Emory University has chosen Tenille R. Gaines, PhD, as executive director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), effective October 2. Bringing a decade of counseling experience in higher education, Gaines will report to Campus Life’s James D. Raper, PhD, associate vice president for health, well-being, access, and prevention.

Under Gaines’ leadership, Raper explains, CAPS will continue to evolve its clinical service delivery methods to remain innovative and flexible – a critical component of excellence in university counseling service. She will utilize quantitative and qualitative data to establish and implement strategic goals for CAPS, while remaining deeply engaged in the university community to ensure positive impact. As a member of Campus Life’s health and well-being leadership team, Gaines will serve as an integral advisor for university responses to crises.

“During our highly competitive national search, Tenille clearly emerged as an exceptional match for the position of executive director of Emory CAPS. She impressed all who engaged with her over this past summer, and she brings a range of student-oriented leadership and clinical experience that will have a long-lasting impact on how we care for students’ mental health,” Raper says. “I cannot overstate the importance of Tenille’s role or the ongoing contributions of the CAPS staff in ensuring that Emory students continue to flourish. We are delighted to have her join Emory and our Campus Life team.”

Emory’s commitment to and investment in the health and well-being of its students is evident, according to Gaines, and aligns completely with her personal and professional values. “As a first-generation college graduate and woman of color, I understand the importance of community, and I want to help ensure we continue to find new ways to be in community with all of our students, destigmatize mental health care, and foster inclusivity, belonging and equity in delivering exceptional mental health services,” she says.

“I look forward to joining the Emory community as it continues to cultivate collaboration and a community of care to meet the needs of its students,” Gaines adds. “I am honored to work with Campus Life executive leadership and the other members of this phenomenal team.”


Student-centered leadership

Gaines currently holds a dual role at Michigan State University, serving as interim director of Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) and as director of Counseling Services. Her MSU responsibilities include developing and coordinating an innovative and culturally informed stepped-care clinical service delivery model. She leads a multidisciplinary team, making clinical support available to 50,000 students and managing more than 20,000 annual counseling appointments.

Earlier in her MSU tenure Gaines served as interim assistant director of counseling, providing administrative oversight for the day-to-day operations of a newly developed satellite location, after having served as CAPS’ co-coordinator for outreach. At the Auburn University College of Education’s Truman Pierce Institute, Gaines served as special projects coordinator.

A licensed psychologist, Gaines earned her PhD in counseling psychology at Auburn University, master’s in clinical psychology at Georgia Southern University, and bachelor’s in psychology at Winston-Salem State University. She enjoys leisure time with family, including her significant other and their dog, traveling, and catching a great movie – popcorn is a must. She also values performing community service as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and The Links, Incorporated.