Today: May 22, 2024

09/27/2010
By:

Sean Meenaghan

General Assignment Reporter

As freshmen adjust to life on the SCSU campus, many new faculty members are also beginning the next step in their careers at Southern. One of these is Counseling Center Director Julie Ann Liefeld, who brings a wealth of knowledge in her field of theoretical orientation, professional interests and mental health philosophy. Liefeld said the opportunity to come to Southern arose at a perfect time.

Liefeld previously worked at Mitchell College in New London, where the student body is one-third special education. She said for the last two years there, she was the vice president of student affairs.

“I had fun,” Liefeld said, “but I didn’t get to focus too much on therapy.”

Liefeld said she received her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Boston College in 1987 and her masters and doctorate at the University of Connecticut.

“I specialize in human development,” said Liefeld. “Not that many people work in that field.”

Liefeld said the environment at Southern is like nothing she has seen before.

“I was a little nervous coming from a small school,” Liefeld said. “ There is such a range of students.
Everyone is very friendly and what they talk about is really interesting. There is great intensity of education, it keeps the school moving forward.”

Liefeld said everyone has welcomed her with open arms.

“The dean of student affairs and the vice president gave me a pathway,” she said. “The IT department and Women’s Center have reached out to me. It makes it feel as if I am at a small school.”

Liefeld also said the position at Southern was an attractive career move.

“Therapy was a calling,” Liefeld said. “Student development was most important. I want to get kids on the right track.”

Liefeld said she prefers working at colleges more than at an office and also said she also received employment offers from St. Joseph’s College.

“I like to work with youth development,” she said. “It combines factors and interesting challenges that are sometimes overlooked.”

Liefeld said she worked under a practice but it didn’t give her access to the people.

“I like to observe freshmen transition,” Liefeld said. “I want to see how they develop from when they start to
when they graduate.”

Liefeld said she is impressed with the goal of the university’s counseling center.

“There are many directors here that have different specialties,” Liefeld added. “As a systems therapist, I try to connect to our team at the counseling center as well as other teams on campus. There is a culture in the country that we have to be nervous of students, it seems like all colleges are worried about suicide. There has to be consistent availability of counselors. There is a crisis counselor who is available everyday, who doesn’t have a high caseload.”

Liefeld said in particular she has worked with the campus police and Reslife.

“I want to get feedback to decrease the anxiety of the community,” Liefeld said. “Being able to help the health and wellness of the community is great.”

Liefeld said there are many programs throughout the campus that students can attend.

“There is QPR, suicide prevention training, which trains a group of people how to make good questions
for a person that they feel is contemplating suicide,” Liefeld said. “There are groups if you’re having problems with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Interns do outreach and intervention programs and touch base with the service.”

Liefeld said there are help options available at every level, whether it would be anxiety, depression or eating disorders.

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