Project Description

Emerson College is pleased to announce the national search for the newly created position of Associate Dean of Campus Life and Director, Counseling, Health & Wellness. This is an extraordinary leadership opportunity for a visionary and student-centered administrator with superior leadership and management skills. Building on the expertise of the staff in Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) and the Center for Health and Wellness, the Associate Dean will establish a framework for developing a forward-thinking approach to providing integrated holistic health and well-being for students. The programs and services require a strong focus on enhancing the student experience and supporting student success.

This founding role requires a leader with the knowledge, skills, and preparation to develop and lead an outstanding program of best practices in integrative college health and wellbeing with sound judgement, collaboration, and strategic thinking.  The Associate Dean will lead efforts to put Emerson on the cutting edge of effective health and wellness education and prevention strategies for college student populations. This position requires an exceptional communicator who will be proactive in establishing strong partnerships and engendering trust across campus and in the community; be an effective student advocate; lead with integrity, vision and humility; understand and demonstrate effective team motivation and leadership skills in managing change; and possess a strong background of proven leadership experience in one or more of the assigned areas of responsibility.

Emerson College is committed to an active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—in people, in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in the college’s intellectual, social, cultural, and geographical communities. Emerson endorses a framework of inclusive excellence, which recognizes that institutional excellence comes from fully engaging with diversity in all aspects of institutional activities.

The successful candidate will have knowledge of student development theory; understand the diverse health and wellbeing issues facing college students; use data in the process of decision making; have experience with crisis management and emergency response; and demonstrate commitment to diversity and inclusion, student success, student learning and development, as well as being an active member of the campus community.


About Emerson College

Emerson College is the nation’s only four-year institution dedicated exclusively to majors in communication and the arts in a liberal arts context. Its main campus is located in the center of the dynamic multicultural city of Boston, in close proximity to major publishing houses, arts institutions, and research centers. The college also has campuses in Los Angeles and the Netherlands. Emerson College enrolls over 4,300 graduate and undergraduate students from more than 70 countries and all 50 states.


Position Summary

Reporting to the Vice President and Dean of Campus Life, the Associate Dean provides vision, leadership, and management of integrated health and counseling services for the broader community at Emerson College, and is a key member of the Vice President and Dean of Campus Life’s leadership team. This newly created role is responsible for integrating formerly separate departments, Health Services, Wellness and Counseling Services. This position sets College strategy and vision for Health and Wellness and Counseling. The Associate Dean will develop and implement the team structure for the department. This position is responsible for overseeing operations, program planning and evaluation, personnel, budgeting, and all other functions of the student health care delivery system. This Associate Dean is responsible for ensuring that Emerson has an integrated approach to mental and physical health and wellness, prevention, education, and outreach campus wide. The Associate Dean will partner with colleagues from across the College including student affairs, Academic Affairs, Human Resources, The Social Justice Center, Student Success, and Student Care & Support.

The Associate Dean is responsible for shaping policy, leading program improvement and staff development initiatives, and coordinating crisis response. In addition, the Associate Dean will serve as an active Student Affairs and campus colleague in assessing and meeting community needs and leading the Center as a thoughtful contributor to the educational mission of the college.

Key responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Provide vision and leadership in the development, implementation and evaluation of all aspects of the health, counseling services’ and wellness operations.
  • Provide leadership to develop a college wide framework for health and wellbeing, including partnerships with academic administration, the social justice center and human resources.
  • Engage in staff education and development regarding shared values and cooperative practices within a multi-disciplinary healthcare setting.
  • Lead strategic planning and policy development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Provide administrative supervision and conduct performance appraisals of the team. Assist with recruitment. Serve as advocate for staff and initiatives with college administration. Direct and manage the engagement of staff in clinical, outreach, and campus service responsibilities. Promote professional development opportunities and support a strong ethos of professional engagement.
  • Supervise and oversee the department and contracted services annual budgets.   Ensure adequate breadth and depth in health and mental health, support services, and educational outreach. Stay current on external services and creative and alternative opportunities to deliver quality services.
  • Develop effective working relationships with state and local health departments, as well as key area health care facilities and neighboring institutions of higher education, serving as the primary college voice on health and wellbeing.
  • Provide leadership in the continued development of a campus wellness program, encompassing clinical care for a diverse student population, prevention, education and outreach. This includes cultivating partnerships with departments and offices including the Housing & Residence Education, Student Engagement and Leadership, Student Transition & Family Programs, Athletics, Intercultural Student Affairs, Student Conduct, Spiritual Life, Student Accessibility Services and the Career Development Center.
  • Partner with Human Resources in leveraging wellness resources and aligning the staff program with the student program.
  • Coordinate representation and participate in student and family orientation workshops and the on-boarding of new students. Contribute to training programs for student staff, student leaders, staff and faculty.
  • Partner with key campus colleagues with regard to crises response and serve on the Emergency Response Team.
  • Play a critical role in all pandemic related efforts and serve as the liaison with Massachusetts DPH.
  • Identify emerging trends and best practices relating to student health and wellness, and understand how student wellness influences each individual’s college experience, as well as the community as a whole. Recommend quality and service improvement initiatives, including those related to the physical plant. Contribute to strategic planning and resource development efforts related to wellness initiatives.
  • Serve on the VP’s divisional leadership team, shaping strategic plans and execution. Serve the college through collaborative engagement on campus committees.
  • Ensure accurate and confidential record keeping by the Health and Counseling Services, including data on assessment and usage of services and other information necessary to prepare annual reports and to evaluate the Center’s policies and procedures.
  • Ensure accurate function of Electronic Health Records.
  • Ensure timely updates to university handbooks, the departmental website, and other documents.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Vice President & Dean of Campus Life.


Minimum Qualifications

  • Advanced degree in public health, social work, psychology, medicine, nursing, health administration or related field.
    • Mental health and medical professionals must be currently licensed and must be eligible for licensing in Massachusetts.
  • Demonstrated leadership, supervisory and managerial experience, including oversight of financial resources and budgetary planning; experience and skill working on multiple projects with competing deadlines; and ability to establish goals and workload priorities.
  • Familiarity with the delivery of both medical and mental health services.
  • Demonstrated commitment to serving, and experience with effective outreach to, a diverse student population, as well as a commitment to supporting historically marginalized and underserved populations.
  • Experience with program development, outcomes assessment, and the use of data to enhance services and make decisions.
  • Solid understanding of HIPAA, FERPA, The Clery Act, Title IX and federal sexual assault regulations, along with a strong knowledge of holistic preventative health principles.
  • Strong consultation skills with particular ability to assess situations and recommend appropriate responses; ability to perform under stress when confronted with unusual or emergency situations.
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, and public speaking skills.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Terminal degree in a relevant field.
  • Ten to fifteen years of relevant experience that demonstrates preparedness for the administrative responsibilities of the position.
  • Progressive experience, including at least three years of administrative experience, in a higher education student health/mental health setting.
  • Experience in an upper-level administrative leadership position and/or training through an MBA or health care administration certificate program.
  • Experience in dealing with public health issues and infectious disease outbreaks
  • Experience in a residential liberal arts college environment.


Application Process

Emerson College has partnered with Keeling & Associates in this search process. Applications should include a cover letter and resume and must be sent, preferably in PDF format, to recruiting@KeelingAssociates.com. The subject line of the email should read “Emerson College – Associate Dean.”  Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to Dr. Jan Walbert, Vice President and Senior Consultant for Executive Search, Keeling & Associates, at jwalbert@KeelingAssociates.com. Applications received by November 19, 2020, will receive full consideration. The process will continue until the position is filled.


Diversity Statement

Emerson College believes diversity enriches the educational experience by providing students with the opportunity to learn from individuals who may have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Engagement with diversity in the curriculum, in our co-curricular offerings, and all other aspects of the College enhances the personal and intellectual growth of all members of our campus community. Emerson is committed to strengthening communities, including our workplace, by fostering the development of the intercultural competencies necessary for meaningful citizenship in an increasingly complex, pluralistic society. Emerson College does not discriminate on the basis of sex/gender in its educational programs or activities. Emerson has designated the Associate Vice President, Title IX, and Clery Coordinator to respond to inquiries regarding the College Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Title IX Coordinator may be reached at 8 Park Plaza, Transportation Bldg, Room 230 Boston, MA 02116; Telephone: 617-824-8999; email: titleix@emerson.edu

To download the position profile, click here.