Michigan State University administrator named new VP for Student Affairs at the University of Rhode Island

Posted on
KINGSTON, R.I. – April 18, 2016 – University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley has named the director of residence education and housing services at Michigan State University to serve as URI’s new vice president for Student Affairs.


Kathy M. Collins, who has more than two decades of student affairs experience, succeeds Thomas R. Dougan, who retired in January after 30 years of service at URI. She begins her duties July 11.


Collins, who also serves as the supervisor of the Michigan State University Student Union, was selected following a national search.


As the senior administrator/senior student affairs executive officer at URI, Collins will report directly to Dooley and serve as a member of his Senior Leadership Team. She will lead divisional units working with and representing the interests of a diverse student body to foster a positive balance between the academic and co-curricular life of the students.


Collins will supervise the office of Student Life/Dean of Students, Memorial Union and Student Activities, Counseling Center, Housing and Residential Life, University Bookstore, Dining and Retail Food Services, Student Health Services, Campus Recreation, Special Programs in Talent Development and Conferences and Special Program Development. She will oversee the division’s budgets and personnel and ensure that division programs and activities are aligned with institutional strategic goals and objectives.


Collins will also serve as the primary spokesman for the president on matters pertaining to the social and academic needs of students.


In her roles at MSU, she is responsible for a staff of about 2,700, including 370 full-time staff members and a budget of $260 million. She works with the university president, vice presidents and legal staff in campus-wide decision-making. A member of MSU’s Athletic Council, Collins serves alongside students, faculty and staff in an advisory role to the athletic director on issues ranging from NCCA Division I regulations and conference alignment to ticket pricing.


Collins has played a key role in MSU’s housing and residence education department being recognized as a global leader for its service to international students. The Association of College Personnel Administrators selected Michigan State for its 2016 International Colloquium to present best practices in housing for international students. In fact, a 2013 trip she took with students to Beijing, China, resulted in many changes to MSU’s services, which in turn led to an increase in retention rates of Chinese students.


“Vice President Collins brings rich and diverse experiences to the University of Rhode Island, including a commitment to global education and international partnerships,” Dooley said. “The University of Rhode Island is gaining a leader who appreciates that co-curricular experiences are an essential complement for rigorous academic programs and experiential learning in preparing our students to be globally-competitive leaders. During her very successful career in university student affairs, she has been a leader willing to take risks, try new approaches, and reach beyond her immediate administrative units to improve the universities at which she has worked. She has big ideas, but never forgets the importance of the individuals who manage the details who make those big initiatives happen. I am delighted to announce her appointment, and welcome her to the University of Rhode Island.”


“I have a passion for the scholarship of student affairs and have published, presented and taught at two top research institutions in their graduate programs, MSU and Texas A&M University,” Collins said.


Prior to her arrival at Michigan State in 2012, she was the associate director of residence education at Texas A&M from 2006 to 2011 and also held leadership positions at the University of Michigan and Bowling Green State University in Ohio.


A former swim coach at the Division II and III levels, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Juniata College, her master’s degree at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and her doctorate at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.