Director of the University Counseling Center resigns

Director of the University Counseling Center John Dages' resignation date is effective Dec. 30 of this year. File Photo

The director of the University Counseling Center abruptly resigned Thursday after facing charges from former employees of incompetent leadership and inappropriate professional behavior.

“Dr. John Dages has resigned from the university effective Dec. 30, 2011,” Dean of Students Peter Konwerski said.

After four out of nine full-time employees resigned between July and September citing strife with the leadership, the University created a five-month long improvement plan for director John Dages and associate director Barbara Brown. Administrators declined this week to comment on how the plan specifically addresses allegations that Dages’ leadership created a work environment that harmed student health.

Former employees claim the center has been mismanaged under Dages, who took the helm in 2009, and Brown, who was hired in 2004. One counselor said the “dysfunctional” work environment was caused by “indecisive leadership” and “hands-off management.”

A clinician – who left this spring after two years at the center and spoke on the condition of anonymity in late November because she still works in the counseling field – described Dages as “unprofessional,” citing his demands regarding workload, threats to fire staff, comments about personal lives and rare presence at the center.

A nationwide search for a new director will begin immediately, Konwerski said. Senior Associate Dean of Students Mark Levine will serve as interim director until a new director is hired.

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