Counseling Center re-hires two of four terminated employees; adds full-time position


Photo credit/ Stephanie Leone

Rachel Looker, Editor-in-Chief

The Counseling/Student Development Center (CSDC) has re-hired two of the four employees who were terminated at the end of the spring 2017 semester and hired one employee to fill a new, full-time position that was added for this academic year.

The CSDC terminated four seasonal, part-time employees last spring. Vice President of Business Affairs Tammy McHale said at a Student Government Association (SGA) meeting last semester that the CSDC ran out of money because the seasonal employees’ hours exceeded the center’s budget.

According to Dr. Robert Shaw, director of the CSDC, a full-time position was added to the CSDC this year that had not existed before.

“A 12-month staff counselor position was added, which will keep an additional staff person with us full time throughout the whole year and that will eliminate a lot of the need for part-time people,” said Shaw.

Shaw said after receiving the CSDC’s budget this year, he contacted the employees who were let go and asked it they would be interested in coming back. Shaw said most found other employment and filled their caseloads.

Ed McNichols, one of these four seasonal employees, confirmed that he was let go at the end of the spring semester.

“We kind of knew that it was a possibility because of the environment as far as the cutbacks being made in the department,” McNichols said.

Shaw contacted McNichols and asked if he would be interested in returning to Marywood at reduced hours for this academic year.

McNichols said he went into private practice, but has returned to work at Marywood for six to eight hours per week where he supervises Master of Social Work (MSW) students and sees clients.

“I love Marywood and I love working with the students, but I had to transition to a different job really of private practice,” he said.

McNichols described the timing of the firings as “unfortunate” because the CSDC created one full-time position for this year and had to fill a vacant full-time position this summer when another employee left. This left a gap between letting employees go at the end of the spring semester and hiring to fill positions over the summer.

“There were people there that had been working there for years that were ready to step in. Had there not been that two-month gap, I may have applied for one of those full-time positions,” said McNichols. “But who can afford to stay home for two months without a paycheck?”

According to McNichols, adding the full-time counselor position is a great investment to the counseling center.

“The transition was rocky and I think they’re moving in the right direction now,” McNichols said.
The CSDC hired Susan Wilkerson to fill the new, full-time position. As a staff counselor, Wilkerson supervises student trainees and handles walk-in appointments and crisis appointments.

Wilkerson said she feels the CSDC is well run.

“It’s a very supporting, nurturing, caring environment. I feel like the staff here really has the students’ best interests in mental health, in physical health, all aspects of the whole student really at heart,” she said.

The CSDC now consists of Shaw; Associate Director Barb Decker; Wilkerson; Larissa Schwass, who filled the full-time position vacated this summer; two of the four part-time employees who were let go at the end of the spring semester; an additional part-time employee who resigned at the end of the fall 2016 semester and was re-hired; a post-doctoral resident; two graduate assistants and 22 graduate trainees.
Shaw described the CSDC’s budget this year as “comparable to last year’s.”

“We have been given sufficient funds to run the counseling center,” said Shaw.

He added that the CSDC is still offering the same services as last year.

Shaw said he is optimistic about the future of the center.

“It wasn’t fun but I think things have shaken out okay. Now we’ve been granted this new full-time person which we celebrate and that’s a good thing,” said Shaw.

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