James Raper appointed Assistant Vice President, Health and Wellbeing

James Raper

James D. Raper has been appointed Assistant Vice President, Health & Wellbeing for the Division of Campus Life effective July 1. In this new role, he will oversee departments related to Health & Wellbeing within the division of Campus Life, including Campus Recreation, Office of the Chaplain, Learning Assistance Center & Disability Services, Safe Office, Student Health Service, University Counseling Center, and the Office of Wellbeing. 

Raper joined the University Counseling Center as a staff counselor in 2002. Since 2014, he has served as its Director, where he has provided strategic implementation of mental health promotion and outreach, counseling to students, clinical supervision, and crisis response. As the Chief Mental Health Officer for the University, Raper has provided counsel to the Wake Forest University administration, faculty, and staff around mental health and related strategic planning.

As the Assistant Vice President for Campus Life, he will be responsible for oversight of, and collaboration between, the related departments. This role reflects a strategic reorganization of the division in an effort to more fully address comprehensive wellbeing for members of the Wake Forest community. He will participate in the Campus Life executive leadership team and provides counsel on matters related to the health and wellbeing of students and the campus community.

“Given the challenges facing our students, helping them develop greater resilience is a high priority for Campus Life and the University,” said Penny Rue, Vice President for Campus Life. “Further integrating the great prevention work going on with the support services we offer will help us deliver on that goal and James is especially suited to lead this effort. As Director of the Counseling Center, he has been able to collect and analyze data to determine students’ highest needs and then align services to address those needs most effectively. James is a gifted leader who fosters collaboration and brings out the best in his team members. And, as the leader of this new focus area, he will be able to build on existing strong relationships among colleagues and partners across the university to scale prevention efforts to serve more students, while also directing student support where it is needed the most.”

This fall marks the fifth anniversary of the launch of Thrive, the innovative campus-wide wellbeing initiative promoting multi-dimensional comprehensive wellbeing for all members of the Wake Forest community. 

“I see this role as a continuation of Wake Forest’s – and Penny Rue’s – implementation of cutting-edge vision for university wellbeing. Five years into Thrive, it’s inspiring that Wake Forest is doubling-down on its commitment to ensuring our community is supported in the practice of holistic wellbeing, “ said Raper. “The creation of this position seeks to leverage the existing collaborative efforts of the Health & Wellbeing Offices and provide even greater penetration of wellbeing principles and practice across our evolving and growing campus community.”

Raper will continue his clinical and administrative oversight of the Wake Forest University Counseling Center.

“Truly one of the top reasons I have stayed at Wake is because of my colleagues in and out of the University Counseling Center. The fact that I get to become even more intimately involved in their work is really a gift.”  

Raper is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor in North Carolina, has a Ph.D. in Counseling and Clinical Supervision from Syracuse University, and additional degrees from Wake Forest University (MA.Ed., Community Counseling) and Colgate University (B.A., Religion).  He has held adjunct teaching positions in graduate programs at Wake Forest University and Syracuse University, and has been asked to share his expertise in both suicide assessment and intervention and clinical supervision at the national and international level.  

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