Meet CAPS Director, Dr. Gary Dunn

Students are often curious about the folks who work over at CAPS and what they’re like. We’re pleased to bring to you our new feature, Meet the CAPS Staff, where we’ll be showcasing a different staff member every post so that you can get to know us a little bit better. First up, I’d like you to meet Gary Dunn, our director!


Gary Dunn, Ph.D.

What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?

I am in my third year as Director of CAPS.  My role is multifaceted and involves seeing students in our crisis service or initial phone appointments, consulting with staff, supervising doctoral and post-doctoral trainees, addressing staff concerns, working with other areas of the Student Health Center, and interfacing with the University administration.

What is your favorite part of your job?

It is this variability I enjoy most about my job.  I particularly enjoy being part of a team that solves a difficult problem or fixes a “broken” system that results in us being able to provide better care for the UCSC students.

Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.

Being relatively new to campus, I am still amazed by the natural beauty of our surroundings and I am still finding new paths and tranquil spots for reflection.  I love the view of the bay as I leave campus every day.  The Farm is amazing, as is the “secret” tunnel under the road on the way to the quarry.  I once visited the Porter Cave, which was quite an interesting adventure. I look forward to what I might find tomorrow.

What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?

Santa Cruz is a wonderful place to live and play.  I live in the Santa Cruz mountains and have lately been working on a vegetable garden, some fruit trees, a flagstone path, and putting in plants around our house. It’s hard work but really rewarding, especially if I can keep the deer, gophers, heat, and weeds at bay! At night I love to cook or find a great restaurant, and visit one of the many musical hotspots around town. We caught the Santa Cruz Blues Festival this year, which was a lot of fun.

What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?

I went to Cornell University in New York and it was an all-round great experience for me. I do wish I was more aware of their counseling services. As I think back, there were some challenging times when I could have benefited from some help.  We are working really hard to make sure ALL of the students here are aware of our services and are comfortable utilizing them.  We are here for you.