Counseling and Support Services

The mission and core functions of the Counseling and Support Services (CSS) is to advise and advocate for undergraduate and graduate students regarding personal and academic issues. CSS staff members:

The CSS office had a high volume of clients during the 2002–2003 academic year. Undergraduate and graduate students consistently made use of its counseling, advising, and psychotherapy services.

The memories of 9/11 continue to cause anxiety in our community. Talk of military action in Iraq continued to grow, leaving large numbers of our student population distracted from their academics because of the belief that greater conflict was inevitable. Also significant to students, as well as their families, was the declining economy and its potential impact on their financially demanding education. These and other issues that impact students' educational pursuits were addressed the office of CSS.


Women Students

CSS again helped to plan, organize, and staff aspects of the Rape Awareness Program that was presented during the first-year student orientation. Several administrators served as facilitators of the group discussions that followed featured speaker Katie Koestner's meeting with incoming students.

Under the guidance of the coordinator of support and programs for women students, CSS hosted a number of seminars, lunches, and presentations. Themes and topics included but were not limited to: Honoring The Great Feminine, Stories and Myths About Women, and a range of discussions that enabled students to develop their interpersonal skills. A movie series for freshwomen proved to be very and provided a basis for meaningful dialogue among peers. Additionally, CSS hosted public speaker Gretchen Kroll from Amherst College who spoke about women in medicine and health care issues in western and eastern medicine.

Graduate and undergraduate women also participated in off-campus activities sponsored by CSS. A group of graduate women went to Talbot House for a retreat and hiking trip. There was another successful activity at the Essex Retreat Center. Programs emphasizing relaxation and stress management training for women students were also sponsored by CSS.

Other developments this year included the Clothesline Project, which addresses violence against women, and the Latina Oral History Project, and an IAP offering: a women's course for fixing electrical appliances.

Kimberly Mc Glothin, the coordinator for women students, reports that a growing number of female leaders and groups took greater initiative this year. This appears to be an indication that MIT's women students are developing stronger leadership skills and competencies.

Underrepresented Minority Students

Staff continued their partnership with the Campus Committee on Race Relations and The Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee. Activities and events included but were not limited to: workshops on the historical, social and cultural implications of Affirmative Action and presentations such as The African American Living History Museum. CSS staff worked closely with Latino and Latina student leaders this year and was able to bring forward issues that were otherwise unaddressed and helped facilitate a much-appreciated response from the Office of the Dean for Student Life. There was also a very successful Black Women's Alliance Retreat. CSS participated in a range of other presentations made to Office of Minority Education (OME) Interphase students and high school students from MITES. In addition to providing support to the MLK Leadership Awards program, staff helped with the planning for nationally known activist, scholar, and historian Julian Bond's visit to MIT.

Two CSS deans engaged in a dialogue with students at the campus Ramadan celebration hosted by The Muslim Students Association.

A CSS dean was instrumental in filming and completing the production of the Muslim student segment of the Intuitively Obvious series.

Asian and Asian-American Students

The Asian Women's Lunch group, which is supported by CSS, continued to draw significant numbers of students who previously had not attended these activities on a regular basis. In addition to discussing many critical topics, the lunches featured guest speakers who are distinguished professionals in the fields of business and medicine.

Kunya Desjardin, the dean responsible for introducing specialized programming for Asian and Asian-American students, also developed plans for a new web site, supported the annual Grains of Rice Celebration, and collaborated with other segments of the community to make arrangements for the MIT appearance of a nationally known Asian-American commentator, Margaret Cho in the fall of 2003.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Students

James Collins, assistant to the dean continued his work as coleader of support groups with a mental health clinician. The office maintained its support of the LGBT Issues Group. CSS staffed the Rainbow lounge providing an additional resource to students who may have needed to consult with alternative support services on campus.

Contributing to the professional development of DSL personnel, a guest speaker met with the CSS staff to discuss transgender issues.

Orientation and Training

CSS staff worked with housemasters and graduate resident tutors, participated in FSILG and RA training, and served on a range of informative panels during the academic year. In addition, CSS addressed faculty, administrators and Undergraduate Admissions to help staff identify danger signs among students with whom they work most closely. Academic department administrators spoke with staff representatives concerning CSS and methods of getting assistance for troubled and floundering students. Office staff members also attended Campus Preview Weekend receptions for parents and potential students to provide information on the counseling and support services offered at MIT. Staff members sat on several panels during Parents' Orientation and Family Weekend. The CSS head served as cochair of the Mental Health Task Force Implementation Committee.

Administrative Initiatives

Procedures for granting medical withdrawals and securing medical insurance for students were reviewed and further refined by the CSS counseling supervisor, CSS head, other staff, as well as MIT Medical (chief, associate chief).

CSS meets regularly with Housing leadership to discuss room assignments and related matters with the goal of sustaining the healthiest living environment possible for MIT students.

The head of CSS served on the CUP/CSL Communications Group Committee.

Also, the CSS head met with dean of the Academic Resource Center to clarify readmission requirements and policies.

Arnold R. Henderson, Jr.
Associate Dean and Director of Counseling and Support Services

More information about the Counseling and Support Services can be found on the web at


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