In Support of and Commitment to Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS) to Provide Quality Mental Health Services to SF State Students

Resolution Number: RS17-363
May, 2017

* American College Counseling Association. (2014). Community College Survey. Alexandria, VA: Author.


Center for Collegiate Mental Health. (2015). 2014 Annual Report. (Publication No. STA15-30).


Gallagher, R. P. (2011) National Survey of Counseling Center Directors, 2010.

Project Report. The International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).


 ** International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) student to staff ratio recommendations


*** In December 2010, Executive Order (EO) 1053 was issued outlining a system wide

policy on student mental health, which defined minimum acceptable standards for counseling services on CSU campuses


**** Lee, D., Olson, E. A., Locke, B. Michelson, S.T., & Odes, E. (2009). The effects of college counseling services on academic performance and retention.  Journal of College Student Development, 50(3), 305-319.


Reetz, D., Krylowicz, B., Bershad, C., Lawrence, J. M., Mistler, B. (2015).  The Association for University College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey (AUCCCD).



April 10, 2017

CPS Counselor Faculty

Rationale: Over the past few decades, university counseling centers have seen an increased demand for mental health services, along with an increase in the complexity and severity of student concerns *(National Survey of Counseling Center Directors, 2010; American College Counseling Association, 2014; Center for Collegiate Mental Health, 2015). Statewide CSU Academic Senate (AS-3123-13/AA, May 2013) expressed concerns about the “inadequate level of resources given to student mental health services and encouraged immediate action to not only sustain, but meet and exceed standards.” The governing body for counseling centers, the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS) recommends minimum staffing ratios of 1 FTE professional counselor for every 1,000 to 1,500 students “to ensure there are adequate staff to meet not only the clinical needs of students but other needs of the campus community.” ** SF State’s CPS is severely understaffed with 8.5 Counselor Faculty serving 30,000 students, a ratio of 1 Counselor Faculty for every 3500 students (April 2017). To meet IACS’ minimum standards, CPS should have 20 FTE Counselor Faculty to address the mental health needs of students on a campus of this size. IACS has stated that a counseling center with a higher ratio is legally vulnerable - that vulnerability increases as the center’s ratio increases.
Executive Order (EO)1053*** stated that “Student mental health services shall be established and maintained to enhance the academic performance of matriculated students and to facilitate their retention in state supported programs of the university,” and
Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) contributes to student retention, success, and their ability to reach graduation**** (Lee, D. et al, 2009; The Association of University Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey, 2015), and
CPS maintains best practices for providing comprehensive, quality mental health services with its diverse Counselor Faculty providing counseling support for students, including individual and couples counseling, emergency/crisis services, support groups, consultation and referrals for faculty, staff, administrators and parents, and clinical supervision and training of graduate student interns, and
CPS struggles to meet the demand to also provide requested workshops, trainings, debriefings, case management services to high-risk students, as well as numerous other services to the campus community, and
the November 2016 IACS CPS site visit report concluded, “Size of staff is a primary problem area of this Center. Moving to a ratio of 1:2000 as soon as possible would better serve the many students seeking service and reduce the risk of liability and slightly reduce the high amount of stress the faculty currently experiences. It is recommended that the CPS increase tenure track Counselor Faculty toward a goal of 15.0 FTE over the next five years,” and
CPS has lost 5 Tenure Track (TT) Counselor Faculty since 2014, and
in order to promote a safe campus, prevent mental health tragedies, and provide services that reduce major barriers to student success, mental health issues and emotional wellness must be a priority through a well-staffed and healthy/thriving counseling center, therefore be it
that the SFSU Academic Senate strongly recommends that the CSU adopts the policy goal of ensuring that all CSU campuses meet or exceed relevant professional mental health service standards for students; and be it further
that the University increase the number of Counselor Faculty to meet the basic counselor to student ratio (1:2000) as a minimum recommended by the IACS, which would mean hiring 6 more Tenure Track Counselor Faculty.