Iowa Valley Community College District
MARSHALLTOWN – When the Iowa Valley Community College District Board of Directors met in December, Nancy Adams ,Marshalltown Community College Associate Professor of Psychology and Coordinator of the Marshalltown Community College Student Assistance Program explained the free confidential counseling services provided to students on campus.
Adams explained that the program has evolved since Dr. Robert L. Moore, retired MCC professor, recognized the need. “He saw that some students had barriers to learning that weren’t necessarily academic. This program supports our counselors Dan Key and Dr. Dava James. This is year three of our current model and we continue to expand.”
Adams explained that she is available on a drop-in basis when she is not teaching. In addition, Scott Ramsey-Smith, M.S., a licensed mental health counselor at Center Associates, comes to the MCC campus a half day a week to meet with students.
“Our intent is short term assistance, typically needs that can be helped in three to five sessions, but a number of students come to us with needs that are not temporary. They have systemic or medical mental health needs,” explained Adams. “We are able to make referrals when needed. We keep confidential data on students, and from what faculty has seen in the classroom, we are making a difference.”
Adams said the students she sees at MCC range from ages 17 to 58 with needs as diverse as their ages indicate. “In the past four years we’ve seen an increase in the demographics of high school age students on campus, international students and in residential students,” said Adams. “We have helped a number of returning soldiers and family members of service persons who are away. There are students right out of high school who didn’t think they would be coming to MCC, but due to financial situations they are here. There are displaced workers who are returning to school after many years of life experience. They face a lot of academic anxieties, and parenting issues are a lot more common.”
The number of MCC students utilizing the Assistance Program is growing steadily. Adams said they have seen more students in one semester this fall than in both semesters last year. “The increase is probably due to a combination of growth in need and also in the word getting out to students that there is a safe place to go for help.”
MCC Provost Dr. Christopher Duree added that in the year he has been at MCC he has seen the Assistance Program help students who act out in the classroom or cause problems in student housing. “This is a very caring way to deal with discipline issues for acting out that is a result of other underlying baggage. It has led to getting students the help they need. There is no doubt that this service is helping with student retention. They do an outstanding job and it makes a difference in keeping students in college.”