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Administrator Embraces UC Merced's Focus on Wellness

December 12, 2008

Administrator Embraces UC Merced's Focus on Wellness

Dr. James “Fuji” Collins just recently stepped into his shoes as the new assistant vice chancellor for student health and wellness at UC Merced, but he is already off and running.

Collins oversees the six essential health- and wellness-related departments on campus and is tasked with integrating them into one cohesive unit designed to work to the full advantage of the student while staying true to the values and integrity of the university’s goals and values.

Collins’ primary goal is to create a team that is truly integrative and excels at the fundamentals and can develop a comprehensive wellness strategy for UC Merced.

“I want UC Merced health and wellness to be on the cutting edge,” Collins said. “I want the staff to lead by example. I want us to be at the front of the pack in the UC system, and I want to put UC Merced programs on the map.”

Until this year,
Counseling and Psychological Services,
Career Services,
Health Services,
Disability Services, Health Education/Promotion and
Recreation and Athleticshave operated separately.

“Each group as a separate entity has been doing a wonderful job with limited resources. As a unit, we can do more,” Collins said. “I’m here to help guide them, channel their creative ideas, and provide incentives to get the mission done.”

For the first time, they are all operating together under one umbrella, with Collins serving as leader, anchor, glue, and much needed “voice at the table.”

Drawing on extensive experience with student affairs as a dean and faculty member at the Fielding Graduate University School of Psychology, this clinical psychologist has a genuine interest in the mind-body approach to the health and wellness of UC Merced students.

“I was excited when I saw this unique opportunity; the whole place resonated with me,” Collins said of the newly created position. “I think the whole concept of health and wellness is very important, and I found it to be one of the pillars, one of the values of the university.”