New Director and Assistant Director of Counseling and Psychological Services

Josette Cline and Danette E. Heckathorn
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Josette Cline and Danette E. Heckathorn

Josette Cline has stepped into a new leadership role as director of Counseling and Psychological Services at the Pat Walker Health Center.  At the same time Danette E. Heckathorn has been named assistant director of Clinical Services in CAPS.

Cline has served in a variety of leadership roles since joining the CAPS staff in 2000 including mental health clinician, coordinator of training, assistant director for Clinical Services, associate director/clinical director, and as interim director in 2010-2011 and 2013-2014.

As most college mental health services have experienced in the last ten years, CAPS is focused on addressing ever-increasing demands for mental health services on campus.  Mental health crises requiring an immediate response have increased each year, with CAPS seeking to balance crisis intervention needs with ongoing short term counseling services.  Cline is actively engaged in evaluating CAPS services and updating service provision models in order to increase access to mental health services for students at the University of Arkansas.

“Increasing collaboration with campus partners regarding mental health initiatives is a primary goal for me this coming year,” Cline said.

Trained as a trauma psychologist, Cline has provided leadership over the years in working with veterans, the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, the development and implementation of mental health service provision models for a college student population, and management of a staff of 16 including counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, a case manager, a psychiatric nurse, and administrative staff.   

Cline has demonstrated her unique collaborative work style as a member of Governor Beebe’s Yellow Ribbon Task Force addressing the needs of veterans in the state of Arkansas (2008 – 2011) and as chair of the University of Arkansas’ Veterans Task Force (2008-2009.) Her work with veterans was recognized in 2012 when she was a finalist for the Arkansas Outstanding State Employee Award.  She is well-known in her professional associations having served as president of the Association for the Coordination of Counseling Center Clinical Services in 2012-2013.

Cline earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Indiana University in 1999; an M.Ed. in community counseling from Kent State University in 1993; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Miami University in 1993.

“Dr. Cline’s leadership will more closely align the work of the counseling center with the mission and vision of the University of Arkansas regarding retention, graduation, and progress toward our goal of becoming a Top 50 university,” said Mary Alice Serafini, executive director of the Pat Walker Health Center.

As the new assistant director Heckathorn brings more than 15 years of college mental health experience, most recently as a mental health clinician in CAPS since 2009.  Heckathorn served as associate dean of students and director of the Counseling Center at Arkansas Tech University before becoming a counselor-in-residence at the University of Arkansas while completing her doctorate in counselor education. A leader in veteran services, Heckathorn is a major collaborator with the Veterans Resource Information Center, having co-taught the Boots to Books: Healthy Transitions for Student Veterans course at the University of Arkansas. 

“Dr. Heckathorn is an outstanding professional with a well-balanced approach to clinical care and leadership,” Serafini said. “In addition to a focus on clinical services, connecting students to the care that they need, she brings experience in motivational interviewing, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, outreach, and sexual assault.”

Throughout her 15 years in college mental health, she has received several awards for her service including Arkansas College Counselor of the Year from Arkansas College Counselor Association, Arkansas Licensed Associate Counselor of the Year from Arkansas Mental Health Counselors Association, and Outstanding Doctoral Student of the Year in the Counselor Education Program. Most recently, Heckathorn received the R. Blair Olson Distinguished Professional Service award from the Arkansas Counselor Association for her years of leadership with the Arkansas Counselor Association including four years in a presidential role.

Heckathorn earned a Ph.D. in counselor education from the University of Arkansas in 2009; a Master of Science in counseling psychology from the University of Central Arkansas in 2000; and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Central Arkansas in 1994.

“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to serve as assistant director,” Heckathorn said. “We are focused on new and innovative ways to reach out to our students and assist them with their academic goals.”


Scott Flanagin, director of communications and outreach
Division of Student Affairs


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