Project Description

Iowa State University (ISU), a leading Carnegie-classified doctoral research university, is seeking a Director of Student Counseling Services to lead a talented team of mental health clinicians in providing holistic and innovative counseling services to support and address the needs and well-being of all ISU students. As the primary mental health expert on campus, the Director provides strategic vision and leadership for Student Counseling Services (SCS), oversees the provision of a variety of services and comprehensive behavioral health initiatives, and serves as a key member of the University’s Health and Wellness leadership team. With strong leadership and direction from the Associate Vice President for Student Health & Wellness, SCS plays an important part in the campus-wide commitment to creating a health-promoting university.

This is an outstanding role for an accomplished clinician and administrator with a strong understanding of the mental health needs of a globally diverse student body. The Director must be collaborative, creative, an excellent communicator, and possess the talents and strengths to serve as a visible leader inside and outside of the department and the division. Working to support ISU’s integrated health and wellness model, the Director will develop meaningful partnerships with University stakeholders—including students, families, other Student Health and Wellness staff, faculty, and other members of the Iowa State community—in support of student mental health and wellness as the key liaison on mental health issues, policies, and practices for the campus community.

To be effective in this role, the successful candidate will be a strategic and forward-thinking leader with a strong record of clinical, administrative, and supervision experience. The Director must demonstrate a deep appreciation of diversity and inclusive practices; a significant and visible record of being an inspirational leader; and an understanding of and an ability to navigate complex systems. This is an exceptional opportunity to make a positive contribution and difference in the lives of students and those who support them.

About the University

Located in the city of Ames, Iowa State University is a public, R1, land-grant institution with an enrollment of over 31,000 students. Originally established in 1858 as the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm by the legislature of the State of Iowa, the institution was founded on the ideals that higher education should be accessible to all and that the university should teach liberal and practical subjects.

The University’s mission and vision is to create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place and to lead the world in advancing the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology, and human creativity to work. With a strong emphasis on learning by doing, ISU students have opportunities to engage in real-world class experiences and cutting-edge research, to study in other countries, and to test their leadership skills in over 800 campus organizations. The University offers over 100 majors across 10 schools and colleges. For more information about Iowa State University, please refer to 

About Student Counseling Services

Student Counseling Services (SCS) enjoys a high-quality reputation as one of the oldest university counseling centers in the United States. Fully accredited by both the American Psychological Association (APA) and the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS), SCS provides clinical and campus-based services to help students achieve their educational and personal goals. 

SCS supports the holistic wellbeing of every Iowa State student and promotes a healthy and inclusive community through clinical services, outreach, consultation, crisis intervention, and collaboration with campus partners. With a strong commitment to the promotion and affirmation of diversity in its broadest sense, SCS is dedicated to advocacy, dialogue, and empowerment for the wellbeing of all individuals and communities. Utilizing a short-term therapy model, SCS offers a variety of services, including individual and group therapy, couples counseling, career exploration, holistic mind-body services, and a sport psychology program. 

Position Summary

The Director of Student Counseling Services (“SCS”) will report to the Associate Vice President for Student Health & Wellness within the Division of Student Affairs. The Director serves as a member of the Health & Wellness leadership team and works collaboratively and cooperatively with the leaders within the Division of Student Affairs to serve students’ needs. The Director will provide strategic, clinical, fiscal, and administrative vision and leadership regarding the provision of counseling services on campus, including assessment, crisis intervention, short-term individual therapy, referral services, outreach programming, and student support groups for a variety of different topics. The director will oversee and direct all services provided by SCS and will be responsible for ensuring that services meet the needs of a diverse student body and that SCS is in strict compliance with all federal and state laws and American Psychological Association professional ethics. The Director serves as one of the key liaisons to University departments, administrators, faculty, and staff on student mental health issues, policies, and practices and will be responsible for continual improvement of comprehensive behavioral health initiatives that incorporate multicultural diversity, inclusivity, and social justice concepts and principles to support overall student wellness. 


Job Duties 

Department Strategic Vision, Leadership and Planning (40%)

  • Oversees and maintains progress towards strategic planning and long-range goals, which align with Board of Regents, Iowa State University, Division of Student Affairs, and Student Health & Wellness unit strategic plans.
  • Serves as a University leader for Student Counseling Services, upholding and modeling the Iowa State University Principles of Community.
  • Researches, develops, recommends, administers, and evaluates policies and procedures for a comprehensive program for effectiveness and compliance with federal and state regulations, HIPAA law, and American Psychological Association (“APA”) professional ethics.
  • Guides and supports staff as they develop and implement on-going programs and services for Iowa State’s students and provides the necessary leadership to ensure that the highest level of customer service is provided to the students.
  • Leads comprehensive department assessment efforts.
  • Cultivates a culture of innovation and the pursuit of excellence in the management and delivery of services.
  • Continues learning and remains up-to-date on all aspects relating to the field of counseling services within higher education, including regulations and updates provided through professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association, American College Counseling Association, International Association of Counseling Services and others, and represents Iowa State University through professional service to those organizations.

Administration & Operations (30%)

  • Provides leadership on department policies and procedures associated with finances and human resources for the department and programs, including developing budget scenarios and creating systems for effective implementation and monitoring. Assumes accountability for the administrative leadership and management of the department this position oversees, including the stewardship of people, finances and other resources. Holds staff accountable for high performance and participation in a highly engaged culture by articulating expectations, monitoring performance, and providing feedback consistently across departments and areas for which they are responsible. Identifies methods to increase revenues and reduce costs.
  • Facilitates the effective organizational functioning of the Student Counseling Service Office.
  • Supervises the members of the SCS leadership team, including the Associate/Clinical Director, Associate Director of Training, Assistant Director for Outreach, and the Administrative Specialist. Depending on the licensure of the candidate, supervision of other senior staff and/or trainees may be included.
  • Mentors and coaches staff to achieve performance standards and to create a congenial and culturally inclusive atmosphere of excellent service and continual improvement.
  • Provides leadership and ensures a framework of equity and social justice is embedded into the day-to-day operations of SCS.
  • Oversees hiring, training and evaluation of professional, merit, intern, and graduate student staff. The staff consists of 20 professional staff, 2 support staff, 4 interns, and 4 graduate students.
  • Ensures SCS’s continued accreditation with the American Psychological Association and the International Association of Counseling Services.
  • Manages an overall budget of $2.1 million.

Direct Clinical Care (10%)

  • Conducts psychological assessments, crisis interventions, and psychotherapy in individual, couple, or group mode; makes appropriate referrals to other clinicians as necessary and writes reports, notes, and other records within the legal and ethical standards of Iowa law, HIPAA, and the APA code of ethics.
  • Participates in continuing education as needed to maintain licensure in the State of Iowa.

Collaboration, Partnerships and Outreach (15%)

  • Serves as a collaborative leader with departments reporting to the Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellness unit (Student Counseling, Thielen Student Health Center, Student Wellness, and Recreation Services) in the delivery of holistic, proactive health and wellness initiatives.
  • Works in collaboration with all university departments, colleagues across campus, and members of the local community to provide a student-centered program that supports the mission of the Division of Student Affairs and Iowa State University.
  • Uses partnerships with campus colleagues to create a culture of collaboration to set up every student for academic success and achievement.
  • Creates and champions initiatives that foster respectful communication, learning, and a spirit of cooperation and promotes a collaborative climate that recognizes, celebrates and rewards diversity.
  • Provides leadership regarding outreach and networking opportunities within and outside the University and establishes excellent working relationships with various University and community officials. 
  • Represents the SCS at various community functions.
  • Represent SCS and/or the AVP for Student Health & Wellness (as requested) on committees, which may include the Employee Assistance Program Advisory Committee, Critical Incident Response Team, and others.

Other Duties as Assigned (5%)

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree and 8 years of related experience.
  • Licensed as a PhD psychologist, PsyD, LISW, LMHC, or LMFT in any state or Canada.
  • Must obtain Iowa licensure within six months of start date and maintain license throughout duration of employment.

Preferred Education & Experience

  • Experience working in a university counseling center with an APA-accredited doctoral internship program.
  • Experience working with diverse client populations.
  • Experience leading a university counseling center.
  • Experience supervising professional psychologists and mental health clinicians.
  • Experience in crisis management.

Other Knowledge, Skills or Abilities

The successful candidate will be an experienced, strategic, and interpersonally strong leader with an excellent record of progressive operational, administrative and management experience; possess an in-depth understanding of the psychological challenges and mental health needs of a globally diverse university student body; have an understanding of a systems perspective with regard to strategic outreach and providing holistic and integrated health and counseling services to students; and have demonstrated expertise in crisis intervention and management. Communication skills are critical, and the successful candidate must have a good understanding of cross-cultural communications and possess strong writing skills and the ability to represent the University at the highest level.

This position serves at the pleasure of university administration and is exempt from certain P&S policies.

Application Instructions

Iowa State University 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 The subject line of the email should read “ISU – Director, SCS.” Confidential inquiries and nominations should be addressed to Gordon Winsor, Consultant and Director for Executive Search, at Review of applications will occur immediately, and the process will continue until the position is filled.

Iowa State University is a global and culturally diverse university committed to providing an inclusive, equitable, and diverse environment for both learning and employment. We know that diversity in experience and perspective is vital to advancing innovation, critical thinking, solving complex problems, and building an inclusive academic community. At Iowa State, we translate these values into action by seeking individuals who have experience working with diverse students, colleagues, and constituents. The university has an expectation that all employees will demonstrate a contribution to diversity and inclusion as embodied in Iowa State University’s Principles of Community.

Iowa State University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital status, disability, or protected veteran status and will not be discriminated against. Inquiries can be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity, 3410 Beardshear Hall, 515 Morrill Road, 515 294-7612, email

Download a copy of the position profile, click here.