On January 2, Dr. Mary-Jeanne (MJ) Raleigh started work at UNC Pembroke as director of the Counseling and Testing Center.
Dr. Raleigh, who comes to UNCP from St. Mary’s College of Maryland where she was director of counseling services, will manage a staff of 10 professionals and four graduate interns who provide counseling and preventive services to students. She brings 27 years of experience in counseling and several other areas of student affairs.
Dr. Lisa Schaeffer, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs, said Dr. Raleigh is a seasoned professional with the range of professional skills and experience to be successful at UNCP.
“I am very excited that Dr. Raleigh has joined our Counseling Center team,” Dr. Schaeffer said. “Her experience will be extremely valuable as we move forward in our strategic planning efforts to provide the best possible counseling services to our students.”
A New York state native, Dr. Raleigh finds a capable staff at the Counseling and Testing Center.
“I am pleased to find a great staff of terrific professionals who know their jobs and work really well together,” she said. “This gives me the opportunity to learn more about them and the university community we serve.”
Dr. Raleigh, who earned a Ph.D. in environmental studies at Antioch University New England, has considerable experience in counseling and leadership in higher education. She has directed counseling services at three institutions of higher education over the last 19 years.
“I’ve worked at universities large and small, urban and rural, public and private,” she said. “I’ve worked in student housing, health and judicial services. The only student affairs area I have not worked in is public safety.”
However, ensuring campus safety is an area of expertise for Dr. Raleigh.
“A colleague and I recently gave a webinar training session on threat assessment, and I contributed to a white paper on the subject,” Dr. Raleigh said. “I have diverse interest in the field of human-environment interactions, clinical psychology and higher education leadership.”
Dr. Raleigh has also worked in private practice, although the majority of her career has been in higher education. Besides a stint at St. Mary’s, Dr. Raleigh has worked at New England College, Castleton State College of Vermont, Green Mountain College, Tufts University and the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
A graduate of Castleton, Dr. Raleigh earned a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Colorado and another master’s degree from SUNY Stony Brook in 20th century Irish poetry.
Her research spans several areas, including the relationship between children’s exposure to nature and their well being later in life.
“My doctoral program was completed jointly in counseling and environmental studies,” she said. “What we found is that children exposed to nature develop more active coping skills and are less vulnerable to anxiety as they grow older.”
Dr. Raleigh’s other research and publications concern student legal affairs, veterans’ issues and human development. She also has taught at Johns Hopkins and Antioch universities and at New England College, where she instructed graduate and undergraduate students.
Dr. Raleigh is active in professional organizations. A past president and national board member of the American College Counseling Association, she is also on the national board of Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.
She is a nationally certified counselor with licenses in clinical professional and mental health counseling and supervision. Dr. Raleigh received a Presidential Honor in 2010 from the ACCA and an Outstanding Professional Leadership Award from the ACCA.