The counseling services on campus are integral for students. Photo: Sabrina Micallef

Queens College Still Searching for a Director of Counseling, Health and Wellness

3 mins read

During the academic year, students often struggle to keep up with everything all at once. For this reason, it is important to have counseling centers at universities to address students’ needs.

Having a place where students can talk about their emotions in a safe environment is crucial, but with that comes the need for someone who is in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly within the counseling department itself.

At Queens College, there has been no Director of the Counseling Center since 2019. The mission of the director is “to oversee wellness services and supervise the leadership of counseling, special services and health services,” according to Jennifer Jarvis, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

If there is no director, then one could say that the counseling center is understaffed. Directly, student mental health is impacted, because the person in charge of ensuring smooth operation at the Counseling Center is missing.

However, in October, Dr. Irene Yu Yan Cheng was hired as an associate director of the department. The role of the associate director is “responsible for the day to day supervision of the counseling center staff and mental health services offered to students,” Jarvis said.

The director’s position, on the other hand, provides a more global view, which could perhaps lead to more initiatives in student’s mental health, for example. It also would allow for a stronger presence of the department on campus.

Before the hiring of Dr. Cheng, there was simply no official leadership at the Counseling Center spanning from 2019 to October 2023. How did Queens College handle the situation?

“The college received stimulus funding which allowed the Counseling Center to hire five part-time personnel. This additional staff along with interns supervised by full-time staff effectively addressed students’ needs as we managed the associate director hiring process.” Jarvis said.

Without any leadership, the counselors had to manage multiple roles and responsibilities to provide training to the interns, which can take a lot of time. They had a lot on their plate.

Moreover, Queens College’s administration wants to recruit a director to make the center a better place to support students.

“The associate director position was reintroduced to the center as a resource to support staff and students in preparation of a plan to offer expanded services,” Jarvis said. “The goal is to hire a director of Counseling, Health and Wellness to oversee, evaluate and expand wellness services.”

Queens College is going in the right direction to provide more services to students to ensure that students’ needs are met as they pursue their academics.

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