Western Carolina University’s Counseling and Psychological Services was recently awarded accreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).
As part of a nearly two-year accreditation process, WCU compiled detailed information and hosted a site visit to demonstrate compliance with criteria for accreditation set by the University and College Counseling Services Board of Accreditation.
“It is clear that your center offers an effective and comprehensive program of services that makes a vital contribution to the quality of student and campus life,” said Michael Mond, chair of the IACS University and College Board of Accreditation, in a recent letter to John Ritchie, director of WCU Counseling and Psychological Services. “In its review, the board was appreciative of the excellent support provided by your administration for additional positions, the good working relationship with the university community and particularly the Student Health Center, the center’s responsiveness to crises, and the efforts in developing your predoctoral training program. The center appeared to be well run and moving in a positive direction.”
WCU sought accreditation after a series of events. In 2006-07, the Student Government Association called for WCU to expand support for University Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services. Then, a health service student group appointed by Bob Caruso, former vice chancellor for student affairs, made a number of recommendations to the university’s Board of Trustees, including increasing the health fee and hiring additional clinical therapists in CPS.
In fall 2007, Ritchie specifically identified accreditation as a goal when he met with Sam Miller, vice chancellor for student affairs. A few months later, the UNC Campus Safety Task Force recommended that all UNC campuses have accreditation for their counseling and psychological services units.