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Director, Counselling Services

Date: May 1, 2016
Reports to (Job Title): Director, Campus Wellness
Jobs Reporting (Job Titles): Associate Director
Department: Counselling


Main Campus


USG 16
35 hr/wk

Primary Purpose

The Director, Counselling Services is accountable to the Director, Campus Wellness for the development, management, administration, operation, rationalization and assessment of Counselling Services programs and functions at the University of Waterloo.


The programs and services of Counselling Services focus on student and campus community mental health, psychological wellness and safety at the University of Waterloo.

The mental health, psychological wellness and safety of students are fundamental to the mandate of the University since they are a foundation for personal and academic success.

Key Accountabilities:


Leadership and Strategic Direction

  • The Director will be responsible for establishing, implementing and reviewing in an ongoing way a strategic plan for the department.  That is, the Director with and through appropriate staff will establish the mission, vision, values and goals for the department. The director will be responsible for facilitating the alignment of these departmental statements of purpose with those of the Institution always in consideration of the optimum mental health of students, staff and faculty.
  • Provides overall leadership, management and administration with Counselling Services. This includes being accountable for crisis management, intake/client management, intern/resident training, psychological assessments, overall program assessment and program evaluation, administration and multi-disciplinary team management.   Using data gathered from various assessment methods and program evaluation to determine the direction of the department will be necessary.
  • The Director applies leadership through the Associate Director and Managers for the operational integrity and ongoing evaluation of the clinical programs, procedures and services of the department. These include: client intake, triaging, risk assessment and crisis management procedures and processes; individual and group counselling and psychotherapy interventions; psychological, psycho-educational, psycho-diagnostic and lethality risk assessments; psychological skills-based individual and group psycho-educational interventions; appropriate best practice and ethically appropriate clinical documentation and reporting of the clinical services provided to clients of the department.



Staff Management and Development


  • Overall managerial responsibilities for Counselling Services including hiring, staff performance, salary administration, promotions, reclassifications and disciplinary issues. He/she must exercise skill in managing people and provide them with a productive environment and career opportunities.
  • The incumbent manages staff through effective recruitment, selection, training, and assignment of personnel, organization of functions, establishment of policies, procedures and standards, monitoring of performance and focusing of staff efforts on university goals.
  • The Director is cognizant of the professional training and development needs and career aspirations of all staff.
  • The Director is responsive to the need for collegial support of all CS staff members especially in their often stressful roles as counsellors/caregivers.
  • The Director will manage an allocation of Clinical Staff (i.e., Shared responsibility with the AD, CS) including staff annual performance appraisals.




Fiscal Management


  • The director applies appropriate strategic judgement regarding how the Services’ budget is maintained as the Department receives 50% from the Student Ancillary Fee and 50% from the University’s Central Budget. It is the Director’s responsibility to maximize the operational efficiencies through appropriate scheduling and deployment of staff and non-staff resources.



Service Integration and Collaboration


  • As the primary liaison with other campus leaders, the Director is able to be fully engaged in the institution’s political, social and academic life in the interest of effective department functioning as well as the well-being of the campus.
  • Externally, in the local community, the Director is an ambassador for uWaterloo’s mental health services, an active collaborator with community partners, and a problem-solver associated with crisis interventions for uWaterloo students.
  • Counselling Services functions with Health Services as the two key Wellness departments. It is paramount that the Director of Counselling Services works in active collaboration with Health Services to provide the best level of care to the students, staff and faculty.  The Director leads her/his department in collaboration with other key campus stakeholders including the six faculties, the Employee Assistance Program, AccessAbility Services, Housing & Residences, Human Resources, Police Services and the Student Success Office.
  • Externally, nationally and internationally, at professional conferences and through other networking vehicles, the Director, as the primary leader for uWaterloo mental health services, is actively engaged in the University’s mission of fostering “ideas that change the world”
  • The Director oversees the relationship with and provision of services to several CS satellite offices



Needs Assessment, Program Evaluation and Programs and Services Development


  • The Director is responsible with and through appropriate staff for the collection, analysis, presentation and utilization of all data associated with student-client needs, client satisfaction and efficacy of service delivery. This responsibility includes insuring that she/he has available -- in an ongoing and day to day way -- all key data associated with optimized and clinically effective service delivery to clients.

  • Given the importance of the Director’s role to the well-being of the University community the Director must ensure that all programs and services of the Counselling Services department are grounded in the best of current theory, research and practice. Thus, she/he assumes a direct and active leadership role in assessing and establishing the factors associated with a psycho-socially healthy campus. This is accomplished through active consideration of the results and conclusions of relevant applied research and through the application of various uWaterloo sponsored surveys and research projects such as the National College Health Association Survey.


Critical incident, Crisis Management and Suicide Prevention


  • The Director provides the leadership for developing and implementing best practices in the management of students who are in psycho-social crisis. The Director, through the Associate Director and assigned staff, is responsible for assessing and intervening with students who present with a risk of harming themselves or others. 
  • The Director is a campus leader in responding to campus critical incidents such as deaths in Residence and other potentially traumatic events. The Director leads in these areas but always works in active collaboration with other campus departments and leaders in Health Services, Police Services and community partners etc.
  • The director is an active leader both personally and through appropriate staff for the formal and informal suicide prevention efforts on campus. 
  • The Director is a leader both personally and through appropriate staff for the preparedness for and interventions associated with critical incidents on campus.


Position Requirements


Completion of a clinical mental health degree at the Ph.D., Psy.D., or Master’s level required.   Registration or eligible for registration, certification or licence from an appropriate College or certification organization governed by the Regulated Health Professions Act is required.


Management experience in a mental health care setting with a proven record of achievement and success; experience as a clinician and/or manager in a university or college setting is beneficial and preferred; competencies will include strategic thinking, integration of services, team building, change management and facilitation, interpersonal, organizational and communication skills; demonstrated competency managing complex budget process; experience and knowledge with the application of applied research especially in the areas of needs assessment and program evaluation; experience and knowledge of relevant legislation and ethical guidelines especially related to protection of privacy, record keeping and human rights.


Basic computing skills; experience with conducting, interpreting and utilizing relevant applied research


MS Word Excel PowerPoint Other
Basic Basic Basic Experience with electronic medical record (EMR) software

Nature and Scope

Interpersonal Skills:

The Director holds the primary responsibility in the department for effective relations with key departments and leaders on campus, in the community and in national and international contexts.


Internally, the Director interacts regularly with Health Services and other members of the Wellness team. The Director leads the CS staff in active collaboration with other student support service departments (e.g. Housing and Residences, Student Success Office, Athletics & Recreational Services, Police Services, the Employee Assistance Program and Occupational Health etc.).The Director is the key leader with and through her/his staff in developing a strong working relationship with all 6 academic faculties.


Externally, the Director interacts with partners in other post-secondary counselling centers as well as being the key point person to the Regional Police, Grand River Hospital and other mental health agencies.

Level of Responsibility:


Decision-Making Authority:

This position has final decision-making authority for all items outlined above.

Physical and Sensory Demands:

Minimal demands typical of a senior position operating within an office environment.

Working Environment:

Exposed to stress and pressure associated with senior level responsibilities. Involves moderate psychological risk resulting from unavoidable exposure to hazardous, disagreeable or uncomfortable environmental and psychological conditions. There may be unusual hours or schedules, multiple and/or tight deadlines beyond one's control, and constant interruptions (e.g. phone calls, e-mails and unplanned but urgent support requests, varying student volume).