Departments face staffing shortages


Photo credit/ Sabrina Resuta

Departments on campus are experiencing a lack of staffing.

Departments on campus are facing staffing issues.

The Psychology and Counseling Department is currently experiencing the effects of a decrease in staff.

“Over the years we have had faculty leave, through either retirement or moving to another position and they have not always been replaced,” said Dr. Brooke Cannon, director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (Psy. D.).

Two core faculty members within the Psy. D. program are leaving at the end of this academic year, leaving the clinical psychology program with just three core faculty members. The chair of the Psychology and Counseling Department, Dr. Kevin Snow, is also leaving at the end of the academic year.

Psy. D. faculty members are experiencing an increase in workload in several key areas. According to Cannon, faculty members are required to supervise graduate students as they see clients from the community at Marywood’s Psychological Services Center. Over the years as the graduate psychology program has grown, both the number of supervisees and the number of clinical cases have increased, resulting in an increase of caseloads for supervising faculty.

Psy. D. students complete both a professional research contribution and a dissertation that require a faculty member to serve as a research supervisor and dissertation mentor. In addition to the dissertation mentor, students also need two additional faculty members to serve on a dissertation committee. According to Cannon, there are currently five faculty members and 57 students enrolled in the program.

In regards to the requirement of faculty availability of Psy. D. core faculty to students particularly for research mentoring, Cannon said, “The thinner faculty are spread, the less available they are to all students … I’m sure students feel that as well.”

The Psy. D. program is up for reaccreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) this year. A team from the APA will conduct an on-campus site visit and examine the program. Following the site visit, the APA’s national commission will review the findings from Marywood’s program and determine its accreditation status.

The last on-site visit and reaccreditation review at Marywood was in 2014. At that time, the department consisted of seven core faculty members.

Cannon explained that while the University is advertising the faculty positions, the advertisements went out late and missed the peak searching season for faculty members for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Career Development Center understaffed after director’s departure

Another department experiencing staff downsizing is the Career Development Center.

The Director of Career Development, Christina Brundage, left the center early into the 2023 spring semester.

According to Associate Provost Leslie Christianson, the administration is not planning on replacing the director position but is working to reimagine Career Services at Marywood as a whole.

Jason Patrick Lee, a graduate assistant, is currently the only employee working at the Career Development Center. After Brundage’s departure, her responsibilities were transferred to Lee. These responsibilities include overseeing the Center’s correspondence with students, faculty, other departments, and organizations, one-on-one career development sessions with students and alumni, and assisting students with job and internship searches.

Lee said that he has been able to handle the extra workload, however because of the structure of his assistantship contract, Lee is only allowed to work at the Center for 10 hours a week, and because of this restriction, some things fall through the cracks.
For example, in the weeks leading up to an Employment Fair, of which Lee served on the organizational committee, he had to suspend his one-on-one student appointments.

Although Lee has been able to successfully manage the Center with the help of Katie McNulty, the director of Marywood’s tutoring services, and with the staff from the Office of Retention and Advising, he mentioned that extra staffing would be beneficial.

“If we had another staff member or if I could put in more than my allotted hours, the Career Development Center would have been able to maintain our regular operations,” said Lee.

Lee further explained that with extra staffing, correspondence with the office might be a bit more timely, meetings with students would be more frequent and more resources would be available for students and alumni.

Office of Student Disability Services shortages just starting to be addressed

The Office of Student Disability Services also experienced some staffing shortages during the 2022-2023 academic school year, but, according to Kaitlin Anderle, director of that office, those shortages have begun to be addressed.

The office is responsible for identifying and assisting with the implementation of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities, as well as helping students and faculty resolve disability-related issues.

Anderle explained that she was the only full-time staff member in her office this past summer. Anderle worked alongside her supervisor, Associate Provost of Student Success, Dr. Paul Ballard, to gather data that showed changes in staffing were necessary.

The office was able to move a part-time professional staff member to full-time and a full-time graduate assistant was also hired in the fall.

“This has made a tremendous difference for not just me, but for the students,” said Anderle.

She also explained that the Office of Student Disability Services would love to have more staff, but almost any department on any college campus would say the same.

“The more staff, the more the department can grow and offer additional support or programs for students,” said Anderle.

Contact the writer: [email protected]