Reorganization of mental health services for students

Published: July 20th, 2009

Category: Memos

Patricia Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs
Phil Barkley, Director, Student Health Care Center

A new organization of mental health services for students is being formed which combines both the staff and faculty of the Student Mental Health Services and Counseling Center. This consolidation has begun to take place and ultimately services will be provided out of a new facility being constructed on Radio Road. This move will take place late spring 2010.

As part of this reorganization, Dr. Jackie Ayers who has served as Director of the Student Mental Health Services, has been asked to take on a new role involving the oversight of health services offered to faculty and staff through the Student Health Care Center. His area of responsibility will include the Employee Assistance Program, Occupational Medicine and Workers Compensation. His title will be Director of Employee Health Services. Dr. Ayers will be responsible for enhancing the current model for employee health services to ensure responsive, relevant and appropriate services for a campus our size. Dr. Ayers has shown great commitment to student mental health issues and we appreciate Dr. Ayers’ willingness to shift gears in order to help the university meet this important goal. Dr. Ayers will continue to report to Dr. Phil Barkley, Director of the Student Health Care Center and have a dotted line to Ms. Paula Fussell, the Interim Vice President of Human Resources.

Dr. Sherry Benton, who has been serving as the Director of the Counseling Center, has been asked to assume the position of director of the new organization of student mental health services. She will be responsible for overseeing the transition of the consolidation, and the move of the student mental health services to the new building as well as supervising the operation. With faculty and staff involvement, Dr. Benton will be charged to lead a strategic planning process to identify the vision, mission and values of the new organization. This process will also include, but not be limited to, defining its philosophy, creating the structure of the organization, identifying appropriate services and recommending a name for the service itself. She will also develop a timeline to accomplish the steps necessary to ensure a successful transition. Dr. Benton will continue to report to Dr. Telles-Irvin, Vice President for Student Affairs.

We want to thank both Dr. Ayers and Dr. Benton for accepting these new roles. While each of their responsibilities will entail many opportunities and challenges, they have our support in these new endeavors. We are confident in their abilities to provide excellent services to members of our campus community.

Please help us thank and congratulate them for accepting these new roles.

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