Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Services Survey Study of a University Counseling Center in Taiwan

Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Services Survey Study of a University Counseling Center in Taiwan

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to investigate students' satisfaction with and opinions toward the university counseling center (UCC) at a university in northern Taiwan. A survey method was adopted in this study. Five hundred forty-one questionnaires were collected and 503 questionnaires (93.0%) were used in the analysis. Eighty-seven students utilized individual counseling services at the UCC. The students who had utilized counseling services were highly satisfied with the characteristics and attitudes of the counselors and the environment of the UCC. They were willing to utilize the counseling services if necessary, and recommend the service to others. Meanwhile, they expected more efficiency in the UCC and more effectiveness of the psychological inventory. Those students who had not utilized counseling services seemed unfamiliar with the content of counseling services, the procedures of making appointments and seeking help, and the location of the UCC. They revealed a low motivation and intention in seeking help from counselors, and were likely to solve problems by themselves or by using other resources.

Key word: counseling center, satisfaction with services

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Taiwan's higher education system has undergone major changes in the past two decades. The number of universities has increased from some 50 to nearly 170 and student numbers have soared from 300,000 to nearly 1.2 million. Students on university campuses are diverse and their problems are complicated. UCCs fulfill the critical role of providing counseling services to campus members. The services and functions of UCCs evolve with changes in student characteristics, the higher education system, society, and the counseling profession in Taiwan. As a result, counselors working in UCCs are facing enormous challenges.

The incidence, complexity, and severity of university students' psychological problems appear to have increased steadily (Kadison & DiGeronimo, 2004; Kitzrow, 2003; Marsh, 2004). The ratio of university students suffering from severe emotional disturbances (Shea, 2002), mental issues (Marsh, 2004), and psychopathology (Cornish, Riva, Henderson, Kominars, & McIntosh, 2000) has also risen. As a result, the number of student clients seeking help at UCCs is gradually climbing (Kitzrow, 2003; O'Connor, 2001 ; Upcraft, 2002).

UCCs assist students in dealing with their psychosocial problems, facilitate development, nurture mature personalities, and promote stability (Archer & Cooper, 1998). UCC professionals are able to assist students through the multiple channels of individual and group counseling, psychoeducational workshops, consultation, training of peer counselors, and/or career and life planning interventions (Fukuyama, 2001). UCC services usually include interpersonal and intimate relationship management, career planning, pressure adjustment, self-identity, and learning strategies (Fukuyama, 2001). In order to meet the psychosocial needs of students, counseling professionals in Taiwan promote diverse services through multiple channels on university campuses (Hsu, 2005).

Traditional UCC models have included providing vocational and career counseling, mental health counseling and student personnel counseling (Dean & Meadows, 1995). Mental health units have merged with UCCs and counseling professional roles and functions include clinical assessment, career, individual, group, outreach and peer counseling (Fukuyama, 2001). Counseling professionals have to recognize educational and consultative roles to be a part of a team that addresses programs, policies, and procedures for students; provides consultation to administrators or faculty about students' problems, and recognizes how counseling and student services fit into the mission of their institutions and how they relate to the holistic development of students (Widseth, Webb, & John, 1997). The index for service quality of UCCs include tangibility, reliability, responsibility, assurance, consideration, and recognition; and factors affecting the quality of UCCs include management, quality commitment, awareness and attitude of staff, promotion, and communication (Wang, 2008). …

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