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Renaming the Counseling Center

The “Counseling and Human Relations Center” to the “Michael L. Fischler Counseling Center.”

By Elizabeth Barden; Editor in Chief
On January 31, 2016

Renaming the Counseling Center

The “Counseling and Human Relations Center” to the “Michael L. Fischler
Counseling Center.”


Elizabeth Barden
Editor in Chief

On Wedneday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m., a dedication will be held at the center for the renaming of the Counseling and Human Relations Center. The center will be renamed as the “Michael L. Fischler Counseling Center.”

“The naming of the center is something we are happy to have happen,” said Robert Hlasny, the new Director of the Counseling Center. “It is very well deserved and appropriate. Mike has been the guiding force for many years.”

Dr. Michael Fischler joined the Plymouth State University community in 1975 as a professor in the education department. Forty-five years later, Dr. Fischler continues to teach but has brought much more to this campus.

Dr. Fischler is an instructor in the departments of Educational Leadership, Learning and Curriculum and Elementary Education and Childhood Studies and has served as the director of the Counseling and Human Relations Center up until this year.

His research has pertained to areas in cultural diversity, intercultural communication, social behavior, psychological counseling, multicultural education and prejudice reduction. Dr. Fischler is known for bringing a new kind of learning to the classroom and his emphasis on mindfulness, intercultural awareness and tolerance are well known by his students.

“I go with life and when I find things that are not facilitative for developmental growth within our world, society, on our campus…I confront it,” said Fischler. “I’ll try to find a way compassionately to confront it.”

In regards to his teaching he said, “I teach my students in the undergraduate program, which I love my undergraduate students, it’s where I began.”

“I teach a master’s program and I taught the doctoral course this past Sunday. [In those classes] I teach them how to be change agents, I teach them how to accept their imperfections, that it’s courageous to see your weaknesses and then work on changing them so they can be more transformative…your job is to transform and make this a better world.”

The Counseling and Human Relations Center was established in 1975, thanks to Dr. Fischler’s vision. “It started very unique. There’s no counseling center like this. It was something that started with me feeling that teaching was not enough I need to administratively, sort of, earn my chops by doing and making what I teach other people how to do happen here.”

He teared up when speaking about his staff. “It’s developing a staff at that counseling center that is sacred. People like Terri Johnson…that’s my sister and Bob Hlasny…that’s my brother,” said Dr. Fischler. “Every one of those clinicians, I’ve held. We’ve gone through hard times together.”

Having joined the Counseling Center staff in 1998, part-time, and working with Dr. Fischler for over 17 years, Robert Hlasny said, “I have very much enjoyed working with him.”

“We have a great relationship,” said Hlasny. “I just spoke with him yesterday so we do keep in touch.” In May, Robert Hlasny took the position as Director of the Counseling Center.

On behalf of the dedication, Dr. Fischler described how he didn’t know what to say and he is most excited about having the vision and mission of the Center incorporated in the plaque, so that PSU community would know what they are working toward.

He said that he wanted to attach the mission statement to the name, reading, “Committed through acts of kindness, consciousness and compassion to making this a better campus, community and world.”

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Dr. Fischler, “every moment with my students is to accomplish this.”

Director Hlasny said, “Those words really capture a lot of the underlying philosophy that Mike brought to the center and we continue to embrace and apply it best we can.”

Again, the dedication will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. at the center and will be followed by a reception held at the Centre Lodge in the Bradford Room.

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