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Executive Director, Wellness Center

University of San Diego

What We Do

For 75 years the University of San Diego (USD) has confronted humanity’s challenges by fostering peace, working for justice, and leading with love. Nestled on 180 acres overlooking the beautiful Mission Bay and Pacific Ocean, the University of San Diego (USD) provides a dynamic academic setting where students and faculty are partners in learning. With over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs serving over 9,000 students annually, NCAA Division 1 team sports, recreation clubs and activities, fraternities and sororities, USD is fueled by engaged, diverse, award-winning faculty members, staff, and a nurturing community.

USD is poised to continue its upward trajectory to the forefront of Catholic higher education in the 21st century. The university boasts many leading innovations including USD’s internationally acclaimed Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, the first stand-alone school of peace studies in the United States. USD was also the first West Coast campus to be designated as an Ashoka Changemaker campus.

This is an exciting time for USD, with its new state-of-the-art Wellness Center scheduled to open during the fall 2024 semester. The three-story, 80,000-square-foot facility will be a hub for health, well-being, and community engagement. The Wellness Center’s innovative design promises to impact every student, offering dedicated spaces for physical fitness, mental and spiritual well-being, and cultivating healthy habits. The flexible and inviting indoor and outdoor spaces will serve as versatile venues for events, classes, informal gatherings, and recreation, fostering connections and community on campus.


Leadership & Culture

The Torero culture is vibrant, welcoming, and filled with endless opportunities for personal and professional growth. The university is led by James T. “Jim” Harris III, D.Ed., who became USD’s fourth President in 2015. Under his leadership, USD has been recognized as one of the top schools nationally for being a “best run college” and having the “best quality of life” by the Princeton Review, a top five program nationally for promoting public service by Washington Monthly and has received additional recognition for its sustainability efforts and work to enhance diversity and inclusion. Dr. Harris is a first-generation college student with an authentic, down-to-earth leadership style and an engaging personality. He remains an active scholar and professor, teaching leadership courses to undergraduates at USD. 

The Executive Director (ED) for USD’s new Wellness Center will join the dynamic Student Affairs Division, a highly collaborative team, which works to support students within a holistic framework and supports   student success through a comprehensive and integrated range of wellness programs, experiences, and services. The ED will report to Dr. Christopher Burden, AVP of Student Wellness. A clinical psychologist and 16-year veteran of the university, Christopher oversees the Student Health Center, Campus Recreation, the Disability and Learning Difference Resource Center, Health Promotion, and Counseling Services.


Compensation & Benefits

  • Salary – $120,000 – $130,000
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • Life and AD&D insurance
  • 403(b) Plan; USD contributes 10% of the employee’s salary annually
  •  PTO: 24 paid days off, 12 paid sick days, 11 paid holidays
  •  Flexible Spending Accounts
  • Tuition Remission and Tuition Exchange Program 


Position Summary

Reporting to the AVP of Student Wellness, the center’s new Executive Director (ED) will serve as a visionary leader responsible for shaping and implementing a comprehensive and transformative student experience for holistic wellness. The ED will oversee a diverse portfolio, including recreational sports, outdoor programs, and aquatic facilities, in alignment with the university’s mission, vision, and goals. They will lead the Wellness Center’s entire operation, directing activities in areas such as membership, marketing, operations, program development, staffing, budgeting, and external relations. This is a highly collaborative role working with leadership across the university to create and maintain accessible, inclusive, and vibrant spaces and activities for all. The ED will lead and mentor three direct reports: Campus Recreation Director, Operations Manager, and the Assistant Director of Outdoor Adventures. This is an exciting opportunity to support the wellness and personal growth of the entire USD community!

Goals and priorities for the new ED include:

  • Create a space focused on access and belonging, a facility that welcomes everyone across the USD community where students, faculty, staff, alumni, and USD leadership all cross paths.
  • Ensure the center is running effectively and serving the community within the context of the USD culture of care, mission, and vision.
  • Drive participation and utilization of the center and its programs.
  • Develop and implement a full marketing plan to promote the wellness center to the campus community.
  • Position the center to be recognized by the student body and wider USD community as “the place to be” on campus and to be recognized nationally as a top ten Wellness Center in the country.
  • Stay abreast of and continually implement best practices being deployed by other wellness centers nationally, including those not necessarily tied to universities.
  • Serve as a highly visible and engaged leader, committed to coaching, mentoring, and ongoing team development.
  • Grow the Outdoor Adventures Program, ensuring it is fully integrated into the university’s overall wellness plan.
  • Implement creative solutions and new programmatic concepts, including sponsorships, memberships, and events at the center that can eventually support the operating budget with new revenues.


Duties & Responsibilities

  • Oversee student recreational facilities and programs, including supervision of staff, fiscal management, and ensuring necessary upgrades or renovations, maintenance, and capital improvement projects are completed.
  • Implement short and long-range organizational goals, objectives, policies, experiential programs, and operating procedures; monitor, evaluate, and improve operational effectiveness as needed.
  • Champion program development and creativity and ensure comprehensive assessment to determine whether programmatic outcomes are achieved.
  • Develop a communications plan for the campus community by overseeing a marketing plan, departmental publications, web pages, and a strong social media presence.
  • Represent recreational wellness programming to key stakeholders, maintaining communication with university constituencies, parents, and alumni.
  • Develop and lead the implementation of co-sponsored or complementary programs and form strong network ties with campus groups and organizations, departments, and relevant campus committees.
  • Collaborate with senior leadership on the preparation of long-range financial forecasts and annual budgets, recommending to senior leadership the appropriate levels and types of plans to ensure the wellness center’s fiscal stability.
  • Determine capital and personnel requests in conjunction with the annual budgeting process; manage relevant equipment amortization plan.
  • Direct the provision of all services necessary to maintain the facility and ensure operational readiness.
  • Work with the University Risk Management Office, University Facilities, Auxiliaries, and Department of Public Safety to develop and/or implement health and safety policies and protocols, risk management, and enforcement of safety and health policies, regulations, and protocols.
  • Represent the organization on appropriate University and Student Affairs committees.


Background Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Demonstrated senior leadership and management experience leading a complex multi-function organization/facility.
  • Student-centered and committed to student growth and development.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • A transparent leader with a focus on customer service, coaching, and mentorship.
  • Solid understanding of fiscal management with experience developing and managing budgets.
  • Demonstrated success in areas of operational logistics, program development, and implementation.
  • Prior experience driving organizational growth and diversifying revenue by creating and implementing innovative programs and sponsorships with an entrepreneurial spirit and a data-driven lens.
  • Track record of building effective partnerships with diverse constituencies.
  • Superb people skills, with exceptionally well-developed listening and communication skills, and the ability to connect with and inspire confidence among a wide range of stakeholders.



Shira Jacobs, Director, Blair Search Partners

1855 1st Ave., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101

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Date Posted
March 5, 2024
Job Type
San Diego, CA
Onsite Health & Wellness Services

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