Effective immediately, student services counsellor, Freeman Woolnough will no longer be working for the UNB Saint John community. He has accepted a new position in Ontario and will be acting as a full time counsellor at Queen’s University.
While there is no question that Woolnough’s presence will be greatly missed on campus, there still remains uncertainty as to who will be filling his former position. The counselling team at UNB Saint John is primarily responsible for delivering personal and career counselling services to students, as well as running special events during the year to promote wellness.
The UNB Saint John counselling position is based on a year-to-year contract, which can make it difficult to fill. There has been speculation on campus, however, that Woolnough’s position may be left vacant indefinitely.
“We’ve been told that there is a possibility the position will not be made permanent,” says Woolnough, “though keep in mind [that] the administration in charge of this are still looking into things.”
If this is the case, UNB Saint John will be left with just one full time counsellor, Meredith Henry, and that she will be responsible for counselling, both personal and career, as well as any mental health programs/initiatives on campus for all students. Although Henry is highly qualified for these demands, the heavy workload could greatly affect the services offered to students and increase the amount of time it takes to get an appointment with a counsellor.
Over the course of the summer, Woolnough and Henry developed a strategy to cope with having only one counsellor for September and October, as a decision regarding filling the newly vacant position would take at least a few months.
In response to the speculation and anxiety about the future of the counselling department, associate vice president, Dr. Laurelle LeVert ensures students that the position will, in fact, be filled.
“The position of counsellor will be re-posted shortly,” says LeVert, “it is now in the paperwork stage and I am confident that the student services team will rally to fill any temporary gaps pending the new hire.” She also expresses that UNB Saint John’s Student Services team is among the most professional, compassionate and innovative that she has ever worked with.
LeVert is quite confident that despite any changes, they will continue to play a critical role in student life. During this transition stage, students are encouraged to seek counselling services if need be.
Appointments with Henry can be made via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the online booking system. On behalf of UNB Saint John, Dr LeVert extends her best wishes to Woolnough as he embarks on this new employment opportunity.
“He has been a valued colleague and played an important role in helping us better understand the needs of our students,” says LeVert, “we wish him all the best.”
Woolnough wrote a column for The Baron last year, answering questions that he would frequently encounter as a counsellor. His submissions can be read at http://www.thebaron.ca/?s=freeman