Reporting to the Vice President for Student & Campus Life (SCL), the Assistant Vice President, Student & Campus Life, Health and Wellbeing (AVP) provides strategic direction and management oversight for student support and services that foster a holistic view of wellbeing on campus as a foundation for student success. With a sharp focus on the needs of students today and in the future, and a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the AVP will provide leadership and vision for a comprehensive view of wellbeing on the Ithaca campus. As a key divisional leader, the AVP will contribute significantly to SCL’s purpose to Inspire Transformation through strategic planning and goal achievement, budget management, staff development and overall success of an evolving and integrated student experience in a highly complex and decentralized institution.

The AVP will provide direct leadership and programmatic oversight for all administration, policies, budgets, services, communication strategies and staff within the department of Cornell Health which includes; the Skorton Center for health initiatives, counseling & psychological services, outpatient clinical service delivery, campus public health, occupational medicine programs, student disability services (SDS) and components of the self-funded student health benefits plan. In total, the position is responsible for approximately 220 employees, a $32M operating budget, and enrollment and billing for an approximate $40M self-funded insurance plan.

The position is expected to be a highly visible member of the university community that interacts across divisional lines and represents SCL internally and externally including with community and governmental agencies as well as the general public on health related matters as appropriate.

Across the institution, the AVP plays a pivotal role in assisting the University to enhance student success by working collaboratively and creatively with the entire campus community to bring a sense of vision and cohesion to wellbeing at Cornell. Key internal relationships include; the Office of the Dean of Students, Athletics & Physical Education, Housing & Residential Life, Risk Management, Environmental Health & Safety, as well as the deans, faculty, and staff of the undergraduate colleges, graduate, and professional schools for opportunities to bridge the various dimensions of wellbeing inside and outside of the classroom.

The AVP also plays a central role in providing critical incident follow-up for students and parents. Through a mature and supportive approach, the individual engenders trust, fosters a collegial environment, and brings out the best in students and colleagues. The AVP will: 

  • Engage the University community and provide insight regarding the essential strategies required for the future service of students.
  • Provide strategic and decisive leadership through the development and implementation of short- and long-range plans.
  • Create a vision to support management of a professional and well-trained staff focused on support for the institutional and departmental missions.
  • Enhance and inspire innovative thinking.
  • Provide leadership and oversight of all aspects of Cornell Health: the Skorton Center for Health Initiatives, Medical Services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Occupational Medicine, Student and Disability Services (SDS), and Administrative Services.
  • Build campus and community collaborations.
  • Serve as a visible student life administrator.
  • Ensure high standards of fiscal and administrative stewardship.


Position Requirements

  • Advanced degree in one or more areas focused on student health such as public or community health, mental health, medical services or a related field
  • At least ten years of progressively responsibly experience in a higher education, health care management or similar setting that demonstrates preparedness for the high-level administrative responsibilities of the role.
  •  A deep understanding of the connection between health & wellbeing and student success.
  • A demonstrated track record of advancing diversity and enhancing inclusiveness; an ability to bring groups and individuals to common ground across lines of difference.
  • A terminal degree (Ed.D., Ph.D., J.D., PsyD., etc. in a related field or M.D. or D.O. in a primary care specialty) and experience including medical and mental health services is preferred. Clinicians must be currently licensed and must be eligible for licensing in New York.


Candidates will demonstrate experience supporting the following expectations:

  • Sincere engagement with students, the campus and the community; a strong, visible presence and active participation in a range of student interests and activities; demonstrated capacity to communicate broadly across the University, cultivate and sustain collegial relationships, and build unity around difficult issues; an active listener, facilitator, convener and mediator; the flexibility, resiliency, and creativity to thrive in a lean environment.
  • Proven skills as a decisive leader and manager, demonstrated ability to mentor, develop and support staff, particularly through large scale change and provide successful oversight of people, budget, and space; a track record for inspiring colleagues with energy and a dedication to their professional development, as well as a commitment to clarity and accountability; capacity to lead and manage change in a large, complex and highly decentralized environment.
  • A liveliness of intellect and a commitment to engage collaboratively with academics and faculty, responding effectively to their needs and concerns; a record of partnering with constituents to advance integration of health and wellbeing campus wide. 
  • Experience in and knowledge of student development theory and student affairs trends in higher education, including issues such as hazing, sexual assault, and mental health. Sophisticated interpersonal skills and superb judgment; a firm, but fair, approach to the resolution of conflict; the capacity to make and stand by difficult decisions, always mindful of the need for fairness, consistency, and the potential impact of each decision on individuals and the broader community.
  • Experience with outcomes-based assessment; information technology evaluation and implementation; and budget development and fiscal management. Candidates will also possess outstanding written and verbal communication skills; strong supervisory experience; the ability to persuade and encourage others; and skills in task prioritization.


Strategic and Decisive Leadership and Management

The Assistant Vice President oversees the development and implementation of short- and long-range plans and provides an organizational framework that supports a multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to developmental and wellbeing opportunities across the various areas of oversight. Effectively communicate a shared vision, priorities, goals, and objectives for student health and wellbeing. Strengthen the existing models and provide leadership and planning for complementary on-campus programming including programs specific for new and continuing students. Ensure that on-going assessment and evaluations (tied to student success) are executed, and that findings are shared with appropriate audiences in and outside of the division. Identifies organizational and cultural changes needed to adapt strategically to changing cultural, generational and environmental demands.

This position is responsible for establishing collaborative systems and processes to ensure effective and efficient delivery of health and wellbeing-related services and strategies to the campus. These include primary care medical services, counseling and psychiatry services, student disability services, and a range of campus-based prevention strategies. Oversees the administration and management of the student health insurance program.

The AVP will serve as a key thought partner for the Vice President for Student & Campus Life and in collaboration with other members of the VP Council should be able to seamlessly function in the VP’s absence. They will possess shared SCL values, a strong sense of self, and the capacity to lead with soft power and use persuasive authority to achieve the vision and goals of the division.

With recent changes to student support models within Cornell Health, the AVP will need to lead and skillfully guide the staff and units within the portfolio through highly developed change management skills. Build, develop, train, lead and evaluate a strong leadership team committed to innovative practices, collaboration, quality services, community support and diversity and inclusivity.

The AVP is expected to be a leader not only within their portfolio but also within the Division of Student & Campus Life  and the broader institution. The AVP is responsible for ensuring responsible areas dedicate resources where they are most needed. They will work collaboratively with peers in Student & Campus Life and build strong relationships with staff in the various colleges across Cornell.


Department Functional Oversight

The AVP leads, develops, and promotes a qualified, professional, and well-trained staff to approach their work with a growth mindset; support the departmental and divisional mission, and ensures compliance with all policies, regulations, accreditation standards, and laws.

Inspires innovative thinking; empowers staff to achieve excellence in their work; and demonstrates a keen understanding of business operations and organizational systems, processes, departments, and functions that enhance collaboration among the unit directors that have responsibilities in the following areas:

Skorton Center for Health Initiatives – advances student and campus health through institutional leadership, education, research, and public engagement. Through collaboration with clinical colleagues and campus partners, the Skorton Center provides strategic direction for public-health approaches to the promotion of mental health and well-being, and the prevention of suicide, alcohol and other drug abuse, sexual violence, and hazing. The AVP will provide senior leadership for the development, implementation, and evaluation of campus-wide health initiatives through engagement with the divisional leadership, serving on health-related campus committees, and by chairing the Campus Health Executive Committee.

Medical Services – provides holistic clinical care to address students’ biopsychosocial needs within a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH), a population health, data-driven primary care approach to service delivery.  Staff include: clinicians (MD/DO/PA/NP), nursing (RN/LPN/CMA), behavioral health consultants (PhD, LCSW, PsyD), nutrition/dieticians (RDN), physical therapists (PT), laboratory, pharmacy and radiology professionals; clinical administrative support professionals are jointly supervised with the Director of CAPS. The primary care model is supported by clinical program areas: sports medicine (including provision of primary care and team physician responsibility to over 1200 intercollegiate athletes, clinical oversight of athletic trainers, communication with coaches), sexual health (including coordination with the Tompkins County Health Department on issues related to campus and community public health), eating disorders (including communication with campus partners and national treatment centers to coordinate care for students in treatment and recovery), urgent care (including oversight of a physician-led, nurse-delivered care team to support rapid access to self-care guidance), physical therapy, nutrition, and behavioral health (all of which include opportunities for immediate and routine referral from primary care to support students’ holistic needs while on campus).

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) – With over 40 multidisciplinary staff members, CAPS serves approximately 20% of the student population with over 24,000 visits each year. Services include brief goal-focused interventions, individual and group counseling, skill-building workshops, psychiatry services, and referrals to specialized care. CAPS staff members also support the mental health of the campus environment by engaging with student groups, providing faculty and staff with education and consultation about how to best identify and support students in distress, and partnering with colleagues on campus mental health initiatives. CAPS staff members collaborate with primary care medical staff and others to provide whole-person care to student. CAPS also provides clinical supervision of the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.

Occupational Medicine – provides needs assessment, program development and quality assurance for Cornell’s Occupational Medicine program. Coordinate with Environmental Health and Safety, the Division of Human Resources and the Vice President for Research in development of program scope and services.

Student & Disability Services (SDS) – works in partnership with Cornell faculty, staff, and students to ensure that all aspects of student life are accessible, equitable, and inclusive of individuals with disabilities. SDS is responsible to establish and disseminate criteria for disability services, meet with students to discuss access needs, receive and store confidential disability documentation to support a student’s eligibility for disability services and accommodations, collaborate with faculty and staff regarding essential course and/or program requirements and appropriate reasonable accommodations, and provide campus leadership of diversity efforts that promote disability equity and inclusion.

Administrative Services – provides infrastructure and support for all Cornell Health Departments, programs, and services; includes Health Informatics, Quality Initiatives, Communications, Facilities, Student Health Benefits and Planning and Finance.


Campus and Community Collaborations

The AVP will facilitate collaboration across campus in order to assess real needs, develop close partnerships, and provide high-end service to constituencies. Student health & wellbeing is both broad and deep, touching a number of campus entities both internally and external to Student & Campus Life.

Internally, the AVP will partner and collaborate with key administrators and other colleagues across campus to provide student development, wellness, and other health-related consultation services and public health functions; maintain current knowledge of best practices and trends in the provision of related programs and services, including referral resources available to serve students in the local community. In addition, the AVP will represent Student & Campus Life on various campus wide and community efforts; collaborate with faculty on research relevant to Cornell Health programs and services; engage in multi-institutional research collaborations to evaluate innovative approaches to prevention, intervention, and service delivery; and conduct other research as needed to support program goals.

Externally, the AVP will represent Student & Campus Life and Cornell University with local/regional hospitals, local mental health agencies and NY state department of public health, among others, on community health related matters; ensure compliance with relevant federal and state laws; and serve as a knowledgeable resource for regulatory and statutory requirements, licensing requirements and accreditation standards

The AVP will consult with Cornell’s internal communication teams to assist with broad messaging – including the development and maintenance of a wide range of communication vehicles for informing the campus community and other interested public concerning the programs and objectives of Cornell Health.


Serve as a Visible Student Life Administrator

Cornell students are eager to engage directly with campus administrators at all levels within the University. The AVP will engage with students, build trust and respect, and provide a model of engagement with students for other administrators and faculty. This individual will be expected to sustain a high level of involvement with students, and to be deeply engaged in their campus experiences. As social media and technology change the way students interact with one another and the world, the AVP must understand these changes and use these tools effectively.

The AVP will be responsible for building culture, community and support around various campus initiatives often with competing interests and high visibility. Bring the campus together and provide successful resolution to challenging or divisive issues.

The AVP will promote a culture within the division that balances the need to support students in their academic and personal endeavors with the need to encourage their growth into autonomous and independent adults. Cornell students have a long history of activism. The students expect their voices to be heard and do not hesitate to speak up and out on issues. Through attentive listening, authentic attempts at responsiveness and transparency about decisions and decision-making processes, the AVP will reinforce the students’ confidence in the administration.


Fiscal and Administrative Management

The AVP will lead the budget planning, development, and management. This position will assume ultimate responsibility for formulation of the annual departmental budget; provide leadership to ensure sound fiscal stewardship; review reports on financial performance in relation to budget and strategic objectives on a regular schedule (monthly, quarterly, and annually) and make adjustments as needed; contribute to, provide oversight of revenue enhancement, and cost saving initiatives; and anticipate and plan for adequate space to house evolving Cornell Health programs and services

The AVP recruit, hire, retain and supervise multiple high-level directors and establish expectations for the overall environment of the department and performance of the staff. The AVP will promote and sustain the ability of staff members to effectively deliver quality customer service within the context of all aspects of job performance.

The AVP will provide professional development opportunities for employees that will enable them to gain the skills and tools necessary to assume leadership positions within the organization; oversee professional development and performance management of direct reports; and interpret and enforce appropriate university human resources policies.

The AVP will be responsible to take appropriate steps to be compliant with state and federal laws and campus policies. This includes maintaining and protecting highly sensitive and confidential information.


About Cornell University

Cornell is a private, Ivy League university and the land-grant university for New York state. Cornell’s mission is to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community. Cornell also aims, through public service, to enhance the lives and livelihoods of students, the people of New York and others around the world.

Cornell is situated in picturesque Ithaca, New York, the heart of the Finger Lakes. Ithaca is home to two academic institutions, state parks, waterfalls, gorges, and a wide range of art galleries, theaters, eateries, wineries, and breweries. Ithaca has something to suit all ages and interests!


Application Process

Cornell University has engaged Keeling & Associates, LLC to support the search for this exceptional opportunity. Applications should include a resume/curriculum vitae and a cover letter addressing your interest and qualifications for the position. Application materials must be sent, preferably as PDFs, to recruiting@KeelingAssociates.com with the subject heading “Cornell  – AVP.” All materials received by July 16, 2019, will receive full consideration.

Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to the K&A senior consultant leading this search, Dr. Jan Walbert, at jwalbert@KeelingAssociates.com.


EEO Statement:

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recogniz