Faculty Staff Assistance Program

Hours and Contact

  • Hours
  • M - F: 8:00am - 4:00pm

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The Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) is an assessment, referral, coaching, consultation and short-term counseling service available to all full and part-time employees of the University of Maryland.  Since 1988, we have worked with thousands of employees to address a variety of work-related conflicts and personal issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, relationship and family conflicts, as well as medical, legal and financial concerns.

Before You Visit

FSAP schedules their own appointments and will do their very best to get you in as quickly as possible. For scheduling, please contact Tom Ruggieri at (301) 314-8170 or Joan Bellsey at (301) 314-8099

Prior to your visit, please read over our Notice of Privacy Practices and complete our Consent, Assignment of Benefits and Financial Responsibility Agreement.  

Though many of our services are provided in-house we can also make community referrals utilizing your health insurance. Our services are provided at no cost and are confidential. We are located in the Health Center.

More About the Faculty Staff Assistance Program

About the Faculty Staff Assistance Program

The Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) has been in existence on the College Park campus since 1984. The FSAP became a full-time program in 1988 and since then we have seen over 5,000 employees (including hundreds of their family members) for a variety of problem areas, including job difficulties; alcohol and drug problems; marital and family problems; emotional distress (anxiety, depression, stress-related disorders, etc.); legal, financial and a variety of other concerns.

The FSAP is available to meet with all full and part-time employees for assessment, referral and in many instances, short-term counseling services at no cost. Employees tend to use the program for an average of three visits, although we are able to work with employees for up to 10 sessions. When referrals are made, attention is paid to the employee's ability to afford such services, the location of the provider and the provider's area of expertise. We also help employees weave their way through the maze of managed care and insurance providers, ensuring that you receive the best services available. In many cases when an employee cannot afford to seek help outside of the University, the FSAP will often provide the service here on campus.

We are aware of the sensitive nature of all communications with employees and are extremely careful about honoring every employee's right to confidentiality. We understand that no one would use the FSAP if they did not trust that the information shared with the counselors stayed in our offices and we work hard to assure employees that this trust will remain. In cases where communications need to be shared with a supervisor, they can only occur if an employee signs a consent form, specifically stating what information can be shared, with whom, and for how long a period of time.

We are also available to consult with supervisors & department heads regarding how to best handle a difficult employee or a difficult situation at work. Guidance is provided on how to best refer an employee to the FSAP, with an emphasis on early intervention and attention to the problems. Coaching is also provided to managers on how they can best work with their employees. This approach is one that usually is successful in allowing departments to hang on to valued faculty and staff. 

The FSAP's Emergency Loan Fund (FSAP-ELF) assists UMCP faculty and staff members who are experiencing a personal financial emergency and have exhausted all other avenues of support. For more information about applying for an emergency loan or contributing to the loan fund, call 314-8170 or 314-8099 or read more about it under ELF.

FSAP Counselors are also available to provide presentations on a variety of topics including Managing Stress; Supervising the Hard to Reach Employee; Negotiating Conflict; Coping with Change; Interventions for Substance Abusing Employees and Family Members; Building Boundaries and Saying No.. Counselors are also available to meet with departments for a debriefing following a death or other traumatic event.

Meet The FSAP Staff

Tom Ruggieri

Picture of Tom RuggieriTom became the Coordinator of the Faculty Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) in 1988. This was a return home as he had graduated with a B.S. from College Park in 1980 and was raised close by in Hyattsville. Tom has been in the mental health and substance abuse fields since 1977, having worked in a variety of settings, including crisis centers, adolescent group homes, hospitals, family counseling centers, and substance abuse units. Tom received his Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore in 1984. Since then, he has provided employee assistance program consulting services to a variety of organizations, both nationally and internationally. Prior to his work at UMD, he was a manager for the Sheppard Pratt Employee Assistance Programs.

"People often ask me why I do this kind of work, listening to people complain and present difficult situations all day long. What they do not realize is how fulfilling it is to see people pull themselves up and out of what appears to them to be an impossible situation. It is also the only job that I can think of where people come in and are totally honest with you about some very personal aspects of their lives. I consider that to be an honor, to have people place that kind of trust in me."

Tom is married and the father of three grown children. 

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Joan Bellsey

Picture of Joan BellseyJoan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Addictions Counselor. She joined the FSAP staff in January, 2000. Prior to coming to UMD, Joan was the Senior Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Counselor for the US Postal Service Headquarters. She has been in the field since 1990, providing EAP services to Housing and Urban Development, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Pentagon, and the Office of Patent and Trademark. Joan received her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore in 1991. She has worked as a clinical social worker for the Washington Home and Hospice and has provided substance abuse supervision for the Whitman Walker Clinic. Joan has a private practice in MD and DC.

"I love the idea of providing counseling to employees and their families in a University setting. There are so many opportunities to help people cope with change in this dynamic environment. I am excited to be part of this university, using my clinical skills to help the faculty and staff ".

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Client Feedback

Client Feedback

“Great!!! don't go anywhere i have much more work to do, and you guys know better than anybody...stuff happens!!!”

“Talking with the FSAP counselor was invaluable.  I couldn't resolve the situation or decide what to do before I went to talk with him - I just worried instead.  He helped me make sense of it, take better care of myself, sleep better, and so, perform better here.”

“I've literally thanked God for Maryland's Faculty Staff Assistance Program.  It was so convenient to be able to get help right on campus.  I'm not sure if I would have reached out to an off-campus program or counselor, but I definitely needed someone to talk to and to help me learn how to deal with and improve my situation.”

“The FSAP counselor was outstanding - knowledgeable, professional, courteous, funny, and focused. I would recommend him any time to a colleague in need of support.”

“As a manager, employee relationships are one of my most difficult tasks.  I’d rather work on an old rusted piece of equipment than wrangle with a difficult employee problem.  Your resource is very valuable to us all.”

“The FSAP counselor is a wonderful counselor and resource.  I truly owe my life and my career to her help.  About 10 years after my initial problem, she continues to be available and a great help when needed.  Thank you so much for this program.   Please encourage the higher-ups to maintain this service to employees of the university -it is extremely important.”

“My experience with the FSAP has been outstanding.  They have assisted me in my addiction to alcohol. Without the FSAP program I would most likely have lost my job at UMCP and would still be battling the "insanity" that my life had become.  Without hesitation I have recommended the FSAP to several co-workers struggling with work & personal problems and the office has always been receptive in a timely manner.  This is one program at UMCP that should never be denied or have a reduction in funding or staffing.  Thank you for everything you do.”

“Thank you so much for providing this excellent service to faculty and staff.  It really makes a difference to have a place to go for help or a clear perspective when life sometimes becomes overwhelming and you're not sure who to turn to that you can trust.  Each time I have used this service through the years I have found support, good factual information, nonjudgmental clarity, and a lifeline when I have needed it.  I have referred colleagues going through difficult times in their work or personal lives and everyone has been grateful for the tip.  Thank you!   It makes a huge difference to know that this helping hand is there.”