Kathy Collins came to MSU in January 2012 to work as the director of Campus Living Services and Residence Life, a position that was created when the two departments merged.
The department's name was recently changed to Residence Education and Housing Services to better reflect the services it provides.
As the director, Collins oversees the Housing Assignments Office, conference operations, and facilities and maintenance in the residence halls and on-campus apartments. She also oversees resident assistants, hall directors and other staff in the residence halls. She supervises 347 full-time staff in total.
"The real focus of what we do is what I call the co-curricular: What are students going to learn at Michigan State University outside of the classroom?" Collins said.
This year, MSU had a record number of applications — more than 30,000 for the first time.
About 15,500 students live on campus, including about 93 percent of the freshman class. MSU has the third-largest housing operation in the country, Collins said.
"More students are accepting the opportunity to come to Michigan State University, and we are welcoming our largest freshmen class ever," Collins said.
Residence Education and Housing Services has worked hard to make space available for incoming freshmen, as well as reduce the number of students placed in transitional housing, or rooms in which an extra student is temporarily placed until other spaces become available.
Staff members have been trained to address the needs of students placed in those rooms, and during MSU's academic and parent orientation programs, students and their families received information about transitional housing to help the students flourish during their first year at MSU.
New this year is an engagement center in each of MSU’s neighborhoods: Brody, East, South, North and River Trail. The engagement centers have health and counseling services, tutoring, academic advising and financial aid services.
Staff members in the residence halls work to refer students to use those resources, Collins said.
"We're going to be very strongly focused, in the residence halls and with our students this year, on community development," Collins said. "Our goal is to help students learn, develop and persist at Michigan State University, and it is all of our jobs to help that happen."