Meet the New Director of Counseling Services

After a competitive search, the Division of Student Affairs is pleased to announce that Dr. Paul Kim has been selected to serve as director of Counseling Services for UC Davis.

Dr. Kim received his doctorate of psychology in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute in 2008 and has been supporting student success at UC Davis since 2009, when he joined Counseling Services as one of the founding Community Advising Network (CAN) community counselors. Working with the Cross Cultural Center and the Department of Asian American Studies, Dr. Kim helped to provide mental health care to students and improved access for students of historically underrepresented communities. In 2014, Dr. Kim became the director of Multicultural Services, and in 2018 he began serving as interim director of Counseling Services. “Dr. Kim is a passionate advocate for students, a thoughtful and trusted leader and an enthusiastic colleague to campus and community partners,” said Margaret Walter, executive director of Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS).

Prior to his time at UC Davis, Dr. Kim spent five years at St. Mary’s College of California as coordinator of Asian Pacific American Student Programs, a retention center for which he advocated as a student leader. Dr. Kim explains he is committed to social justice and believes that providing quality mental health services is a social justice issue, especially for marginalized and underserved communities.

Recent Changes Within Counseling Services

Chancellor May elevated the campus conversation around mental health last year by convening a Mental Health Task Force. In his recent tenure as interim director, Dr. Kim prioritized the recommendations of the task force with the following initiatives:

  • The Counseling Services mission statement was updated with input from all Counseling Services staff.
  • Counselor time is now set aside to provide availability for crisis services in North Hall, identified as the preferred hub for services.
  • Online scheduling for counseling appointments began in December 2018.
  • Six counselor positions were successfully recruited this academic year, and two more positions will be filled before the year ends. The University of California Office of the President Mental Health Initiative, originally earmarked to fund 11 counselors by 2021, will be supporting all 11 counselors by spring 2019.
  • Support for new opportunities to collaborate within Student Health and Counseling Services, such as the expansion of the Mental Health Map on

Mental Health is a Campuswide Value

As director, Dr. Kim will work with campus and community partners to promote student well-being and advocate for mental health services for students. One ongoing goal will be enhancing and strengthening relationships between Counseling Services and the student body. Dr. Kim will be engaging with the Mental Health Coalition and its member student groups, as well as a number of committees including, but not limited to, the Basic Needs Oversight Committee, Student Affairs Leadership Team and the UC Office of the President Privacy Workgroup. The department has been tasked to explore new avenues for outreach and care, and convene a UC Davis Mental Health Committee.

The Role of the Director

The director of Counseling Services oversees the delivery of counseling services, outreach and educational programs to UC Davis students and consultation to the UC Davis community. As a member of the Student Health and Counseling Executive Team, the director ensures that SHCS provides holistic care, including exceptional mental health services, to students throughout the department.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve as the director of Counseling Services,” Dr. Kim said. “As a passionate advocate for student mental health, I am excited to work closely with the Mental Health Coalition and other student groups to better meet our students’ mental health needs. I am pleased that a UC Davis Mental Health Committee is being convened, and I look forward to the many contributions and diverse perspectives members will share. This group will support the continuing development of a community of care, in which we all share the responsibility for our community’s mental health.

“As director, my priorities include continuing to improve access for counseling appointments, which includes hiring additional staff, maximizing counselor time and utilizing our mental health advocacy specialists and case manager to help students get connected to a range of resources. As we continue to increase access, it is essential to provide strong support for our Counseling Services staff, so they can provide the best quality care for our students. Lastly, I will lead the team in developing and implementing a strategic plan for Counseling Services that builds on our strengths and seizes the opportunity to continue to improve our services. I look forward to working together with students, faculty and staff to ensure that Counseling Services is providing the highest quality mental health services.”

Dr. Kim will assume his duties as director of Counseling Services on March 15, 2019.