Project Description

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) has partnered with Keeling & Associates in their search for an experienced and forward-thinking leader to serve as the Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Student Health and Wellness. This newly created position—overseeing Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Health Education and Promotion—will serve as the catalyst for further integration of student health and wellness functions that support student learning, well-being, and success. Working collaboratively with the Directors of these areas, the AVP will foster a holistic and multifaceted approach to health and wellness that meets the current and developing needs of the College’s dynamic student population. Competitive candidates will demonstrate strong management and supervisory experience; deep knowledge of student development and emerging trends and best practices in college health and wellness; excellent communication, collaboration, and interpersonal skills; and a commitment to advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice efforts. 

Position Summary

The AVP for Student Health and Wellness is responsible for the successful design, delivery, and continuous evaluation of and appropriate modifications to all aspects of student health, wellness, and support areas ensuring they are aligned with RISD’s strategic mission and staffed appropriately to deliver on commitments to serving a diverse student body. With a deep understanding of key trends and best practices and, based on feedback from and learnings shared by colleagues across campus and throughout the region, the AVP will develop and instill a strong culture of health and wellness that allows RISD students to enhance their capacity to learn and develop lifelong skills for success. The AVP will develop and implement a comprehensive, holistic, and integrated health approach to services, programs, protocols, and policies in order to positively affect the physical and mental health and well-being of RISD students.

Essential Functions/Duties


  • Provide leadership and oversight to the following departments, in collaboration with the directors of these functional areas: Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Health Education and Promotion. Create, recommend, and implement short- and long-term plans to achieve desired strategy, supporting RISD’s mission.
  • Build and professionally develop a cohesive team of staff capable of successfully delivering on or exceeding plans/objectives. Facilitate and promote effective partnerships and collaborations to accomplish departmental and divisional goals and priorities. 
  • Partner and collaborate with other student affairs departments and their teams, as well as departments throughout campus and faculty, providing expert advice and education, promoting and advancing health and wellness priorities, and supporting collaborative programming.
  • Create and implement approaches to support and enhance all aspects of student well-being.
  • Through collaboration and dialogue, design and create programs and strategies to identify and address access, equity, social justice, and other issues affecting students’ well-being.
  • With a deep knowledge of health and wellness trends and best practices, develop, refine, implement, and educate the RISD community on student health policies and procedures. Interpret and evaluate related policies and procedures across the Division of Student Affairs, offering expert advice and guidance. 
  • Identify trends, promising practices, and visionary strategies to assist each area to reach the most successful outcomes for current and future RISD students.
  • Review, oversee, and approve the budgetary and financial planning process for each area supervised. 
  • Meet regularly with directors of each area to provide guidance and direction in ensuring the effective assessment, administration, management, and delivery of services.

Management and Compliance:

  • Hire, train, develop, evaluate, and supervise all direct reports.
  • Delegate and ensure staff accountability for excellence through clearly defined and measurable goals.
  • Evaluate new and existing processes, procedures, policies, and systems for student health and wellness services. Recommend and implement opportunities for improvement or efficiency.
  • With an understanding of federal and state student health and wellness reporting and compliance requirements, assure practices and procedures that follow industry standard best practices. 

Student Affairs Senior Staff Member:

  • Work with Student Affairs departmental leaders to develop and assess Learning Outcomes.
  • Oversee departmental projects, strategic plans, and staff development.
  • Serve as a senior administrative staff member on institutional-wide and other divisional and College committees as appropriate.
  • Develop, attend, and actively participate in divisional staff meetings and retreats.
  • Serve as a primary point of contact for major student issues of concern, including contact with parents and outside agencies. 
  • Maintain a high degree of visibility and availability to students, faculty, and staff.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in education, social work, higher education, or a health and wellness related discipline.
  • At least seven years of relevant progressive leadership and professional experience that includes demonstrated success in the management and supervision of health-related services.
  • Demonstrated leadership and supervisory experience in settings specific to health and wellness.
  • Experience in budget and staff management in a student life or healthcare environment.
  • Ability to lead and manage organizational change and the demonstrated ability to understand and respond to the climate and the culture of a college campus.
  • Excellent leadership, communication, interpersonal, and public speaking skills.
  • Strong commitment to student growth and development, and a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to student well-being and Student Support Services.
  • Ability to cultivate and maintain strong relationships and build consensus and support. 
  • Demonstrated ability to understand perspectives and experiences related to socioeconomic class, gender identity and expression, sexuality, race and ethnicity, privilege and power relationships, and transitions to adulthood, and a proven track record of carrying out equity and social justice efforts. 
  • Demonstrated experience addressing issues of equity and inclusion with specific commitment to support a diverse student population and leading diverse staff in an education environment committed to inclusion and fostering a sense of belonging.
  • Evidence of engagement with today’s most pressing issues in student health and wellness.
  • Sophisticated knowledge of current best practices and ability to evaluate appropriateness and adoption experience with technology, systems, and tools used to provide and enhance student support and well-being. 

Preferred Qualifications

  • Doctorate preferred.
  • Knowledge of health-related care and an ability to effectively lead a contemporary model of health and wellness.
  • Experience with health-related services in a college or university setting.

About RISD

Founded in 1877, RISD is a private, nonprofit college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It is one of the first art and design schools in the United States, drawing over 2,500 students from around the world. RISD students engage in liberal arts studies and rigorous, studio-based learning, with the opportunity to earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees in 22 majors. 

The mission of RISD, through its college and museum, is to educate its students and the public in the creation and appreciation of works of art and design, to discover and transmit knowledge, and to make lasting contributions to a global society though critical thinking, scholarship, and innovation. Through its current strategic plan, RISD strives to educate students for the future and bring current creative practices to bear on today’s most critical social, political, and environmental challenges. For more information about RISD, please visit:  

Application Process

Keeling & Associates is pleased to be supporting RISD in this search. 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 “RISD–AVP Health and Wellness.”  All applications received by November 3, 2022, will receive full consideration. The application review process will continue until the position is filled.

We welcome confidential inquiries, requests for conversations, and nominations via email to Dr. Liliana Rodríguez, Senior Consultant for Executive Search, at

RISD recognizes diversity and inclusivity as fundamental to its learning community and integral to an art and design education. We welcome candidates whose experience has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to diversity and excellence. RISD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetics, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

Download a copy of the position profile, click here.