History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 57

57 our counselors. The expertise in this area also allowed the Counseling Center to work with students, individually and in groups, as well as faculty, staff and administrators to create a welcoming environment for the increasingly diverse student body. The Counseling Center developed signature programs like ASPIRE; International Initiatives; peer programs to reach out to first generation students; and the Diversity Lunch Series which brought together students, faculty, and staff for shared multicultural learning and engagement in difficult dialogues. The Counseling Center addressed other campus climate issues, too. A campuswide program was initiated to prevent suicide. Faculty, staff, and student groups were engaged in “gatekeeper” training to become aware of suicidal symptoms, to learn how to talk with students about concerns, and to refer those who needed professional assistance or crisis intervention. When UF decided to provide sexual harassment education and prevention training to all employees, Counseling Center staff were directly involved in all sessions, promoting awareness of the psychological harm to students, faculty and staff who had experienced harassment. Consultations and workshops were provided to academic units on request as specific issues were uncovered by students speaking out about their experiences. A c a d e m i c Co n n e c t i o n s a n d P r o f e ss i o n a l T r a i n i n g The Counseling Center has strong academic roots. As noted earlier, the Counseling Center began as part of the Psychology Department and then was a unit within University College. As a result, all Counseling Center staff held faculty status and were expected to go through the promotion and tenure process. In 1976, University College was dissolved, and the Counseling Center became a unit within the Division of Student Affairs (DSA). The move to Student Affairs created an administrative home for the Counseling Center more in keeping with major counseling centers across the country. It enabled increased cooperation and coordination with various other Student Affairs units, working together for the benefit of students. Advantageously, the Counseling Center director became a direct report to the Vice President for Student Affairs. In keeping with other DSA personnel, initially new Counseling Center professional hires were classified as Administrative and Professional (A&P). However, to better reflect the job duties and to ensure parity with existing Counseling Center faculty members, the A&P lines were converted to Clinical Faculty lines in an agreement worked out by the Provost, the chair of the Psychology Department, and the Director of the Department histor ies : Coun seli n g an d W elln ess Center