News, University News

Will Meek named CAPS director, effective in March

Meek’s plans include diversifying CAPS staff, increasing access to care for undergraduates

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 3, 2017

Will Meek, current assistant director of counseling and training at the University of Portland Health and Counseling Center, will join Brown as the new director of counseling and psychological services, effective March 20.

In his role at the University of Portland, Meek was key in decreasing the stigma around seeking help among students with cultural, gender or power-based barriers. This type of work made him a prime candidate for director of CAPS, according to a University press release authored by Director of Health Services Unab Khan and Eric Estes, vice president of campus life and student services.

“We were looking for a candidate who was either a person of color themselves or understood what their privileges were and how they would connect with … students of marginalized identities,” Khan said.

Last semester at the student walkout, students demanded that the University find therapists of color to support students of color. Meek’s track record of hiring diverse staff made him a particularly attractive candidate for the position. During his tenure at Portland, Meek diversified clinical staff, increased student access to care from 8 percent to 24 percent and has published articles in the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, among other principal psychology journals, according to the press release.

One of Meek’s greatest strengths has been his ability to listen to students’ needs and find solutions to their issues, he said. In his new role, his top priority will be reaching out to different communities in the student body to take in their concerns and swiftly address them.

“I want to listen a lot; I want to visit a lot of spaces … I want to hear from students who maybe haven’t felt like they had a chance to have a voice yet,” Meek said. “I want to be as available to students as possible.”

Meek also plans on increasing access to counseling for students. In recent years, students have had to wait two weeks after making an appointment to see a counselor, which many feel is too long. CAPS has now shortened the length of counseling sessions so that more students will be able to see counselors and eliminated the seven-session-per-year cap on appointments, Khan said.

Meek plans to explore ways to further decrease wait time for appointments when he arrives at Brown in March.

Adding to his priorities, Meek will play an instrumental role in completing CAPS’ departmental Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which will be released this semester, Estes said.