by Ms. Theresa McNutt will be used to assess the counseling needs for SCSU students of color. Programs and services will be focused on this population.

Future Initiatives:

  • The Academic Learning Center will continue its advocacy role for high-risk students enrolled in the Division of General Studies.
  • CRS will initiate an exploration of mutually supporting services between the ALC and MASC to maximize academic support services to students of color.
  • Dr. JoAnn Gasparino plans a sabbatical for the year 2000, which will build professional expertise in the diagnosis and development of educational plans for learning disabled students.
  • This unit has discussed and agreed to implement a Speaker's Program in the near future. This will include co-sponsoring programs which seek to address the mental health needs of our students. An understanding and sensitivity to individual differences is central to this activity. Potential speakers and funding sources will be explored.
  • The sabbatical approved for Dr. Robert Bayne will have a major focus on the resolution of conflict between students. Significant training and campus presentations are imbedded in the approved proposal.

Information Technology:

Information technology is an important tool, which will assist us in meeting the challenges of the future. Student Life and Development will develop and utilize information technology ethically and appropriately to improve services and program access to students and other constituents, with the goals of enhancing academic success and learning in the context of global society.

Ongoing Initiatives:

Counseling and Related Services will continue its leadership role in the effective use of computer assisted learning. Technologically based activities in the Counseling and the Academic Learning Centers will continue to be an organizational priority. The following activities will be continued.

  • This unit will continue its support of Discover, which is a computer-based program of educational planning and career decision making.
  • This unit will continue technological initiatives begun under the Electronic Academy grant. This would include the upgrading of software to support instruction in the reading curriculum.
  • This unit will continue its efforts to infuse information technology into the database established in the Counseling Center.

New Initiatives:

  • CRS will seek to acquire PC stations for all professional staff. This will provide hardware support for individual counseling which uses the SCSU student database. This will increase the quality of educational and career assistance available.
  • The Counseling Center will expand our use of technology to extend career and educational information into the classroom and other on campus sites (Career Services and Residential Life).

Future Initiatives:

  • CRS will enhance our existing web pages to better serve the information needs of our student clients.
  • CRS will explore the delivery of self-assessment and topical information packages, which could be accessed off the internet.

University - External Relationships:

University - external relationships will be the key to many of our aspirations. Community perception of the value that the university provides determines the level of our support. As a public university, SCSU has the responsibility to be a leading force in intellectual, cultural, and economic development and contribute to the fabric of central Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.

Student Life and Development, through its programs and staff leadership, will contribute to the intellectual, cultural and economic development of the citizens of Central Minnesota. SL&D will promote and model positive involvement in the community by St. Cloud State University students and staff.

Ongoing Initiatives:

This unit has a rich tradition of service to the community and the building of relationships between SCSU and the extended community. Ongoing initiatives would include:

  • A significant and valued commitment to community service by voluntary participation in a broad range of services and programs.
  • The extension of CRS expertise into the community through training and educational presentations.

New Initiatives:

  • The Director will co-chair the faculty/staff capital campaign in the Spring of 1999. This continues a tradition of support for the University Foundation by members of this unit.
  • Professional staff within the ALC continues to develop both support and curriculum for distance learning.
  • CRS continues to maintain its active involvement in professional associations which seek to advance knowledge and use of effective mental health practices.

Future Initiatives:

  • Staff in the ALC would like to continue their exploration of a partnership with the Mille Lacs Band in extending reading and study skill expertise through technology.
  • There is a critical need to extend educational counseling to potential and former SCSU students.
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