Counseling Services hires two new psychologists

Students will be able to meet and talk with two new, qualified faces in the Counseling Services office this semester.

UW-Eau Claire Counseling Services recently hired Roberta Goodman and Nina Kotar as counseling psychologists. Goodman and Kotar fill the spaces left by Dick Boyum and Katherine Schneider, counseling staff members who retired last year.

Counseling Services Director P.J. Kennedy said given the department’s struggles to meet students’ needs while it was understaffed last semester, the additions of Goodman and Kotar to the counseling staff will improve the situation.

“I think things will get better now,” he said.

Kennedy said after Boyum and Schneider retired, the counseling staff was reduced to three full-time counselors. He said they tried to fill the need by supplementing a part-time staff who worked a combined 30 hours a week.

While the addition of the part-time staff helped to provide service to students ultimately they had to make cuts to other programs to make time for students, Kennedy said. Outreach was decreased in order to provide much-needed time for counseling, he said.

“It was a tough semester for us,” Kennedy said.

Judy Blackstone, one of the senior counseling staff members, was head of the hiring committee. She said both Kotar and Goodman bring talents to the table that Counseling Services needs in order to better serve the students at Eau Claire.

“We are very, very lucky to have such qualified people,” Blackstone said.

Kotar did her doctorate-level work at an eating disorders clinic at UW-Madison. She also worked with the American Red Cross, training individuals in crisis intervention.

At Eau Claire, Kotar will counsel students and act as the campus coordinator for alcohol and drug abuse, Kennedy said.

Goodman received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, but originally is from Wisconsin. She attended Eau Claire for two-and-a-half years before transferring to Colorado. She then returned and received her master’s degree from UW-Stout.

Goodman worked in Sheboygan before moving back to Colorado to pursue her doctorate in counseling psychology.

I‘m trying to show my face around so people know I’m approachable.”
Roberta Goodman
Counseling Psychologist

Goodman said her special focus is multicultural students on campus. During her time in Colorado, she worked with many individuals and families from diverse backgrounds, in an area of Colorado where multiculturalism was prevalent, she said.

Now her focus is on learning about the multicultural student groups at the university. She said she is taking steps to connect with people who are involved with diversity issues on campus, as well as students who have ethnic ties to groups such as Eau Claire’s growing Hmong culture.

“I’m trying to show my face around, so people know I’m approachable,” she said.

Goodman said her past experience with diversity and her personal relationships with people from differing backgrounds have given her a sense of respect and admiration of cultural differences. She also said she looks forward to addressing similar issues with the multicultural students on campus.

“It’s kind of invigorating,” she said. “The students are invigorating, because I can see all of their talents and abilities.”

Both Goodman and Kotar will work every day during the regular semester while students are in class, Kennedy said. He added both women have unique strengths to offer for student counseling at Eau Claire.

“I think it’s a chance for new life for our counseling service,” he said.