Benek Altayli, director of the University Counseling Center, is the winner of the annual Service Excellence Award for her contributions to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
The University of Colorado Staff Council annually recognizes and rewards those individuals from each CU campus and system administration who provide outstanding volunteer service, enriching their campus, community, and the university as a whole.
Altayli’s service will be acknowledged and she will receive a $1,000 award at the All-Staff Council Conference later this month.
Altayli has been director of the counseling center since August 2008. She is responsible for supervising interns, conducting counseling sessions with individual students, directing operations and is on call for crisis situations. Most institutions the size of UCCS require seven or more full-time employees to perform the tasks accomplished by Altayli, the interns and two counselors who work part-time.
Altayli also coordinates counseling center activities with the Student Health Center, Disability Services and Public Safety. She is a member of the Student Response Team, serves on the Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee, and the Committee for Alcohol Awareness. She teaches courses, too, and receives high praise for taking initiative, working diligently and stretching limited resources to do more than meet minimum requirements.
Finding time and energy for a host of volunteer activities, she actively crusades against suicide, domestic violence and many other ills that afflict society. Altayli shares awareness and education with the campus community and other groups, speaking on mental health issues and bringing in speakers from other agencies. She volunteers at the CU Aging Center as a clinician and works with UCCS women’s soccer team players to help them enhance their performance.
One of Altayli’s most significant contributions was helping implement a program to counsel area firefighters. Coping with their high-risk occupation, firefighters are subject to post-traumatic stress disorder, among other pressures. They get the help they need through the program.