Concerns about students being turned away from the Counseling Center were addressed by administration during Wednesday’smeeting.
University Presidentand Provost told senators the high turn-away rate and extensive number of students calling the Counseling Center for initial appointments need to be discussed. Faculty senators and administrators came to the conclusion new technology to handle incoming calls to the Counseling Center would solve problems without the need for more funding.
“We realize the budget is very tight,” said Debra Feakes, Faculty Senate vice chair. “We realize that staff numbers aren’t going to increase.”
Bourgeois said the Counseling Center is seeing a similar issue to what the Financial Aid office had in the past. The “flood” of calls received early in the morning for initial screenings could be delegated to an automated system, he said. So, people can discern whether they need one-on-one help. This way the phone lines wouldn’t be bogged down, he said.
Trauth said the Counseling Center has increased its full-time clinical staff since 2008 by approximately five employees. Trauth said in the scheme of things the Counseling Center is doing “pretty good.”
Trauth said there is an increase in stressed students who think they require one-on-one counseling. The distinction between students with mental health issues and those who are distressed needs to be made early on in the counseling process, Trauth said.
“There is a crisis point in these students’ lives no matter where we scale it,” Feakes said. “Those students come to our classes and are very distraught in most cases.”
Trauth said distressed students should be sent to group counseling sessions more quickly, which technology could assist.
“Are we using the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art protocols to get students quickly diagnosed?” Trauth said.
Barbara Covington, School of Nursing senator, said students aren’t getting the same services at Round Rock as on the main campus. Covington said she is unsure when there will be a tipping point where the services will be equal at both campuses.
Faculty senators said Texas State should look at schools across the nation to see if the scheduling process being used in the Counseling Center can be more decentralized.