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Clinic closing held in abeyance while program review is conducted

TCNJ President R. Barbara Gitenstein announced this afternoon that a final decision on the future of the TCNJ Clinic will be held in abeyance pending the outcome of a thoughtful and thorough review, which is to commence immediately.

“The goal is to assess the clinic’s effectiveness in serving the educational needs of our counseling graduate students, the mental health needs of our undergraduate students and mental health services for our community clients,” explained Gitenstein.  “Experts in mental health care delivery, especially professionals on the campus who are responsible for mental health services, will be part of this analysis.”

The evaluation will follow the college’s standard approach to periodic reviews of academic programs and include the following elements:

  • A TCNJ Clinic self-assessment
  • An analysis of the clinic as a clinical site by the Department of Counselor Education in the School of Education
  • A thorough written report from the School of Education’s Dean’s office
  • An external consultant, selected in consultation with the clinic and the Counselor Education Department, will be engaged to review this material and conduct interviews
  • Input from students in the counselor education programs as well as students from the general population who have accessed services from the clinic

“I believe that broad based, informed, consultation is the most effective way to ensure solid decision making,” said Dr. Gitenstein. “I want to emphasize that such decision making never satisfies every stakeholder group’s desires, but it does result in better decisions and when difficult decisions must be made, the rationale for the decision is commonly known.”

She noted that because TCNJ’s counselor education students have already committed to clinical placements with other providers, counseling services at the clinic may well be limited.  However, services for student and community member clients currently being served at the clinic will continue. In order to ensure the college is providing appropriate options for its students, plans to finalize an agreement with a facility scheduled to open in Campus Town and to lease space on campus for local counselors will continue as previously announced.

In making this announcement, Dr. Gitenstein acknowledged the advocacy efforts of students, staff, faculty, and community members and the mental health-related concerns that they raised.

“I thank all those who have offered to work with us to improve mental health care delivery on the campus and improve our relationships with community partners and community members,” she said.

A final decision with regard to the status of the TCNJ Clinic will be made no later than October 31, 2017.