Student Services at WISR

Meet our Student Services Coordinator

WISR’s Student Services Coordinator is faculty member, Sudia Paloma McCaleb, EdD ( Dr. Paloma McCaleb specializes in helping students address potentially unmet needs especially in relationship to their education. These are the primary roles of the Student Services Coordinator:

  • An additional person whom students may seek out for added academic support, especially when they are having difficulties in progressing with their studies, and/or when they want to either change faculty advisors or gain the support from an additional faculty person. This will help us in our current, more intense efforts, to make sure that all enrolled students make progress during every six-month period.
  • A person whom students may seek out to get counseling referrals, including when they may be uncomfortable asking their faculty advisor for a referral.

  • A person whom students may seek out who is familiar with WISR’s informal career network of alumni and friends of WISR, and with some of the resources available through our online “Career Center” of informative links.

  • An additional person, beyond the Board Chair and the CEO whom students may contact in the event of a sexual harassment issue, as well as in cases where there may be bullying or misunderstandings involving other students or faculty.

Entering students are now informed about the role and contact information for the Student Services Coordinator as part of their Admissions Interview and in their initial meeting with a faculty advisor. Information about the Student Services Coordinator’s role and contact information is published on WISR’s website and in the catalog.

Faculty are informed of the Student Services Coordinator’s role and contact information, and are aware of the importance of referring students who may be in need of any of the assistance and services provided by the Student Services Coordinator.

Also, as a graduate faculty member, the Student Services Coordinator participates in faculty meetings.


As a small institution serving mature, working adults, WISR does not provide special student services associated with more traditional universities, such as a counseling center or job placement office.

However, as a part of the teaching-learning process, WISR faculty regularly give students personal assistance with such matters as career planning, setting personal learning goals, and evaluating their impact on other life decisions. Faculty refer students to other students, alumni, adjunct faculty members, Board members, and others in the community who may be able to help them think through career decisions, find volunteer learning opportunities, and seek jobs.


All sexual harassment or assault incidents are to be reported immediately to the WISR President John Bilorusky (510-601-8164; 510-459-1447; ) or the Student Services Coordinator (510-644-1724; In an emergency, dial 911 for immediate attention.


Following are the highlights of the purpose of the Counseling Referral Guide and the topics covered:

WISR actively seeks a diverse population of students and faculty: racial, religious and ethnic minorities, non-traditional students, first generation college students, LGBTQI+, and international students who may have unique challenges in adjusting to the demands of a WISR education, or for that matter any academic study. While WISR looks for and interviews students for their capacity to manage the demands of its educational program, there may be situations where counseling can also be helpful to these students as they navigate developmental and adjustment issues on the path to fulfilling their academic goals

As an institution, WISR may have students with trauma history, substance abuse, major mental illness, chronic long-term relational problems and difficulties to take responsibility for oneself. When students have academic challenges, they may be dealing with crisis, needing mental health support, needing psychiatric attention and academic intervention in order to continue at WISR.

At WISR, all staff and faculty, and all programs, may have contact with students with mental health issues. WISR has a shared responsibility to respond to students with care for their personal well-being as well as concern for their academic success. WISR faculty and staff regularly consult with faculty, staff, parents and significant others about students of concern and how to support them. WISR has a personalized academic approach, with frequent one-on-one meetings between students and faculty. Thus, our approach to mentoring/advising students, enables staff and faculty to become aware of these issues in the “natural course” of meetings with students. WISR will designate faculty and other appropriately knowledgeable professionals to train other faculty in WISR, in how to manage students with challenging needs.

The information contained in this guide explains when professional counseling might be beneficial to an individual and how to make a referral for mental health support. The concept of professional confidentiality and information about other types of referral and consultation services are also discussed.


The Western Institute for Social Research is an institution established for mature adults who are actively engaged in the work of the communities where they live. WISR does not provide dormitories and assumes no responsibility to find or help students find housing. Indeed, housing is not readily available near WISR’s location, and one-bedroom apartments can cost $2,000 to $3,000 per month, or more, to rent. Furthermore, students are not required to live in close proximity to WISR, or even in Northern California. Sometimes, students who are visiting from a distance may receive informal suggestions from faculty regarding nearby hotels that they may wish to investigate as possible places to stay. Students visiting WISR are typically able to find good accommodations for between $120 and $150 per night.

In any case, all of WISR’s programs may be pursued at a distance.


At WISR, career development and networking is integrated into the entire learning process. However, the assistance with Career Development and Networking does not include job placement, nor is anything stated here (in the catalog, in the enrollment agreement, and on the WISR website) meant to imply that students should expect job placement assistance, or any guarantees of job placement.

Explore the WISR Career Center.



Anyone wanting to speak with WISR’s Student Services Coordinator is encouraged to call her at 510-644-1724; (vm) or e-mail at


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