Project Description

Southern Methodist University (SMU), a nationally ranked, nonsectarian, private research university committed to academic freedom and open inquiry, welcomes applications from, and nominations of, experienced mental health clinicians interested in serving as the next Director of Counseling Services. As the leader of a dedicated and strong team, the Director will work collaboratively to identify and evaluate strategies to support the globally diverse and high-achieving student population of 12,000. The successful candidate must demonstrate strong clinical skills, administrative acumen, a collaborative approach to wellbeing, and a commitment to effectively and appropriately engaging with students and colleagues with a broad range of identities. The leader who fills this important campus leadership position will have the opportunity to make positive changes that benefit students during and after their time at SMU.

SMU, located near the heart of Dallas, attracts students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries. Students come to SMU, one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, to take advantage of the University’s small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development, community service, international study, and innovative programs. The University offers a strong foundation in the humanities and sciences with undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs through eight schools. SMU’s relationship with Dallas–the dynamic center of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions–offers unique learning, research, social and career opportunities that provide a launch pad for our students, faculty, and alumni to make a global impact. 

Position Overview

Reporting to the Executive Director of Health Services, the Director of Counseling Services provides vision and leadership for planning, organizing, and directing Counseling Services (CS) operations. The Director of Counseling Services will focus on advancing opportunities to meet the mental health needs of SMU students and implementing innovative strategies and solutions to effectively meet growing demand. The Director will spearhead a comprehensive approach to the provision of mental health support on campus. The Director will help develop and manage the annual budget, provide appropriate training and supervision of clinical and administrative staff, set long-term and short-term strategic goals for Counseling Services, and initiate the outreach efforts and community engagement necessary to optimize utilization of the services and resources.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Provides direction for the delivery of readily accessible high-quality, data-informed, compassionate, efficient, and culturally responsive mental health services. 
  • Engages campus partners to build broad understanding and involvement in supporting the mental health needs of students. Consults with and provides general updates to faculty and staff regarding mental health and counseling issues experienced by the student population.
  • Supplies training and resources to support faculty and staff and collaborates programmatically to deliver high quality clinical and support services to students.
  • Ensures the provision of crisis and distress intervention services with weekday walk-in and initial consultation appointments, weekend and after-hours coverage, and emergency response as needed.
  • Provides for an efficient and supportive system of off-campus referrals as needed for appropriate evaluations and long-term psychotherapy.
  • Implements effective marketing and communication efforts to support outreach efforts to students and campus stakeholders and to enhance awareness of departmental services.
  • Oversees community outreach efforts to provide information, build awareness, and reduce stigma of seeking mental health services. Encourages student engagement through new or currently active groups such as the Student Wellness Champions and Student Senate.
  • Participates in discussion venues within the Health Center and campus-wide to advise, offer updates and insights, and elevate the visibility of Counseling Services.
  • Supervises and manages clinicians, administrative staff, and direct reports, including the Associate Director of Clinical Services and psychiatrists. Facilitates and engages as appropriate in hiring and onboarding of employees, reassignment, termination, and disciplinary actions; manages the appropriate training of staff.
  • Keeps abreast of trends and developments in the field and demonstrates a commitment to professional development activities both individually and for the clinical team. Pursues educational opportunities that advance student well-being, new delivery care models, and effective clinical practice.
  • Informs development of the Counseling Services budget; monitors and controls expenditures.
  • Manages preparation and maintenance of departmental statistical reports, records, and summaries. Communicates data regularly with counseling staff and administration.
  • Develops departmental short- and long-term goals and objectives.
  • Assesses counseling outcomes and provides an annual assessment report for Counseling Services. Oversees accreditation processes for the department.
  • Formulates, implements, and revises protocols, policies, and procedures in accordance with best practices, University policy, and state and federal laws and guidelines. Establishes, reviews, and updates policies and procedures to ensure ethical, confidential, and inclusive clinical care.
  • Provides for some direct clinical care and maintains an individual client caseload (25% of time allocation).
  • Serves as an integral advisor to University responses to crises and threat assessments and serves as a member of the Caring Community Connections (CCC) team (University Behavioral Intervention Team).
  • As a member of the Division of Student Affairs, provides event support for campus-wide programs, as needed. Serves on appropriate campus and Division of Student Affairs committees or work groups, as assigned.
  • Performs other related duties as required.

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree or Doctorate in Psychology, Counseling, Social Work, or related field that allows for licensure as a mental health clinician in Texas
  • Five years of clinical counseling experience with interest in late adolescent/early adult populations
  • Current licensure as a mental health clinician; if not licensed in Texas, must be eligible to obtain license without significant delay
  • Ability to articulate, integrate and implement collaborative models of care and professional practice
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement strategic objectives, motivate and develop staff, effectively manage resources, and cultivate strong collaborative relationships with multiple constituents
  • Knowledge of issues, trends, and best practices in mental health care, outreach, and preventative education; knowledge of national certification and accreditation requirements
  • Proven commitment to working with issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including an ability to work well with a globally diverse student body
  • Strong leadership, interpersonal, communication, and critical thinking skills

Preferred Qualifications

  • PhD or PsyD in Clinical or Counseling Psychology from an APA-approved program.
  • Counseling experience in higher education student health, mental health, or health promotion
  • Experience with Behavioral Intervention Teams
  • Evidence of innovation and responsiveness through partnerships, projects, programs, and initiatives

Application Process

SMU has partnered with Keeling & Associates, LLC, in this search process. Requests for confidential conversations about the position prior to application are welcome and should be directed to Jeff Ewing (JFEwing@KeelingAssociates.com), the Keeling & Associates senior consultant leading this search. Nominations of colleagues who may be interested are also welcome and can be sent to the email address above.

Application materials should include a resume and a letter of interest and must be sent, preferably as PDFs, to recruiting@keelingassociates.com. The subject line of the email should read “SMU – Director.” The review of application materials will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled; we encourage submitting application materials by October 10, 2022, in order to receive full consideration.

SMU will not discriminate in any program or activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity/Title IX Coordinator is designated to handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies and may be reached at the Perkins Administration Building, Room 204, 6425 Boaz Lane, Dallas, TX 75205, 214-768-3601, accessequity@smu.edu.