University News

Psych Services to change name

Newly named Counseling and Psychological Services — CAPS — aims to bolster current services

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, April 17, 2014

University administrators approved changing the name of Psychological Services to Counseling and Psychological Services effective Wednesday, Director Sherri Nelson announced at the Undergraduate Council of Students meeting Wednesday.

More comprehensive names like CAPS are common among the University’s peer institutions, Nelson said. “It’s a lot easier to say” and it was a “fairly easy change to make,” she added.

The renaming represents one of three main initiatives headed by the office. Other projects include introducing forms for students to provide feedback on staff members and expanding the existing support groups and workshops for the upcoming academic year.

In pursuing these projects, the office aims to be financially responsible and  “use resources that we have now,” Nelson said.

CAPS will also tackle the long-term goals of decreasing wait times for appointments, increasing the diversity of staff members, better facilitating outside referrals and conducting more outreach, she said.

“This is a very supportive administration, and President Paxson really listens to what students have to say,” Nelson added.

Dolma Ombadykow ’17, a UCS general body member, asked Nelson what specific workshops the office intends to offer next year. Nelson said in response that she would like the office to provide emotional wellness workshops and support groups for students from certain demographics struggling with mental health issues.

Eliza Lanzillo ’16, a member of Active Minds, a student-led mental health advocacy and awareness group, asked if CAPS planned on incorporating any initiatives into the freshman orientation program.

In addition to its usual information booth, CAPS will also make a short presentation, Nelson said.

Council leaders also invited Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Beppie Huidekoper, Senior Vice President for University Advancement Pat Watson and Managing Director of the Office of Investment Jane Dietzee to speak about University finances at the general body meeting.

“Boy, do they change over time, and boy, times have been stressful and times have been great,” Huidekoper said. Brown’s financial state “has evolved — we now have a budget that reflects a lot of our history,” she said. “It also reflects an incredible decade of financial growth.”

The growing student body reflects the fact that the University is “very tuition-dependent,” Huidekoper said, adding that peer institutions with larger endowments have more flexibility.

Watson described how her job of soliciting donations involves a community of alumni and others who “believe in what we’re doing, believe in the institution, believe in the faculty and students.” The process is “built on collective experiences” and addresses “what Brown means to people today versus what it has meant to people throughout their lives,” she added.

Between 4.5 and 5.5 percent of the endowment’s growth can be attributed to investment officers, “which helps the University do a lot,” Dietze said.

The University uses an extensive investment team and a variety of investment locations, she said. “You never know what asset class is going to perform best,” Dietze said, adding that “we’ve done a relatively good job, and hope to do a better one.”

The Council also heard a resolution proposal from the group Active Minds, presented by Ombadykow with help from Active Minds representatives Lanzillo and Min Jung Han’16.  The proposal was drafted in response to the concern over mental health issues on campus, Ombadykow said. “We couldn’t ignore the fact that Psych Services had a severe lack of resources,” she added.

Active Minds is open to all students because “while not everyone has mental illness, everyone has mental health,” Lanzillo said.

The Council will have an opportunity to suggest changes and then vote on the finalized resolution at its last general body meeting of the year next Wednesday.