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Director, Counseling Center

Work type: Permanent Full Time
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: Enrollment & Student Services

Position Title Director of the Counseling Center
About the University

As the third largest university in the State of Washington, Western enrolls approximately 16,000 students, 95 percent of whom are undergraduates, in more than 160 academic programs at the Bellingham campus and eight satellite locations around the Puget Sound area.

The University's 2018-2025 Strategic Plan articulates four basic values of the Western community:

  • Commitment to student success, critical thought, creativity, and sustainability
  • Commitment to equity and justice, and respect for the rights and dignity of others
  • Pursuit of excellence, in an environment characterized by principles of shared governance, academic freedom and effective engagement
  • Integrity, responsibility and accountability in all our work

Established in 1893, Western is one of the top public, master's degree-granting universities in the nation.  Western is the highest-ranking public, master's granting university in the Pacific Northwest and No.2 in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report college rankings.  Kiplinger's ranks Westerns among the top 100 public colleges and universities in the nation that offer the best quality and affordability.  U.S. News & World Report has named Western one of the most cost-efficient in the country among highly-ranked universities for several years in a row, and the Chronicle of Higher Education has recognized Western as a "Great Place to Work".  Western is particularly proud of its position as a leader in multidisciplinary environmental education and sustainable campus operations.

Western provides an active student-centered learning environment with a liberal arts and sciences foundation and a full array of co-curricular, internship, research, creative, and service learning opportunities.  There is a widely shared vision that Western will be a higher education leader in a culturally responsive 21st-century learning environment, applying its critical strengths to societal issues as well as creating a welcoming community for a diversity of people, ideas, and programs.  To that end, Western has embraced a style that is collegial, transparent, and timely in its engagement and communication with on- and off-campus stakeholders.

Committed to both the academic and personal growth of students, Western faculty and staff empower students to be engaged and active agents of positive change in the world.  Western has received many accolades that highlight this dedication to students and to positive social change.  In addition to those listed above, Western has been recognized as having one of the most sustainable, "green" campuses in the nation.  Western students and alumni are regular recipients of prestigious awards and opportunities.  In 2017, Western ranked second in the nation among medium-sized universities sending graduates to the Peace Corps, and tied for third in the nation among public, masters-granting institutions for the number of graduates awarded Fulbright Fellowships.  Further, Western ranks among the top 10 institutions nationally for the number of undergraduates who go on to earn doctorates; has been given the Community Engagement classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and has been designated a "Military Friendly School" by G.I. Jobs magazine.  This last recognition places Western in the top 20 percent nationwide of higher education institutions in its commitment, effort, and success in creating a sustainable and meaningful benefit to the military community.

Offering more than 160 majors, Western Washington University is composed of seven colleges and the Graduate School:

  • College of Business and Economics
  • College of Fine and Performing Arts
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • College of Science and Engineering
  • Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Huxley College of the Environment
  • Woodring College of Education

The main campus of Western Washington University is located on 212 picturesque acres in Bellingham, Washington, a city of 88,500 people.  Bellingham is located in the far northwest corner of the U.S. with access to major metropolitan areas, with Seattle, Washington 90 miles to its south, and Vancouver, British Columbia 50 miles to its north.  Nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and overlooking Bellingham Bay and the San Juan Islands, Bellingham is nationally recognized for its high quality of life, outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship.  The area is rich in cultural events and offers unlimited options for open air activities, and exploration of hidden gems either within the Bellingham city limits, or a close day trip.  Many Western employees live in Bellingham or its surrounding areas with a small commute.  To learn more about Bellingham, visit either or  

About the Department

The mission of the Division of Enrollment and Student Services (ESS) is to engage prospective and current students in their pursuit of academic and personal excellence through outreach, support services, and co-curricular learning opportunities.  Overall services in the Division support and shape the enrollment and persistence of students.  ESS includes 18 program areas with more than 300 permanent employees.

Within the Division, the Counseling Center operates as one of three departments in the Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services area.  The Center's mission is to facilitate student success and psychological well-being through culturally sensitive clinical services, outreach, and consultation.  In addition to providing clinical and outreach services for all Western students, the Center contributes to the development of the mental health professions by serving as a training site for graduate students in psychology and counseling.  A chief task for the incoming Director is to help shepherd the internship training program through the American Psychological Association's (APA) accreditation process.

The Counseling Center partners with the following areas to provide comprehensive health and wellness education and care to the campus community:

Prevention and Wellness Services.  The mission of Prevention and Wellness Services is to help Western students recognize how their health impacts their personal and academic success, become actively involved in their own wellness, and contribute to creating a safe and healthy campus community for all.  This is achieved through programs and services that are positive, inclusive, and empowering, with a focus on mental health promotion, sexual health education, body empowerment, sexual violence prevention, support for survivors of sexual violence, alcohol and drug education and support, and a robust Peer Health Educator program.

Student Health Center.  Western's Student Health Center is a primary care medical clinic, providing a variety of services that include preventative health care and management of health concerns, illnesses and injuries.  The Staff includes a team of board-certified family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and support staff.  When necessary, the clinic's staff works in partnership with, or makes referrals to, specialists in the local community.

All three areas are collectively supported by a Counseling, Health, and Wellness Student Health Fee, that provides access to services.  The next Director of the Counseling Center will have a unique opportunity to lead the Center at a time of steady student enrollment growth that has created increased need for mental health services and outreach.  The successful candidate will have the foresight and ability to successfully collaborate with colleagues in Prevention and Wellness Services and the Student Health Center to serve this growing need, while maintaining focus on providing quality, multiculturally-informed, inclusive clinical services.

About the Position

The Western Washington University Counseling Center assists students as they deal with the personal, social, and academic challenges of the college experience, and supports them in achieving their goals in these areas.  The Center actively promotes students' personal development and psychological well-being by providing confidential counseling within the context of a brief therapy model, emergency services for students in crisis, groups designed to foster interpersonal growth, and referrals for students whose needs may be best met outside of the Center.  The Counseling Center strives for cultural competence and sensitivity in the services it provides, and recognizes that students who live and work in a variety of community contexts use its services.  The Center also recognizes that its role extends to the broader campus community and beyond.  The Counseling Center works collaboratively with relevant campus constituencies to help manage crises, and shares its collective expertise on mental health issues through its consultation and outreach efforts, and by providing pre-professional training to graduate students in the mental health professions.  The Counseling Center is accredited through the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).

Duties and Responsibilities:

General Administration

  • Provides vision and leadership in establishing and monitoring the scope and direction of the Counseling Center, ensuring its operation is consistent with national standards of practice.
  • Provides sound fiscal management of the Counseling Center budget.  Monitors the budget, establishes funding priorities, identifies optional funding resources, and approves expenditures.
  • Oversees the provision of time-efficient, culturally informed individual and group counseling and related services through training, consultation, supervision and evaluation of the activities of the Counseling Center's clinical professionals and trainees.
  • Ensures maximum utilization of Counseling Center resources by monitoring clinical activities of the Counseling Center's professional and trainee staff.  Works closely with the Assistant Director of Clinical Operations in overseeing counselor schedules, clinical workloads, and work assignments.
  • Ensures continued accreditation through the International Association for Counseling Services by keeping the operation of the Counseling Center consistent with accreditation standards, completing annual accreditation reports, and planning for accreditation renewal.
  • Ensures operation of the pre-professional training program within the standards of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).  Works closely with Assistant Director/Coordinator of Training in identifying and implementing changes in the training program necessary to comply with standards of the American Psychological Association.
  • Collaborates with the Directors of Campus Recreation Services, Prevention and Wellness Services, and the Student Health Center to establish coordinated and comprehensive services for students on campus.
  • Services as the Counseling Center's HIPPA officer.  Reviews all Counseling Center documents requested for release to ensure records are released only under conditions consistent with state and national laws as well as professional ethics.  Ensures that all clinical documents are created in a manner that is consistent with professional standards and that documents are securely stored.
  • Provides the Executive Director for Health & Wellness an annual evaluation and summer of Counseling Center operations, services, and outcomes, as well as strategies and recommendations for addressing service demands and student mental health needs.

Personnel Management

  • Oversees hiring, training, and work performance of a staff of approximately 10 licensed psychologists/counselors, 4 doctoral interns, trainees, part-time contractual counselors, suicide prevention coordinator, men's resiliency specialist and 2 support staff.  Conducts annual staff evaluations.
  • Plans and facilitates weekly staff meetings.  Provides for staff professional development through training opportunities, workshops, and professional resources.
  • Meets regularly with staff as needed to provide support and direction for specific administrative areas within the Center (e.g. pre-professional training, clinical operations, group therapy, research and assessment, outreach and consultation).
  • Establishes policies and procedures for Center operations and communicates clearly with Counseling Center staff regarding policies, operations, scope of service,s and standards of practice.

Clinical Services, including Crisis and Risk Response/Management:

  • Serves as a core member of the Threat Assessment Team.  Works collaboratively with the Dean of Students office, University Police, Residence Life, Disability Resource center and other campus offices and services to ensure coordinated response and care.
  • Serves as member of the Student Care/Concern Team for at-risk-students, with responsibilities for monitoring adherence to the team's recommendations for evaluation and treatment.  Communicates with student families, Dean of Student's Office, and off-campus mental health professionals as circumstances indicate to support students' safety.
  • Along with the two Assistant Directors, acts as senior consultant to staff and trainees regarding scope of services, challenging clinical situations, and assessment of risk.
  • Available to serve as clinical supervisor to pre-doctoral interns and to staff who are not yet licensed.
  • Provides culturally informed clinical assessments (including diagnosis), crisis management, brief and focused individual counseling, off-campus referral, and group facilitation (as needed)
  • Ensures staff are trained to provide prompt, organized, and competent crisis response.  Shares duties for evening and weekend on-call back up to after-hours services provided by ProtoCall.
  • Maintains availability to respond to calls of concern from students' families, faculty, and friends.  Ensures appropriate response to these situations.
  • Works closely with Health Center Director and Behavioral health staff to provide coordinated mental/behavioral health services.
  • Maintains licensure in good standing through continuing education activities and adherence to legal and professional ethics and standards.
  • Contributes to the University community by serving on committees, program involvement, outreach, or other campus-wide activities.
  • Networks with professionals on campus and in the community to provide informed and coordinated services to students.
Required Qualifications
  • Ph.D/Psy.D. in clinical or counseling psychology
  • Licensed as a psychologist at the time of application.  Please specify state and date psychologist license was granted.
  • Eligible for licensure as a psychologist in the State of Washington and gain licensure within 12 months of beginning position (See Washington Administrative Code 246-924-043)
  • Progressive responsibility providing culturally informed individual and group counseling and crisis services in a college or university counseling center
  • At least 3 years of experience in administrative role(s) in a college or university counseling center
  • Experience providing clinical supervision to doctoral interns
  • Experience in personnel management of clinical and support staff
  • Demonstrated skill in creating and supporting a diverse and equitable work environment
  • Experience outreaching to multicultural, LGBTQ+, and to other diverse identities
  • Strong leadership skills, including demonstrated ability to communicate clearly, work collaboratively with professional staff and colleagues, and effectively formulate and execute informed administrative and clinical decisions
Preferred Qualifications
  • Graduate of an APA-accredited doctoral program and/or completed an APA-accredited internship
  • Experience in budget management
  • Demonstrated commitment to inclusive excellence in all aspects of counseling services for students, and in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of staff
Salary Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience; includes an excellent benefits package
Application Instructions

The search is assisted by Academic Search, Inc.  Applications should consist of:

  • a detailed cover letter addressing the expectations of the position;
  • a current curriculum vitae (CV); and
  • a list of five professional references with contact information and a note explaining the working relationship of each to the applicant

References will not be contacted without the explicit permission of the candidate.  All documents should be in pdf format.

Nominations and applications should be sent electronically to  Nominators and prospective candidates may arrange a confidential discussion about this opportunity with Dr. Mahauganee Shaw, consultant at or Dr. Wanda Bigham, senior consultant, at 

Closing Date Notes Position is open until filled; only applications received by April 16, 2019 can be assured full consideration.

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity and Employment Diversity, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Equal Opportunity Office, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“The Clery Act”). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western’s campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the office of the Vice President for enrollment and Student Services. The report can be found at

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 496182
Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close:

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