Marcus Hotaling, director of the Eppler-Wolff Counseling Center, was elected president of the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors at the organization’s annual conference this month. He had previously served on the board of directors.
The AUCCCD is the largest organization of campus mental health leaders in the world. The term is for two years.
In his role, Hotaling will help guide campus mental health policy and initiatives at the national level.
Hotaling assumes the leadership post at a time when college students are more stressed, exacerbated in large part by a pandemic that drags on. The increased levels of anxiety, isolation and depression have resulted in a surge in demand for mental health services. Many campus centers have weeks-long waiting lists.
“For many of our second-year students, this is really like their first year in school,” said Hotaling. “Also, we are seeing a huge increase in the number of first-year students seeking services. Their last ‘normal’ year was their sophomore year in high school, and many of them did a hybrid model for their senior year. In addition, many of them missed activities such as senior trips and proms.”
Hotaling hopes to convince AUCCCD to support the idea of “communities of care” similar to what exists at Union, in which key campus stakeholders recognize early on when a student may need more help and not just a listening ear.
“An example of this is when a student experiences a loss - if a faculty member or administrator just refers them to counseling, then that pathologizes the loss rather than offering empathy and support,” Hotaling said.
“Showing some empathy and support and letting them know of various services the college can offer will make the student feel more comfortable approaching that person again. However, there are certainly times when someone should be referred immediately to the counseling center, and helping people understand when will be important.”
Hotaling received his bachelor’s degree from Alfred University in 1995 and his doctorate in counseling psychology in 2001 from the University at Albany. He completed his doctoral internship at the Northampton Veteran’s Affairs Hospital and UMass Amherst’s Counseling Center.
He joined Union in 2007.