Sep 212006
 
Authors: HEATHER HAWKINS The Rocky Mountain Collegian

“Dani California” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers tops his list of favorite songs, he salivates for spicy Thai food and he has practiced psychology in Grenada, the tiny nation invaded by the United States in the 1980s.

Dr. Michael Daine is the new director of the University Counseling Center.

He said he loves his job because he works in small groups as a psychologist but also has the ability to have an impact on the department as a whole.

“I’m a rare psychologist who really likes administration because I can impact the health of people at a broader level,” said Daine, who received a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Houston in 1994.

He worked as a psychologist and served as director of the counseling centers at Clemson University, Sonoma State University and St. George’s University in Grenada before taking the position at CSU on Sept. 5.

Grenada has a population of about 100,000, and 98 percent of its residents are of African descent, he said.

“I was, for the first time in my life, truly a minority,” Daine said, adding that security guards followed him in a grocery store because he was the only white person.

As a child, Daine shared his dreams with his family each morning at breakfast. He said his family always paid attention to emotions, and that was probably why he went into psychology.

“I’ve been open and accepting,” Daine said about mental health.

Unlike many of his peers, he enjoyed going to the state mental hospital in high school.

“I wasn’t scared,” he said, adding that people with mental illnesses are less violent than the general population.

After a national search, Daine, 47, was chosen to head the UCC because of his “excellent experience in higher education providing counseling services,” said Dr. Judy Muenchow, executive director of the Wellness Cluster in the Division of Student Affairs, which oversees Hartshorn Health Service, the Student Recreation Center and the UCC.

In addition to administrative work, Daine has done quite a bit of teaching. He taught statistics and research methods and psychopathology at Clemson and graduate classes at The Citadel in South Carolina.

At St. George’s, Daine developed a program to identify medical students who have a high risk for substance abuse. Because of the pressures and access to medications that physicians and vet practitioners have, they often become addicts. The program helped to decrease the risk of substance abuse among the students.

Daine said living outside the United States was “a great experience.”

“Everyone should do it because it changes your view of the world,” he said.

As director of the UCC, Daine is expected to manage the budget and oversee staff activities as well as evaluate the center and its services and develop new programs.

He said he has a reputation for reorganizing counseling centers so they work more efficiently. That means being fiscally responsible and responsive to student needs.

“I want to make (the UCC) more collaborative and much more accessible,” Daine said. “It should be more visible and an everyday part of students’ lives.”

Although it was hard to move his wife Karen and 8-year-old son Nathan from California, he said CSU is the place he wants to be.

“This is a really good match,” he said. “I hope to be here for a long time. (CSU has) a huge amount of potential that not a lot of campuses have.”

Daine is taking over a position that has seen turmoil in the past year.

The previous director, Charles Davidshofer, resigned in June after a former UCC employee improperly deposited university money, pocketing $17,000 in cash. Reva Jeanette Miles was convicted of one count of felony theft and one count of misdemeanor credit card theft.

“It has been a difficult time for the counseling center,” Daine said, “but I know we can get beyond it and move forward.”

Muenchow agrees.

“The University Counseling Center couldn’t be happier to move forward and have a new leader to move the unit in a new direction,” she said.

Staff writer Heather Hawkins can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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