The University of New Mexico’s Student Health and Counseling is under new management following the January departure of Executive Director Dr. James Wilterding.
Wilterding’s experience working with LGBTQ students at SHAC led him to pursue a new career opportunity in Massachusetts: he’ll be taking a post in the near future at Fenway Health, an LGBTQ health care, research, and advocacy organization headquartered in Boston.
“As a medical director, I worked to expand our clinic’s ability to serve transgender students,” he said. “In the process of doing so, I became heavily involved in one of the leading organizations for LGBTQ health (in the U.S.).”
Wilterding, who had served in the role of executive director since Feb. 2017, officially stepped down on Jan. 18. His nine year career at UNM included a two and a half year tenure as associate medical director of SHAC. He said he’s proud of the work that took place to improve the institution under his guidance.
“I’m particularly proud of securing the expansion space into the plaza level where the Honors College had been located,” Wilterding said. “SHAC did not have adequate space, and it impacted both the efficiency of operations and the students we serve around issues of privacy and confidentiality. The expansion will let the organization put counseling (services) on that lower level and let us start a phase in the remodeling of the facility in the next few years.”
The Daily Lobo previously reported on the Honors College relocation in 2017. According to Wilterding, the College will now be relocated to the Anderson School of Management building as opposed to the controversial, now-scrapped plan to move into the Art Annex building.
For now, Dr. Kim Kloeppel is balancing the role of interim executive director of SHAC with her current position as chief operations officer of Student Affairs until a permanent replacement is named. According to Kloeppel, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Eliseo Torres is holding off on performing a job search due to departmental budgetary restrictions.
Kloeppel has an extensive set of credentials that she brought to her new position. Her 23 years of service to the University includes a three year stint as interim Dean of Students, 10 years as the associate director of Finance and Administration at SHAC and 13 years in her current office in Student Affairs. She also holds a doctorate in Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology from UNM.
After a transitional period in December to acclimate to the role, Kloeppel said those working under her have helped her considerably since she took over.
“We’ve got a great staff (at SHAC) that already manages a lot of the operations, so it’s just a matter of coordinating everything with the executive staff,” she said. “They’re very capable, so it’s just a matter of balancing everything.”
SHAC provides primary medical services, counseling services, and health education and prevention, as well as information and student support services for the entire UNM campus community. Services also include immunizations, lab and x-ray, physical therapy, travel health, massage therapy and pharmacy.
Kloeppel is a steadfast proponent of the work SHAC does every day.
“The services they have are just amazing — they’re very devoted to student and patient care, and having counseling and medical services all under one roof along with the auxiliary services is extremely helpful,” she said. “I hope students will utilize the services we have for them, because a big part of the student fees that they pay goes towards assisting SHAC.”
Andrew Gunn is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @agunnwrites.