Student Housing Matters

Conference service programs have been in survival mode through the pandemic, adapting to challenging circumstances one day at a time. But in-person events are starting to come back, and it’s time for colleges and universities with summer programs to get prepared for the 2022 season.

Erik Elordi is the National Director of Conference Services at COCM, a program that both supports our current institutions and provides program evaluation and standalone management of summer conference services to campuses outside the Capstone network. Erik began his career with COCM in 2015, serving as Director of Residential Facilities and Director of Housing and Residential Life at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, before transitioning to his current role in March of 2020.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Erik joins host Alton Irwin to discuss COCM’s new resource, ‘3 Things You Should Be Doing Now for 2022 Summer Conferences Recovery.’ Erik explains what inspired him to create the recovery guide, challenging conference staffs to start preparing NOW for Summer 2022. Listen in for Erik’s insight on using the COCM guide—not just to get back where you were pre-pandemic but to exceed your 2019 benchmarks and come back better than before!

Topics Covered 

How Erik was introduced to COCM through Lauren Pigott and his 6 years with the organization

Erik’s role as National Director for Conference Services

How his previous work at a COCM site serves Erik in his current role

The 3 main components of the COCM Conference Services program

What inspired Erik to create the 2022 Summer Conferences Recovery Guide

How the recovery guide provides an opportunity for campuses to exceed their 2019 benchmarks

Erik’s advice on using the guide to prepare NOW for Summer 2022

Connect with Erik

COCM Conference Services

Erik on LinkedIn

Erik on Twitter

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Erik_Elordi.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Corey Reedy doesn’t do what he does for the recognition. He truly cares about the student housing professionals he works with, and that inspires him to meet people where they are and pour into them as much as possible. But Corey does appreciate being recognized with the Excel Award because it lets him know he’s doing something right!

Corey Reedy is Regional Vice President at Capstone On-Campus Management. Prior to working with the corporate staff, he served as COCM General Manager at Bowling Green State University from 2010 through 2014. Corey has 20-plus years of experience as a student housing professional, and he was the recipient of the 2019 COCM Excel Award.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Corey joins guest host Alton Irwin for the next installment of our Excel Award Interview Series to describe how he serves as a resource for the staff and students he manages at COCM. Corey explains how site diversity makes the scope of his responsibilities unique and reflects on what his colleagues said about his ability to provide individualized support. Listen in for insight on what made Corey successful through the pandemic and learn how seeing his COCM colleagues succeed gives him the greatest satisfaction in his job.

Topics Covered 

How Corey serves as a resource in his role as Regional Vice President at the COCM home office

What made Corey successful through the pandemic and how his role changed

How the diversity of the schools Corey manages makes the scope of his responsibilities unique

How meeting COCM staff at a student affairs placement exchange (and a perfect summer day at Bowling Green) inspired Corey to take a job with Capstone

What tipped Corey off that he was receiving the 2019 COCM Excel Award

What Corey’s colleagues had to say about his core values of meeting people where they are and providing customized support

How helping to develop COCM staff and students and seeing them succeed gives Corey the greatest satisfaction in his job 

Connect with Corey Reedy

Corey at COCM

Corey on LinkedIn

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Corey_Reedy.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 12:30pm CDT

“The [COCM Excel] Award is given to one person, but it’s really comprised of everybody on the team. It just happens to be that one person who received it because everybody pushes you to be better and do better. You always see the head coach gets all the kudos, but it’s really the folks that are behind the scenes working day in and day out—they’re truly deserving of it as well.”

—Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith currently serves as Regional Vice President at Capstone On-Campus Management. Prior to working at the COCM home office, Michelle was Director of Campus Housing at Florida Atlantic University, where she earned the 2013 COCM Excel Award. Michelle was also part of the Capstone founding team, and she has been with the company for the last 17 years.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Michelle joins guest host Alton Irwin for the next installment of our Excel Award Interview Series to explain why she considered the award a win for her entire team at Florida Atlantic. Michelle reflects on her time at FAU and reacts to what her colleagues said about the impact she had there. Listen in for insight on COCM’s ability to promote from within and why it’s so rewarding for Michelle to see that level of growth at every level of the company.

Topics Covered 

What’s unique about Michelle’s role as Regional Vice President of COCM

How meeting Sandy Hill at a retreat early in her student housing career led Michelle to work for COCM

Why it was special for Michelle to receive the Excel Award from Sandy Hill

How Michelle saw the Excel Award as a win for her whole team at Florida Atlantic University

What Michelle’s colleagues had to say about the impact she had at FAU

How Michelle thinks about her time at FAU and as the campus partner, Residence Life team and COCM staff worked toward a common goal

The sense of satisfaction Michelle feels in nominating COCM staff for the Excel Award

Why being able to promote from within is so important to Michelle

Connect with Michelle Smith

Michelle at COCM

Michelle on LinkedIn

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

 

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Michelle_Smith.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Some student housing professionals are only inclined to perform the duties listed in their job description. And others are team players, willing to get their hands dirty to keep things running smoothly. Kerissa Hobstetter falls into the second category, doing whatever needs to be done to provide the best possible experience for her residents.

Kerissa is COCM’s Assistant Director of Operations at Fayette Square on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Kerissa began her career with Capstone in 2011, serving freshman at Marshall University before transitioning to the graduate campus at UMB where she earned the 2015 COCM Excel Award.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Kerissa joins guest host Alton Irwin for the fourth in a series of conversations with Excel Award winners to discuss the diversity of the graduate student population that makes UMB unique. Kerissa describes how her interest in student affairs grew over time, explaining how the opportunity to interact with students gives her the greatest satisfaction in what she does every day. Listen in for insight around the impact of facilities on student satisfaction and learn how being a team player earned Kerissa the respect of her colleagues—and the COCM Excel Award!

Topics Covered

The small, graduate-level campus Kerissa serves at the University of Maryland, Baltimore

What surprised Kerissa about serving graduate students

The diversity of the student population that makes UMB unique

What Kerissa has learned about communicating with students from all over the world

How Kerissa’s interest in student affairs grew over time

Why Kerissa was shocked to receive the COCM Excel Award

What Kerissa’s colleagues had to say about her willingness to go beyond her job title and get her hands dirty

How interactions with residents give Kerissa the greatest satisfaction in what she does

The impact of facilities on student satisfaction and retention

Connect with Kerissa Hobstetter

Kerissa on LinkedIn

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Kerissa_Hobstetter.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. And lucky for COCM, Scott Schatzer loves to serve others.

Scott is the Talent Recruitment and Wellness Coordinator at the Capstone corporate offices, assisting the operations team in the recruitment, hiring and onboarding of field staff and managing COCM’s Learning Management System and Employee Retention and Wellness Program. Scott formerly served as the Director of Housing Operations for the first-year community on the campus of Marshall University, where he earned the prestigious COCM Excel Award.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Scott joins guest host Alton Irwin for the third in a series of conversations with Excel Award winners to discuss the respect for the past and community support unique to Marshall University. Scott reflects on what his colleagues at Marshall said about his passion to help others, sharing how he approaches each day as a servant leader. Listen in to understand the satisfaction Scott gets from recruiting the best employees possible and supporting COCM’s current employees—so they can better serve our residents, campus partners and each other.

Topics Covered

Scott’s former role as Director of Housing for the first-year community on the campus of Marshall University

The respect for the past and community support unique to Marshall University

What Scott is responsible for in his new role as Talent Recruitment and Wellness Coordinator at COCM

How visiting other sites helps Scott better serve his colleagues at COCM

How connecting with a mentor at COCM led Scott to work for the organization

Scott’s appreciation for the opportunity to grow as a student housing professional through COCM

What Scott’s colleagues have to say about his passion to help others, leadership ability and work ethic

How Scott approaches each day with the intention to be a servant leader

The satisfaction Scott gets from recruiting the best employees possible and supporting COCM’s current employees—so they can best serve our residents, campus partners and owners

Connect with Scott

Scott on LinkedIn

Scott on Twitter

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Scott_Schatzer.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

A strong leader stays calm in a crisis, taking whatever is thrown at them in stride and simply doing what needs to be done. And it is Jeremy Williamson’s ability to stay cool, collected and confident when problems arise that his colleagues admire most.

Jeremy is the Director of Housing Operations and Facilities at University Village and The QUAD Student Housing Communities on the campus of California State University San Marcos. He served as Residence Life Coordinator at the University of Louisville and Area Coordinator at the University of Florida before taking on his current role with Capstone at CSUSM in October of 2017. Jeremy is also a recent recipient of the COCM Excel Award.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Jeremy joins guest host Alton Irwin for the second in a series of conversations with Excel Award winners to discuss the opportunities for growth associated with working on a young campus like CSUSM. Alton shares what Jeremy’s colleagues have to say about his consistently calm and positive demeanor, and Jeremy explains why the Excel Award was the ‘boost he did not know he needed.’ Listen in for insight on adapting to difficult circumstances without losing your cool and learn how Jeremy’s focus on legacy informs his interactions with the people he serves!

Topics Covered

Jeremy’s role as Director of Housing Operations at CSUSM’s University Village and The QUAD

The opportunities for growth associated with working on such a young campus

How Jeremy works with four different partners in the management of his sites at CSUSM

How maintaining relationships with former colleagues led Jeremy to COCM

Why Jeremy describes the Excel Award as ‘the boost he did not know he needed’

What Jeremy’s colleagues have to say about his calm and positive demeanor (even in crisis situations)

Jeremy’s insight on adapting to difficult circumstances without losing your cool

How Jeremy’s focus on legacy informs his interactions with the people he serves

How being a position to make someone’s day gives Jeremy the greatest satisfaction in his role

Connect with Jeremy

University Village Apartments at CSUSM

The QUAD at CSUSM

Jeremy on LinkedIn

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Jeremy_Williamson.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Western University of Health Sciences takes a whole-student approach to educating future healthcare professionals. And that complements the way COCM’s Meera Ramsoondar-Cuevas serves her team and the students she works with, connecting with people through the lens of their individual experience.

Meera is the Director of Housing Operations at The Daumier at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California. She has been with Capstone On-Campus Management for six years, serving as Associate Director of Residence Life at City College of New York before taking on her current role in October of 2018. Meera earned the COCM Excel Award in February of 2020.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Meera joins guest host Alton Irwin for the first of a series of conversations with Excel Award winners to discuss what it’s like to serve graduate students in the healthcare space. She describes the humanistic approach unique to the community and campus at WesternU and shares the benefit of having pet-friendly floors on her site. Listen in to understand how the Excel Award reflects the excellence of the people Meera’s worked with and find out what her students have taught her about cultivating compassion and seeing the world through a different lens.

Topics Covered 

Meera’s role as Director of Housing Operations at The Daumier at Western University

The graduate degree programs in health sciences offered at WesternU

The humanistic approach unique to the community and campus at WesternU

How a student population of future health professionals navigated the COVID pandemic

The benefit of having two pet-friendly floors at The Daumier

Why Meera loved working 1:1 with students in her first role in residence life with COCM

How Meera sees her Excel Award as a reflection of the great teachers she’s worked with

What Meera has learned from her students about compassion and seeing the world through a different lens

Why it’s the small interactions with students that bring Meera the most satisfaction

Connect with Meera

The Daumier at Western University

The Daumier on Instagram

Meera on LinkedIn

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton at COCM

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com


Most of us associate summer on campus with conference programs. But summer interns need housing, too, and many campuses are capitalizing on this need. So, what does a summer internship student housing program look like? Would it work on your campus? And what are summer interns looking for in a place stay?

Emily Eskridge-June is the Director of Housing and Residence Life at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. In the summer of 2016, Emily started housing interns in partnership with ABODA, a global short-term rental company that specializes in student and corporate housing, and since then, she has built a robust, independent summer internship housing program at Cornish Commons.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Emily joins guest host Erik Elordi to explain how she started offering summer internship housing at Cornish Commons. She walks us through the four strategies her team has used to increase the number of interns they house over the years, describing the relationship between good customer service and word-of-mouth recruitment. Listen in for Emily’s insight on the four things summer interns are looking for in a place to stay and learn how to build and market a summer internship housing program on YOUR campus!

Topics Covered

When and how Emily started offering summer internship housing at Cornish Commons

The 4 things Emily’s team has done to increase the number of interns they house over the years

The relationship between strong customer service and word-of-mouth recruitment

How Emily’s team leverages Google Ads and a streamlined website to market directly to summer interns in Seattle

The 4 things interns are looking for in a place to stay for the summer

Why Emily’s team can no longer rely on big Seattle companies like Amazon and Microsoft for a large pool of interns and what they are doing to face that challenge

Connect with Emily

Cornish College of the Arts

Seattle Intern Housing

Connect with Erik

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Erik at COCM

Erik on Twitter

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Emily_Eskridge-June.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

What does it look like to serve students from the facilities and operations side of student housing? What does it take to keep a residence hall complex well-maintained and running smoothly?

Patrick Shanahan is the Director of Facilities and Administration at The Heights, Montclair State University’s newest residence halls complex. Patrick has worked at The Heights since it opened its doors in 2011, serving as Office Coordinator and Assistant Director of Operations before taking on his current role two years ago. Today, Patrick is responsible for the facilities, maintenance and custodial work at The Heights, where he serves 1,978 residents across eight buildings.

On this episode of the podcast, Patrick joins Leigh Anne to explain how he was introduced to student housing as an undergrad desk assistant and how serving in a supervisory role in Residence Life sparked his interest in a career in higher ed. Patrick shares the challenges he faces in facilities and operations, describing what he’s learned about adapting to change and educating students who are away from home for the first time. Listen in to understand the rewards of building relationships with your team and seeing them succeed and get Patrick’s advice around connecting with others in the campus community.

Topics Covered

Patrick’s role in overseeing the facilities, maintenance and custodial work at The Heights

How Patrick was introduced to student housing as an undergrad desk assistant

How a friend encouraged Patrick to apply for a supervisory role in Residence Life and how that experience sparked his interest in student housing as a career

The AHA moment walking on campus with his wife when Patrick saw a future in student housing

How Patrick and his team are navigating the stresses of COVID

The challenges Patrick faces in educating residents who are living away from home for the first time

What makes building relationships with his staff and seeing them succeed the most rewarding part of Patrick’s job

The biggest lesson Patrick has learned around adapting to change and to the needs of the students

Patrick’s advice for aspiring student housing professionals on getting involved in the community

Connect with Patrick Shanahan

The Heights at Montclair State University

Patrick on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Patrick_Shanahan.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

As you rise through the ranks of a career in student housing, you face more and more complex problems. Imagine, for example, taking on a site that has occupancy concerns, building issues AND staffing challenges. So, what do successful leaders do to avoid overwhelm and focus their energy on finding solutions?

Kern Williams serves as Regional Manager and Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force at COCM. In his 15 years in student housing, Kern has worked at a variety of institutions and been an active contributor to the profession at large, giving national webinars and conference presentations on undocumented students, access to higher education, team dynamics and staff motivation.

On this episode, Kern joins Leigh Anne to share his unique shift from insurance to student housing and discuss how having the right mentor influenced him to pursue a career in higher education. Kern describes both the challenge and reward of managing from a distance, offering advice on breaking down big problems and turning worry into action. Listen in for Kern’s insight on asking the right questions, serving as a mentor and a mentee, and developing the wide range of skills required to be a leader in the student housing space!

Topics Covered

How Kern transitioned from the insurance industry to student housing

Kern’s insight on the unique range of skills you develop as a student housing professional

How having a mentor who looked like him influenced Kern to make a career of student housing

Realizing you’re in the right place when colleagues start coming to you for advice

Kern’s ability to manage people, process and product effectively

How Kern navigates the challenge of managing from a distance

The opportunity for growth that comes from managing a variety of staff and locations remotely

How Kern learned to overcome overwhelm by breaking down big problems

Why you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions (even in a leadership role)

The value in finding a mentor and serving as a mentor yourself

Kern’s advice for aspiring student housing professionals on turning worry into action

Connect with Kern Williams

Kern on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Kern_Williams.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

How do you design a marketing plan that attracts residents to a particular student housing community? What if you’re responsible for promoting 35 different sites, each with their own unique culture and set of amenities?

Brittany Pieper is the Site Marketing Coordinator for COCM, where she works with our 35-plus partner institutions and their onsite team members to ensure that each of our student housing communities is properly positioned in the market. A rockstar when it comes to marketing and leasing in the student housing world, Brittany is committed to achieving maximum demand and occupancy at each site.

On this episode, Brittany joins Leigh Anne to share her journey from multifamily marketing and leasing to student housing, explaining what she learned from her first property manager and how she designs creative initiatives to attract and retain residents. Brittany discusses how having an entrepreneurial spirit has helped her develop a business mind around sales and walks us through the AHA moment that inspired her to pursue a leadership role in the marketing space. Listen in for Brittany’s insight on customizing solutions to individual sites and get her top five tips for ambitious student housing professionals.

Topics Covered

Brittany’s early interest and experience in marketing and sales

Brittany’s journey from multifamily marketing and leasing to student housing

Designing creative ways to attract and retain residents

How Brittany’s first property manager trained her to do things the right way, take ownership of her mistakes and strive for her goals

How an entrepreneurial spirit helped Brittany develop a business mind around sales and marketing

What inspired Brittany to pursue a leadership role in marketing and leasing

The challenge Brittany faces in customizing solutions to work at individual COCM sites

Brittany’s top lessons learned around adapting to change and working with diverse personalities

Brittany’s top five tips for aspiring student housing professionals

Connect with Brittany Pieper

Brittany at COCM

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Brittany_Pieper.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Student housing professionals have faced one challenge after another in 2020. When it comes to residence life, this has not been an ideal year, as the pandemic has kept us from doing most of our traditional programming. So, how are housing directors building community in the COVID era?

Katherine Warren is COCM’s Assistant Director of Residence Life Campus Housing at Illinois Central College. She earned her BA in Communications and Media Arts from Bethany College and her master’s in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Indiana State University. Katherine chose a career in student affairs because she loves working with college students as they begin to carve out their own niche.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Katherine joins Leigh Anne to discuss the recent roundtable she led with COCM housing directors across the country and share the team’s commitment to maintaining a positive attitude as we adapt to changing circumstances. She describes the challenges housing directors face in preparing for 2021 and explains what our colleagues are doing to maintain their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing through this challenging time. Listen in for Katherine’s insight on how COCM housing directors are innovating around residence life to build community (within social distancing guidelines) and facilitate student interaction online.

Topics Covered

Katherine’s approach to the recent roundtable discussion she led with COCM housing directors across the country

The COCM team’s commitment to maintaining a positive attitude as we adapt to changing circumstances

How housing directors are building community through pop-up events and DIY programming

The challenges housing directors face in preparing for 2021 (i.e.: RA interviews, room selection, etc.)

How housing directors are using Discord and social media platforms to promote community and interact with students

What our COCM colleagues are doing to maintain their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing

How COVID is teaching Katherine to be more intentional about making time to do the things she loves

Connect with Katherine Warren

Katherine on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com  

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Katherine_Warren.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Over the course of 2020, different industries have been impacted in a variety of ways. Today, we take a look at the topic of security – specifically the tracking of the coming and going of people within facilities. Students come and go from student housing facilities all hours of the day – so how do we keep them safe and secure during a pandemic?

Charlie Regan is President of Gorrie Regan and Associates based in Birmingham, AL, a company dedicated to making sure that your property and facility is secure, your gate system is functioning, and your employee’s time is calculated accurately. When it comes to security systems, they focus on the control function of opening and closing doors and gates to properties, video solutions, as well as analytics and monitoring.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Charlie joins host Alton Irwin to talk about security issues and how they have changed during 2020and the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, GorrieRegan was able to continue to work as an essential business as they were implementing security systems. He discusses how the industry as a whole is focusing on ramping up the touchless technologies that have been developed over the last several years and how all projects are resuming later this year are wanting to take the approach of utilizing these touchless technologies. He also shares that during times of crisis, the innovation of different technologies grows exponentially, mentioning thermal technologies that over the course of this year have become more widely used. Along with an increase in usage, they are also seeing systems with thermal technology becoming more affordable and being utilized in creative ways.

Topics Covered

How Gorrie Regan and Associates started out and how they have grown to where they are today.

What happened to the company when COVID-19 first hit.

How they have continued as an essential business.

How they are reapproaching some projects with different technology because of COVID-19.

What changes they are seeing in the security industry.

What they are seeing in the different touchless technologies for security systems.

What they can offer to folks and businesses looking to implement some of these technologies.

Connect with Charlie Regan

Connect with Charlie on Linkedin

Learn more about Gorrie Regan at www.gorrieregan.com

Email info@gorrieregan.com to get in touch with Charlie Regan

Connect with Alton & Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton on Linkedin

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com


The conference services team at the University of Washington was looking forward to serving 11,000 overnight guests and facilitating 200 overnight conference sessions this summer. But 2020 had other plans, and though the campus did not close, Christine Sismaet and her team had a very different season than expected. 

Christine is the Operations Manager of Conference Services at the University of Washington. As an undergrad at UW, she served as Summer Conference Desk Host and Conference Assistant before taking on a full-time position as Conference Coordinator in 2010. Christine was promoted to her current role in 2014, and in her 14 years in conference services, she has developed an expertise in building relationships with her staff as well as the clients they serve.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Christine joins guest host Erik Elordi to explain what Summer 2020 would have looked like for her team without the disruption of COVID-19 and describe what the UW summer conference season actually looks like running at about 10% of its usual activity. She shares how her reduced (and mostly remote) staff is adapting to Coronavirus restrictions and working to keep guests safe and comfortable on campus. Listen in for insight around how Christine’s experience can benefit institutions that closed and get her take on what conference services might look like in 2021 and beyond.

Topics Covered

How working in conference services as an undergrad inspired Christine’s career in the space

What Summer 2020 would have looked like for Christine’s team without the disruption of COVID-19

Christine’s commitment to building positive relationships with clients and working as a team

How the Summer 2020 conference season at UW was reduced to 10% of its usual activity

What Christine’s team is doing to adapt to COVID restrictions and keep summer guests safe and comfortable

How Christine is reorganizing duties around a reduced staff (most of whom are working remotely)

What Christine is doing to keep summer conference organizers engaged and encourage them to schedule for 2021

How Christine’s experience can benefit institutions that didn’t have guests this summer

Christine’s interest in helping develop the new normal for conference services moving forward

Connect with Christine Sismaet

Email sismaetc@uw.edu

Connect with Leigh Anne & Erik

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Erik on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Christine_Sismaet.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Conferences and summer programs offer institutions an opportunity to generate revenue that can reduce the financial burden placed on students during the academic year. And it’s not just housing – a strong, efficient summer program brings revenue to other campus entities as well, including dining services, athletics, facilities, and even academic departments. Developing these programs to really work for your campus takes creativity, research, and planning.

Erik Elordi is the Director of National Conference Services for COCM. He specializes in reviewing campuses’ summer programs and providing support, direction and management of the implementation of a tailored plan via a management partnership. His passion for approaching campus revenue with an entrepreneurial mindset drives him to help campuses solve the problem of generating revenue over the summer months. While the summer of 2020 brought a set of unique challenges, Erik is looking to summer of 2021 opportunities and currently building a small library of resources for student housing professionals to learn how to leverage the campus amenities during summer months.

For universities and colleges that do not have a management agreement with COCM, our corporate team can help by taking our Fresh Eyes Consulting approach and focusing specifically on conference and summer programming. Our team provides for those interested in knowing how much more they could be making off of the summer months outcomes, reports and implementation plans to help put conference services together or help grow and build on the ones that the campus may already have in place.

Why do so many campuses miss out on the opportunities that the summer months provide for revenue? For a lot of institutions, conferences are a secondary thought – which makes sense. It often falls to the student housing department, and that task often falls behind because during the academic year the student housing department is so focused on making the student experience great for the students. Then, summer becomes a scramble.

By having Erik as a dedicated person, he is able to help campuses think about these opportunities all year round and leverage those summer months as much as possible. COCM encourages campuses to put in the time to prepare for the summer months so they don’t leave money on the table by not using all of their campus assets during all twelve months.  

 

Topics Covered

  • Erik’s background experience in housing in Oregon and Washington
  • Why he takes an entrepreneurial approach to summer months and why that excites him
  • Seeing summer housing as opportunity to keep rates lower for students during the regular year
  • How his team at Cornish College of the Arts built and developed a conference program from the ground up
  • How summer programming also helps with recruitment and a pipeline into the college into the future
  • The story behind Erik’s entrepreneurial approach to building summer revenue
  • Why building resources for others looking to develop similar programs is so important to Erik
  • How COCM can take a look at your own campus housing through the Fresh Eyes Process providing recommendations on how to grow that
  • Why a lot of campuses are missing out on these opportunities and the questions they have about the potential
  • Why COCM takes the approach of thinking about potential summer revenue opportunities year round
  • How any campus can connect with COCM to get their questions answered and talk about the opportunities for conferences and summer programs

Connect with Erik

COCM’s Conference Services

Erik on Linkedin

Erik on Twitter

 

Connect with Leigh Anne & COCM

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com


Serving university students who live off-campus puts Kristen Franklin in a unique position. Yes, she works closely with the highly regarded research institution her residents attend. But her team also has the freedom to individualize their services and work independently. So, what are the pros and cons of this arrangement when a global pandemic closes the campus and takes classes virtual?

Kristen is COCM’s Director of Operations at Nine East 33rd, a high-end apartment complex that houses students from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to her work with Capstone, Kristen served as Associated Director of Housing at The George Washington University and Community Director at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She has 10-plus years of experience in higher education and student affairs, and Kristen holds a Master’s in Educational Policy & Leadership from Marquette University.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Kristen joins guest host Alton Irwin to explain how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted her residents at Nine East 33rd. She describes the property’s unique position as off-campus housing for Johns Hopkins students and discusses the university’s thoughtful response to the crisis and role as a trusted resource for up-to-date information. Listen in to understand how Kristen’s day-to-day looks different working from home (with two kids!) and learn what her team is doing to maintain contact both with residents who are staying at Nine East 33rd and those who are sheltering elsewhere.

Topics Covered

Kristen’s background in student housing + current role as Director of Operations at COCM

The unique position of Nine East 33rd as off-campus student housing

Johns Hopkins’ thoughtful response to the Coronavirus pandemic

How Johns Hopkins is supporting Maryland’s response to COVID-19

What Kristen’s team is doing to ensure the health and safety of residents at Nine East 33rd

The gift baskets and door hangers Kristen is using to maintain regular contact with residents

How the Nine East 33rd staff is communicating with residents who are sheltering elsewhere

How Kristen’s day looks different working from home with two children

Kristen’s message for Nine East 33rd residents and campus partners at Johns Hopkins

Connect with Kristen

Kristen on LinkedIn

Nine East 33rd

Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 Info & Resources

Connect with Leigh Anne & Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Kristen_Franklin.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

When the Coronavirus shut down college campuses across the US, most student housing facilities closed as well. But what do you do if the majority of your residents are not from the US and may not have the option to simply go home? How do you continue to serve students and stay connected with them when you’re required to stay at least six feet apart?

Lupita ‘Pete’ Morales is the Assistant Director of Housing Operations at the Campus Corner Apartments at Green River College in Auburn, Washington. She oversees operations for the 340 students living on campus, 179 of whom have remained on campus through the COVID-19 shutdown. Pete is committed to building a diverse and equitable community in an environment where 80% of the residents are international students. 

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Pete joins guest host Alton Irwin to discuss her team’s response to Coronavirus. She describes the diverse population of international residents she serves, weighing in on why she advocated to keep student housing open and what innovative strategies her team is using to stay in touch with its residents. Listen in for Pete’s insight around how the GRC team is navigating social distancing guidelines and learn what customer service, communication and cleanliness processes they plan to continue even after the pandemic is over.

Topics Covered

Pete’s role as AD of Housing Operations at Green River College

The diverse population of international students at Green River

What Green River leadership did to plan for COVID-19 in February

The Instagram account Pete’s staff is using to stay in touch with residents

What processes Pete’s team plans to continue once the crisis is over

How Pete’s team navigated move-in/out with social distancing guidelines

Why Green River student housing advocated to stay open

How Pete’s staff communicates with students who are learning English

How a typical day in Pete’s office looks different right now

What Pete’s team is doing to improve customer service to residents

Connect with Pete

Green River College

Pete on LinkedIn

Gator Pond on Instagram

Connect with Leigh Anne & Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Lupita_Pete_Morales.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

COCM understands the importance of motivating a team and driving engagement during a time of isolation and unfamiliar work environments. In order to determine how residential faculty working on campus and remotely at Marshall University are adapting to conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic we interviewed Heather Smith, Assistant Director of Operations of the First Year Residence Halls at Marshall.

Connect with Us

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Email media@cocm.com

Subscribe on iTunes

Direct download: Join_the_Conversation_with_Alton_and_Heather.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 9:58am CDT

We all want to work in an environment that somehow feeds our souls. What happens when we encounter a workplace that does the exact opposite? Heidi Yoder began researching workplace bullying within student affairs in the Fall of 2018. Now, she’s sharing some of her insights on preventing toxic workplace environments and handling instances of abusive leadership.

Heidi Yoder is the Assistant Director of Residence Life at Edgewood Commons on the campus of Frostburg State University. She has dedicated 14 years to working with students and is currently working towards a Doctor of Education in Administration and Leadership Studies at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As part of her research there, Heidi is taking an in-depth look at workplace bullying within student affairs. She hopes to use her research to encourage people to have conversations around the topic. Heidi recently published an article in About Campus titled, When the compassionate are abusive: workplace bullying and student affairs.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Heidi joins me to talk about why she chose to take a closer look at workplace dynamics within student affairs. She shares how her research has progressed since she started her doctoral degree, sharing some particular instances of workplace bullying she uncovered through a qualitative survey of colleagues in the field. Listen in for Heidi’s advice on how individuals and their managers can take steps to prevent problematic workplace environments.

If today’s podcast raised some questions for you about workplace bullying, email them to media@cocm.com. We hope to have Heidi back on the podcast to answer your questions soon.

Topics Covered

Heidi’s career in student housing and residence life

What constitutes workplace bullying and abusive leadership

How Heidi gathered responses for a qualitative survey on workplace bullying

How lived experience informs Heidi’s research

How residence life and student affairs differ from other workplaces

Why managerial training is essential for new supervisors

Understanding your employee handbook and finding people to confide in

Connect with Heidi

Heidi’s Article in About Campus

Heidi on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Subscribe on iTunes

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Heidi_Yoder.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

It’s well known that a career in higher education leaves you with many transferable skills. Are those skills useful outside of your workplace? How can we use what we’ve learned working with students to better ourselves and our communities? 

In 2009, Nicole Terrell joined COCM as a first-time Assistant Director in a brand-new residence hall at Marshall University. In Nicole’s role at COCM she developed a resident handbook and worked to guide first years struggling to transition to university life. After COCM, Nicole went on to work in loss prevention at Target. Today, she is raising a family, serving on community boards, and teaching cross-fit to kids.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Nicole joins guest host Tara Wilkinson to reminisce about her time as an AD. Nicole shares how building a sense of community in a first year residence hall relates to supporting members of the community she now lives in. She also weighs in on how working in higher ed pushed her outside of her comfort zone and taught her how to deal with tough situations. Listen in for Nicoles’s insight on how her experience with CCOM continues to influence the way she approaches supporting others in her local community and what ‘paying it forward’ really means.

Topics Covered

How Nicole got involved with COCM

Nicole’s experience working with first years in a new residence hall

How Nicole’s role as an Assistant Director prepared her for future positions

The importance of reaching out to others in your community

Nicole’s lasting relationships with former COCM colleagues

How COCM helped Nicole push past her boundaries

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn

Direct download: Student_Housing_Matters_-_Nicole_Terrell.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:00am CDT

Rafael Cordwell believes that you don’t choose your profession, your profession chooses you. And in the beginning, Raf resisted a career in student affairs—despite encouragement from more than one of his supervisors at Southern Connecticut State. But higher education had other plans for Raf, and today, he aspires to impact campus culture and policy for the better as a senior leader in the field.

Raf currently serves as COCM’s Director of University Affiliated Housing at Towson University in Towson, Maryland, and the Director of Leadership and Business Development at Driven2Inspire, a professional training and keynote speaking firm. Raf was selected to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the Ujima Institute, a prestigious program offered by NASPA, the Association for Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Raf earned his BA in English and Master’s in Women’s Studies at Southern Connecticut State University and is currently pursuing his PhD in Higher Education Administration at Morgan State.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Raf joins me to share his experience at the Ujima Institute, explaining its purpose in supporting higher education and student affairs professionals of color who aspire to senior-level and faculty positions. Raf describes the incredible level of energy among attendees as they shared their lived experiences and walks us through the values exercise he learned at Ujima that had the most profound impact on him as a leader. Listen in for Raf’s advice to young professionals considering a career in student housing and learn how residence life chose Raf to be a leader in college administration.

Topics Covered

How Raf was encouraged by his early supervisors to pursue a career in higher education

How the opportunity to impact campus culture and policy inspired Raf’s decision

The role Raf’s academic background in gender studies plays in his work in residence life

Why working with different types of people is both the most challenging and rewarding part of Raf’s job

How Raf helps students and their parents through the transition to college life

The Ujima Institute’s aim in supporting higher ed professionals of color who aspire to senior-level positions

The high level of energy among Ujima Institute attendees in sharing their lived experiences

Why Raf would encourage others to apply for the Ujima Institute

The values exercise Raf learned at the program that had a profound impact on him as a leader

Raf’s advice for young professionals considering a career in student affairs

Connect with Raf

Raf on LinkedIn

NASPA Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Ujima Institute

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Subscribe on iTunes


Winston Churchill led Britain through both World Wars. But how would he fight the invisible enemy we face today? How might Churchill approach the current situation with Coronavirus?

Dr. Larry P. Arnn is the President of Hillsdale College, where he also serves as a professor of politics and history. He earned degrees from Arkansas State and Claremont Graduate University and studied at Oxford University, where he was the Director of Research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. Dr. Arnn is also the author of Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government and the editor of The Churchill Documents.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Dr. Arnn joins guest host Alton Irwin to explore what Winston Churchill might say about the situation we face with Coronavirus. He discusses Churchill’s leadership style in challenging circumstances, describing Churchill’s fight-hard-to-win-fast approach to war and explaining why he believed that serious judgements cannot be made with expertise alone. Listen in to understand how Dr. Arnn thinks about making decisions for Hillstone and learn how we can leverage Churchill’s idea of shared sacrifice to combat COVID-19.

Topics Covered

Churchill’s leadership style in challenging circumstances

What Churchill might tell us if he were alive today

  • Be impatient, find strategy to win fast
  • Give people tools + autonomy to use

Why serious judgements can’t be made with expertise alone

Weighing the health, mental health and economic impact of COVID-19

The unprecedented suspension of in-person classes at Hillstone

Dr. Arnn’s approach to making decisions for Hillstone

  • Don’t make difficult decisions until you HAVE to
  • Never make decisions alone

The factors Dr. Arnn considers re: bringing students back to campus

Connect with Dr. Arnn

Dr. Arnn at Hillsdale College

Books by Dr. Arnn

The Churchill Documents by Martin Gilbert

The Churchill Project

Connect with Alton

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Alton on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com


During her tenure at COCM, Mellissa Taylor quickly became known among students as The Housing Lady. So, what did she learn as the face and voice of student housing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham? How have those lessons around communicating with students carried over to her current role in higher ed?

Mellissa serves as the Assistant Director of Honors Advising and Retention at UAB. But her first role out of graduate school was that of Assistant General Manager of Marketing and Resident Services with Capstone, where she was responsible for community engagement for UAB student housing. Mellissa earned her graduate degree in Student Affairs at Florida State University.

On this episode of the Alumni Series, Mellissa joins Tara Wilkinson to explain how she connected with COCM through contacts at UAB, her undergraduate campus. She weighs in on the most effective ways of communicating with students, describing the challenges of TLDR in email communications and the value of social channels like Instagram and Snapchat. Listen in for Mellissa’s insight on the enduring relationships she built at COCM and learn how her Capstone colleagues helped her grow a thick skin early in her professional career!

Topics Covered

How Mellissa connected with COCM through contacts at UAB

Mellissa’s responsibilities as Marketing Manager with COCM

  • Representative at recruitment, admission events
  • All housing assignments

Mellissa’s insight on communicating with students via email

Using channels like Snapchat, Instagram and text messaging

Mellissa’s enduring relationships with colleagues at COCM

The lesson Mellissa learned at COCM on growing a thick skin

Connect with Mellissa

Mellissa on Facebook

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


“Build the bridge as you walk across it. Just find something and try it out and define it. And then over time, it becomes the normal that everybody’s used to—an efficiently run process.” 

In her ten-year career with COCM, Tricia Wells played a major role in developing the infrastructure we use today, creating several of the programs, initiatives and systems that make our jobs easier. Because she was willing to raise her hand when a need came up, Tricia left a lasting impression, and her influence lives on at Capstone.

Today, Tricia is the Assistant Vice Provost for Administration and Finance in the Division of Professional Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Prior to joining UMBC in 2014, she rose through the ranks at COCM, taking on roles as General Manager, Regional Manager, and eventually Regional Vice President for the organization.

On this episode of Student Housing Matters, Tricia joins guest host Tara Wilkinson to discuss the instant connection she felt when she joined the team at COCM, explaining how the organization aligned with her professional values and career goals. She describes how the understanding of financial systems she learned at Capstone serves her in her current role and why relationships are key to success in higher education. Listen in for Tricia’s insight on transitioning from a private company to a public institution and learn how she helped design several of the programs and initiatives that define COCM’s current infrastructure.

Topics Covered

Tricia’s instant connection with COCM’s executive leadership

How COCM aligned with Tricia’s professional values + career goals

How Tricia’s responsibilities grew in her 10 years with Capstone

Tricia’s willingness to jump in and assist wherever the gap was

Transforming a troubled site into a place students want to live

Tricia’s involvement in creating the current infrastructure at COCM

How understanding financial systems serves Tricia in her new role

Tricia’s advice on transitioning from COCM to a public institution

  • Articulate alignment of values
  • Recognize difference in flexibility
  • Build professional network

Why Tricia credits her success in higher ed to relationships

Connect with Tricia

Tricia on LinkedIn

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


At times, student affairs professionals are hesitant to pursue a role with COCM, thinking that the transition back to a university setting will be challenging. And yet, a number of former Capstone employees have made the successful move to public institutions. What have they done to make the transition as seamless as possible? And how do they go about getting connected on a new campus?

Amy Lorenz is the Associate Director of Housing and Residence Life at the University of North Florida. Prior to joining the team at UNF in March of 2018, she spent nearly four years as Director of Operations at Bowling Green State University through COCM. Amy’s resume also includes roles with Marshall University and Miami University in the realm of academic initiatives and first year experience.

On this episode of the podcast, Amy joins guest host Tara Wilkinson to explain her intentional decision to join COCM to learn about facilities and operations, sharing her responsibilities at BGSU and what she learned about remaining calm in a crisis. She discusses her work in the area of social wellness and describes how she came to appreciate the perspective of the maintenance and custodial staff during her time at COCM. Listen in for Amy’s insight around making connections on a new campus and easing the transition from Capstone back to a college setting!

Topics Covered

Why Amy joined COCM to learn about facilities and operations

Amy’s responsibilities as Director of Operations at BGSU

  • Day-to-day maintenance + emergencies
  • Marketing and occupancy management

Amy’s work with social wellness during her time at Capstone

Amy’s experience attending the Women’s Leadership Institute

The top skills Amy learned in her time working at COCM

  • Remain calm in crisis
  • Listen to ALL constituents
  • Appreciate perspective of maintenance, custodial staff

Taking initiative to meet + listen to people in a new setting

Why Amy recommends finding friends outside of work

Amy’s advice on the transition from COCM to a university

  • Stay connected to people, professional organizations
  • Continue to invest in professional development

Amy’s insight around being a mom in the student housing space

Connect with Amy

Amy on LinkedIn

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


We talk a lot about wellness and work-life balance, but most of us in the world of student housing are just not very good at it. So, how can we learn to prioritize our emotional and spiritual health? How can we develop the courage to ask what’s really important to us and align our choices accordingly? And if that means choosing a new path, how can we apply the skills we learn in student housing to other roles?

Jen Oliver is the former Director of Facilities and Conference Services with COCM at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and current Membership Recruitment Specialist for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Prior to joining the Girl Scouts team in 2018, she spent two years at home with her young daughters, serving her family and getting involved in the local community.

On this edition of the Student Housing Matters Alumni Series, Jen sits down with Tara Wilkinson to discuss how her role with COCM at MassArt rounded out her experience in student housing, exposing her to the facilities side of the space. She shares her gratitude for the relationships she developed with partners, vendors, COCM colleagues as well as the MassArt team. Listen in to understand Jen’s decision to step away from her career at Capstone and prioritize her family and community—and learn how she is applying the skills she honed in student housing to other roles that fit her lifestyle and align with her values!

Topics Covered

How Jen’s role with COCM rounded out her student housing experience

Jen’s responsibilities as Director of Facilities and Conference Services

The trust Jen had to build with her team at MassArt in Boston

The relationships Jen valued with vendors, partners and colleagues

Jen’s decision to prioritize her wellness through family + community

Having the courage to search for work that truly aligns with your values

Jen’s advice around making the decision to step away from your career

How wellness is encouraged among the employees at Capstone

Articulating how skills in student housing apply to other kinds of work

Jen’s insight around the concerns people have with privatized housing

Connect with Jen

Jen on LinkedIn

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


If you’re looking to make a big change or pursue an extraordinary venture, the first step is to share your intentions and then accept help when it’s offered. This can be challenging for those of us in higher ed, as we’re used to providing a support system rather than tapping into one ourselves. But seeking out someone (or multiple someones) willing to champion you is often just what you need to gain the courage to move forward.

Jes Lassiter currently serves as a Financial Analyst with JB Hunt Transport, but prior to earning her graduate degree in economics and finance in 2017, she spent three years as an Assistant General Manager with Capstone On-Campus Management. In Jes’ role with COCM, she supported students at Walker Avenue Apartments and served as a liaison with the University of Maryland—Baltimore County. Jes was an active participant in the Women’s Leadership Initiative at Capstone and continues to work in the space through JB Hunt’s Growing & Retaining Outstanding Women program.

Today, Jes joins guest host Tara Wilkinson to share her responsibilities around student accounts and financial reports as Assistant General Manager with COCM, discussing how she improved processes to help students fulfill their financial obligations. She also reflects on how her time at COCM and the support she received from colleagues there inspired her to pursue a master’s from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. Listen in to understand how Jes is applying what she learned at COCM in her current role and learn why Jes encourages you to find people who will champion you in taking the next step—and accept help when it’s offered!

Topics Covered

How Jes transitioned to COCM from one of its campus partners

Jes’ responsibilities around student accounts + financial reports

How Jes helped improve a process to benefit students at Walker

Why Jes values the operations experience she gained at COCM

Jes’ master’s from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics

How the skills Jes learned at COCM translate to her current role

How COCM’s Women’s Leadership Initiative influenced Jes

Jes’ advice on finding someone to champion you + accepting help

Why it’s crucial to recognize and take advantage of opportunities

Connect with Jes

Jes on LinkedIn

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


As with most things, the amount of effort, dedication and heart you put into a career in student housing is directly correlated with what you get back. And Jeremy Thompson contends that if you go in with an open mind and really give it a shot, the profession may surprise you.

Jeremy is the Regional Vice President of Capstone On-Campus Management. In his ten years at COCM, Jeremy served as a Site Director, Site Operations Specialist and Regional Manager before taking on his current role in 2016. Today, Jeremy joins us as a continuation of the ‘How I Got into Student Housing’ series. He explains how being a commuter student led him to understand the importance of building relationships with peers on campus and describes how the community development aspect of being an RA attracted him to the position.

Jeremy discusses how supporting the development of a team as a Graduate Hall Director inspired his career in student housing—and continues to be the most rewarding part of his job as Regional VP. Listen in to understand why navigating several different sites and competing responsibilities is the most challenging part of Jeremy’s current role and get his advice on approaching the profession with an open mind and willingness to give!

Topics Covered

How being a commuter student led Jeremy to understand the importance of community

Why the community development aspect of being an RA attracted Jeremy to the position

How serving a team as a Graduate Hall Director inspired Jeremy’s student housing career

The challenges Jeremy faces in navigating several different sites as Regional VP of COCM

Why supporting the development of his team is the most rewarding part of Jeremy’s role

The top lessons Jeremy has learned throughout his career in student housing

  1. Take care of students
  2. Use ‘newspaper test’
  3. Document everything
  4. Follow-up is key

Jeremy’s advice on going into student housing with an open mind + willingness to give

Connect with Jeremy

Jeremy on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Subscribe on iTunes


How can we be elite without being elitist? Dr. Eileen Strempel contends that for an institution of higher learning to be truly great in the 21st century, it must adapt to the changing nature of the student body and support what she calls the neotraditional student, marrying the ideas of access and excellence.

Eileen is the inaugural dean of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Prior to UCLA, she spent three years as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Cincinnati and 16 years in various roles at Syracuse University. Eileen is also a former ACE fellow-in-residence and the coeditor of Transition and Transformation: Fostering Transfer Student Success and Transition and Transformation: New Research Fostering Transfer Student Success. An opera singer turned academic leader, Eileen is committed to higher education as the social justice issue of our time.

Today, Eileen joins me from ACE2019 to discuss the role of higher education in promoting artists who represent a diverse global community. She shares her commitment to being an unabashed champion of transfer students and describes how she benefited from the ACE Fellows Program with a lifelong network of support. Eileen also explains the shift in demographics of the students we serve and higher education’s responsibility to be responsive and welcoming. Listen in for Eileen’s insight on listening to learn, empathize and respect—and learn how student housing can build a sense of community that fosters compassion and creativity.

Topics Covered

Eileen’s belief in the transformative power of music

The role of higher ed in promoting diverse artists

Why Eileen is an unabashed champion of transfer students

How Eileen benefitted from the ACE Fellows Program

Addressing similar issues in different contexts in higher ed

How the demographics of students we serve are changing

Eileen’s key takeaways from ACE2019 in Philadelphia

  • Social inequality vs. social mobility
  • Listen (learn, empathize + respect)

What Eileen is looking forward to in her new role at UCLA

How student housing can forge a sense of community

Connect with Eileen

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music

Eileen on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Email media@cocm.com

Subscribe on iTunes


How do you find your unicorn job? Heather O’Leary-Agosta argues that rather than getting caught up in titles, it’s more important to consider what you love about your current role and make decisions that facilitate more of THAT. Though she was hesitant to make a career move that seemed like a step back, Heather focused on the quality of her work and the impact she made on the students she served, and that led to an ideal role that fits her passion and education.

Heather found her unicorn job as Resident Services Manager at Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture, a study abroad campus for a university based in Tokyo. In her role, Heather supports the international students who comprise 100% of the student population, familiarizing them with American culture, creating a culturally-sensitive environment, and working with facilities and food services to meet student expectations. Prior to Showa, Heather served as Property Manager for the YWCA in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and General Manager of two residence halls at MassArt for COCM.

Today, Heather joins Tara to reminisce about their time together at MassArt, sharing her responsibilities with COCM and the value in helping plan new construction on campus. Heather describes the deep support and diverse perspectives she valued at COCM and explains how she fostered lasting connections with colleagues who continue to be resources. Listen in for Heather’s advice around making strategic career moves and learn how her passion for supporting international students led to her current role at Showa.

Topics Covered

Heather’s responsibilities working for COCM at MassArt

The value in being involved in planning new construction

The support + diverse perspectives Heather valued at COCM

Heather’s career transition to property managing a YWCA

How working with international students led Heather to Showa

Heather’s role as Resident Services Manager at Showa Boston

Heather’s advice around making strategic career moves

Heather’s appreciation for lasting connections from COCM

Connect with Heather

Showa Boston

Heather on LinkedIn

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


 

Every year COCM hosts an Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. In February, COCM’s Assistant Directors fly in from over 40 different sites for a week of learning, listening, sharing, and building community amongst fellow student housing professionals.

 

Being an Assistant Director of Housing can mean many things. Depending on the particular site, AD’s have a variety of roles, responsibilities, and challenges in facilities, maintenance, operations and res life. During one session at the 2019 Annual Meeting we sat down with four of our assistant directors to discuss their experiences and perspective from what they have learned at their own site.

 

Our panelists are from very different sites with different students – and with that we get some great insight from their unique perspectives. Learn about all that goes into running on-campus housing and the creative ways these individuals have approached their everyday work to create an environment for student success.

 

The Panel Participants:

 

Omar Mahmoud, Assistant Director for Operations at The Heights at Montclair State University

Chris Adams, Associate Director of Maintenance Operations at South Campus Commons at Univ. of Maryland

Lupita “Pete” Morales, Assistant Director for Housing Business Operations at Green River College

Ryan Rosevelt, Assistant Director of Residence Life, First Year Residence Halls at Marshall University

 

Topics Covered

How you explain what you do in your role as an assistant director to your friends and family

Perspectives on both operations responsibilities as well as facilities responsibilities

What issues they see most often in their site-specific role, and how they manage that issue

The importance of walking alongside students on their individual journey

Working with international students who are adapting to being away from home

Educating residence on how to use appliances as well as how to deal with maintenance issues

Looking at new things like technology that student are interested in having in their residence hall

Lessons learned through their years of experience

How to grow in your career through these lessons learned

How being valued as an employee changed perspective on worth

How student housing is so much more than just putting students in rooms

 

Connect with Leigh Anne and COCM

 

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


Brian served as the IT Coordinator at COCM for 10 years. In 2018, he left COCM to join the BL Harbert Team as an IT Manager for the US Group. In today’s episode, Tara Wilkinson catches up with Brian to ask him about all that he learned from working with COCM and how it is impacting his new position.

Brian joined Capstone Development Group over a decade ago in a different role than where he ended up – as IT Coordinator. Soon after he started to work at Capstone, Brian noticed areas where some help might be needed, so he jumped in to help. Slowly, picking up more and more projects in IT, Brian was later asked to be the IT Coordinator for COCM in 2012. In this role, he managed a wide range of responsibilities. There was a home office structure, but then each individual site managed by COCM also needed IT support. Every site having an independent IT set-up, depending on the owner or campus, required Brian to build strong relationships with people to ensure everything stayed up and running. Brian also was able to join the Marketing team in the home office to work on website building, podcasting and other audio/video projects – allowing him to get creative within the company as well.

It is very clear through this interview with Brian that a “can-do” attitude leads to an immense amount of learning opportunities and growth. Brian credits the relational side of the roles that he has filled to the joy and rewards of his time working with COCM. The ability to work with the people who are on the “front lines” of student housing at the site level, has shaped his core values to always recognize all of the people it takes to make student housing successful.

Brian’s decision to leave COCM was a very difficult one. Having worked with such great people, he truly still misses the community of Student Housing Professionals. His decision to move, albeit tough, has allowed him to stretch himself by stepping into a new field. Brian explains why he needed this shift and encourages others at COCM that it doesn’t mean leaving the company to find ways to stretch yourself – he suggests to his former colleagues to engage in opportunities that are outside of your defined roles, and see what you learn. You never know where it will take you – whether to another site, a new role within COCM, or even toward a career shift that may take you elsewhere. The big takeaway? Always push yourself, and you will continue to have an exciting life journey.

Topics Covered

The value of stepping into roles that are outside your job description

Serving others through relationships – and how that impacts your work success

Learning the skill of working with all different types of people – and finding joy in the process

 

Connect with Brian

Brian on LinkedIn

 

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


Every year COCM hosts an Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. In January, site directors from over fly in from over 40 different sites for a week of learning, listening, sharing, and building community amongst fellow student housing professionals.

Being a Director of Housing at any university comes with a variety of roles, responsibilities, and challenges. During one session at the 2019 Annual Meeting we sat down with four directors to discuss all of these things. Our panelists are from very different sites with different students – and with that we get some great insight from their unique perspectives. 

Learn about all that goes into running on-campus housing and the creative ways these individuals have approached their everyday work to create an environment for student success.

 

The Panel Participants:

  • Rafael Cordwell, Director of University Affiliated Housing at Millennium Hall, Paca & Tubman Houses at Towson University
  • April Yost, Director of Housing at Glen Oaks Community College
  • Scott Schatzer, Director of Operations at First Year Residence Halls at Marshall University
  • Alexis Ireland, Director housing Operations at Claremont Graduate University

 

Topics Covered

  • What it means to be a “Student Housing Professional”
  • The many roles involved in serving students through student housing
  • Diversity of different universities and how needs may look different than others
  • The importance of communication and adapting to the needs of the campus
  • Challenges that come with new housing on a campus
  • How collaboration is key and being unified as a team on campus allows people to thrive
  • Identifying the basic needs of students
  • Understanding the partnerships that affect you as a site director and your students
  • Perspectives on students today compared to when they were students
  • Parent involvement in their student’s college experience
  • How technology plays into the student experience and accountability for staff
  • How working for a third-party manager has impacted the panel participants’ careers
  • The variety of experiences given to a student housing professional through COCM
  • Opportunities to grow within student housing with a holistic approach
  • How working for a private company in student housing has opened doors for learning
  • Understanding the “why” behind everything done on campus and at the site

 

Connect with the Panelists

Rafael Cordwell on LinkedIn

Rafael at Millennium Hall

April at Glen Oaks

Scott Schatzer at Marshall University

Alexis at Claremont

 

Connect with Leigh Anne and COCM 

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


Opening a brand-new residence hall, on a campus that is not used to serving its students 24/7, is quite an undertaking. How do you manage the expectations of a diverse student population? How do you initiate support services after traditional hours? How do you build the foundation for a successful community—without the luxury of established policies and procedures?

Rob Olson is the Director of Facilities and Capital Projects at Green River College, and Greg Houghton is the Director of Finance and Operations at Northeastern University. But prior to their current roles, both Rob and Greg worked with guest host Tara Wilkinson at COCM. In fact, the trio was part of the pioneering leadership team that established Green River College’s first on-campus student housing program.

Today, Rob and Greg join Tara to reconnect and reflect on their experience as part of the startup leadership team at Green River. They discuss the challenges of opening a brand-new residence hall and fostering a successful community—in a community college setting. Greg explains why he values the diversity of opportunity COCM provided, and Rob describes the supportive feeling of community he experienced working with the Capstone Family.  Listen in for insight around the rewards of building something from nothing and learn how their background at Capstone helped Rob and Greg grow into their current roles in higher education.

Topics Covered

Rob’s transition from the construction industry to student housing

How Greg discovered student affairs as a profession as an RA

Rob, Greg and Tara’s experience on the startup team at Green River

The leadership team’s challenges in opening a new residence hall

The rewards associated with ‘building something out of nothing’

How the COCM Team at Green River forged lasting relationships

How COCM supported Rob in advancing his career

Why Greg values the diversity of experience he gleaned at COCM

The significance of building relationships with on-campus partners

How to capitalize on the multitude of opportunities in higher ed

Connect with Rob & Greg

Rob on LinkedIn

Greg on LinkedIn

Connect with Tara

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Tara on LinkedIn


Close your eyes and picture a community college. Did you envision student housing? You may be surprised to hear that many campuses DO have housing, and just like any four-year school, living on campus has an impact on student success. The catch is, student housing cannot be just a building on campus; it must provide an experience that engages the students who live there.

Tracy Morris has 17 years of experience as a community college administrator. Most recently, she served as Vice President for Student Services at Illinois Central College, where she leveraged her doctoral research on community college student housing and a relationship with COCM to transform the ICC student housing experience. In October, Tracy took on a new role as Compliance Officer with Joliet Junior College. She believes in the power of higher education to transform people’s lives.

Today, Tracy joins me to share her take on the role of student services in supporting the social and emotional needs of students. She discusses her path from high school teacher to community college administrator, offering insight around how her own experience as a community college student ignited her love of learning. Tracy also explains why there is no such thing as a typical community college student, how involvement can help adult students get their confidence back, and how COCM went about transforming the student housing experience on her campus.  Listen in to understand the importance of a flexible floor plan in the design of student housing and learn about the connection between engagement and the success of student housing on a community college campus!

Topics Covered

Tracy’s take on the power of higher education to transform lives

The role of student services in facilitating student learning

Tracy’s path from HS teacher to community college administrator

Tracy’s experience advising adult students who had lost their jobs

Why there is no such thing as a typical community college student

How involvement helps adult students get their confidence back

Tracy’s personal experience as a community college student

Tracy’s doctoral research on community college student housing

The link between engagement and the success of student housing

How COCM transformed the student housing experience at ICC

The tangible change in dynamic when staff knows the residents

How student housing can be detrimental if there’s no connection

The significance of a flexible student housing building plan

The value in a holistic support model with tech-guided self-service

Why the student debt crisis makes community colleges crucial

Connect with Tracy

Tracy on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


Even among student housing professionals, few are familiar with the idea of nonprofit ownership. What is it? How does it work? And why would a university choose to work with a nonprofit to develop student housing facilities?

Will Givhan is the President and CEO of the Collegiate Housing Foundation, the country’s premier nonprofit provider of student housing. Since its inception in 1996, the 501(c)(3) has financed over $2.1B in student housing facilities, completing 55 projects at 40 schools in 24 states for a total of 31,940 beds. Will has been involved with Collegiate Housing since 1998, serving as outside legal counsel during his tenure at the law firm of Hand Arendall. He became the foundation’s in-house legal counsel and COO in 2011 and took the helm in May of this year.

Today, Will joins me to share the unique origin of the Collegiate Housing Foundation and his path from outside legal counsel to President and CEO. He explains the foundation’s role in financing, building, owning and operating student housing facilities and the diverse reasons why colleges and universities might choose nonprofit ownership. Listen in for Will’s insight around the satisfaction of providing students with quality housing that promotes both social interaction AND academic success!

Topics Covered

The unique origin of the Collegiate Housing Foundation

Will’s path to his current role as President and CEO

The foundation’s role in financing and building facilities

The advantage of the foundation’s tax-exempt status

How a college benefits from working with a nonprofit

How rating agencies account for nonprofit ownership

What will has learned about the way universities work

Will’s insight on student housing as a learning facility

Collegiate Housing Foundation’s continued rapid growth

Connect with Will

Collegiate Housing Foundation

Will on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


To be a successful leader in the student housing space, you need buy-in from all of the players involved. But how do you determine what’s driving each stakeholder and make decisions accordingly? Brian Kraft argues that learning to listen is the most critical skill for leaders in student housing.

Brian is the Regional Vice President at COCM. He is responsible for supporting the directors of six properties on the east coast and serving as a liaison among institutional partners, owners and the home office. Brian has 19 years of experience in student housing, serving at large public institutions and small private campuses all over the country before joining Capstone in 2009. His background in mathematics and data analysis informs the way Brian assists site staffs in performing more efficiently and improving their ability to forecast issues.   

Today, Brian joins me to discuss his path from undergrad RA to Regional VP. He explains the competition he faced to become a Resident Assistant and the reasons he was drawn to the position. Brian shares the deans who mentored him as an undergrad, his decision to pursue grad school, and how his assistantship integrated his background in math. He also offers insight around his student-centered approach and his current challenge in prioritizing the needs of diverse stakeholders. Listen in to understand the most rewarding part of Brian’s role at COCM and learn how to leverage listening to have a successful career in student housing!

Topics Covered

The competition to be an RA in Brian’s undergrad experience

Why Brian was drawn to the RA’s duty to connect with residents

The deans who mentored Brian when he was an undergrad RA

Brian’s decision to pursue grad school rather than teach math

How Brian’s assistantship merged student housing and teaching

Brian’s student housing roles in Florida, California and Ohio

Brian’s transition from the university setting to COCM

Brian’s student-centered approach to student housing

Brian’s challenge in prioritizing the needs of all stakeholders

Brian’s responsibilities as Regional Vice President at COCM

Why Brian enjoys sharing what he’s learned with colleagues

How communication and listening are key to success

Brian’s advice around challenging yourself to try new things

Connect with Brian

Brian at COCM

Brian on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


What are the key differences in working as a student housing professional for COCM versus a public institution? How does working within the confines of a bureaucracy for a university contrast with serving a housing-focused private company? And how can the two work together for the good of the students they serve?

Gray Bekurs is the Vice President for Business Development at COCM, working with the marketing team to pursue new management and consulting opportunities. Gray began his career in student housing as Hall Director at Mississippi State, and he had ten years of experience as a residence life professional before joining the COCM team for the first time in 2004. Gray transitioned to the public sector in 2014, serving as Director of Auxiliary Real Estate Operations at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. His background in the public and private sectors gives Gray a unique understanding of holistic nature of student housing.

Today, Gray sits down with COCM CMO Alton Irwin to discuss his positive experience with student housing as a college freshman and explain the shift in his career focus from music education to housing. He shares his belief in student housing as an important element of access to higher education and describes his initial interest in COCM as an opportunity to learn the business side of operations. Gray addresses the differences between his work in the public and private sectors, offering insight around his experience dealing with related departments like parking and dining. Listen in to understand Gray’s goals as VP of Business Development at COCM and learn how the organization can serve struggling institutions through management or consulting services.

Topics Covered

Gray’s positive experience with student housing as a college freshman

Why Gray shifted his career focus from music education to housing

How housing affords students access to higher education

Gray’s interest in COCM as an opportunity to learn fiscal responsibility

The contrast between working in the public and private sector

How Gray learned about related aspects of housing like parking and dining

The importance of integrating with other departments

Gray’s goals as VP for Business Development with COCM

Gray’s intention to explore untapped markets and promote COCM

How COCM can serve struggling institutions via consulting or management

Connect with Gray

Gray at COCM

Gray on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


There is no doubt that institutions of higher learning face a number of challenges, not the least of which is an unsustainable financial model. Tuition, fees, room and board no longer pay the bills—despite sticker prices as high as $72K a year! So, how do colleges and universities design innovative solutions and continue to thrive in the 21st century?

Brian Mitchell is the founder and president of Academic Innovators, a consultancy that helps colleges and universities learn to adapt and evolve in the ever-changing world of higher education. Brian served as president of Bucknell University (2004-2010) and Washington & Jefferson College (1998-2004), and he spent seven years leading the Association for Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). Brian is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Academe, and he is the co-author of How to Run a College: A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers.

Today, Brian joins me and COCM CMO Alton Irwin to discuss his ‘unintentional career’ in higher education, from history professor to AICUP lobbyist to president of Bucknell. He explains the value of a liberal arts education in training students to speak, write, use technology, apply quantitative methods and work in a collaborative setting. Brian addresses his interest in the transfer population and the challenges faced by colleges in the 21st century, describing how those pursuits led him to found Academic Innovators. He also shares the themes of his book, offering insight around the unsustainable financial model currently employed by university systems and the importance of a differentiated mission. Listen in to understand what’s next for Brian and learn about his vision for the future of higher education!

Topics Covered

Brian’s path to an ‘unintentional career’ in higher education

Why Brian credits his college experience for teaching him to think

Brian’s experience in the lobbying division of the AICUP

Brian’s service as the president of two universities

The interests that led Brian to found Academic Innovators

The role of the liberal arts in educating citizens

The three inflection points that caused major shifts in higher ed

Why the current financial model of university systems is unsustainable

The number of colleges and universities that merge/close every year

Brian’s aim for How to Run a College to be practical AND inspirational

Brian’s take on governance as the weak link in university systems

Brian’s insight around the importance of having a differentiated mission

Why strategic relationships may have more impact than new programs

Brian’s next steps in terms of writing and speaking on higher education

Connect with Brian

Academic Innovators

Brian on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn

Resources

How to Run a College: A Practical Guide for Trustees, Faculty, Administrators, and Policymakers by Brian C. Mitchell and W. Joseph King

The Paddy Camps: The Irish of Lowell, 1821-61 by Brian C. Mitchell

Moody’s Study of College Closures

Inside Higher Ed’s Poll of CFOs


Many professionals in the world of student housing began as RAs, gaining exposure to the industry as college students and eventually realizing the opportunity to pursue a career in the space. But what if you weren’t a resident assistant in college? How do you get into student housing with a background in what seems like a vastly different industry?

Jeremy Biddy is the Vice President of Operations for Capstone On Campus Management. In that role, he oversees all of the operations in the field and serves as a conduit for regional managers and regional VPs to report to the home office. Jeremy worked as both a Site Director and Regional Vice President for COCM before taking on his current position as VP of Operations.

Today, Jeremy joins me to share his unconventional route to the industry, explaining how his practice in managing crises as a District Loss Prevention Manager for Kmart translated to student housing. He describes how his first boss and mentor taught him to be firm but caring and offers insight into the experience that made him realize he could make a living in the field. Jeremy walks us through the challenges and rewards of his role at COCM, offering insight around the satisfaction of finding a creative solution that works. Listen in for Jeremy’s advice on diversifying your experience and stepping out of your comfort zone to take on new opportunities—even if they fall outside your current job description!

Topics Covered

Jeremy’s experience as a retail District Loss Prevention Manager

How Jeremy’s experience managing crises translates to student housing

How Jeremy’s first boss taught him to be firm AND caring

The opportunity Jeremy had to run a program as a young professional

Jeremy’s affinity for interacting with students and staff

The unique skill set required for a career in student housing

Jeremy’s current role as VP of Operations at COCM

What Jeremy has learned about dealing with difficult employees/clients

How Jeremy works with staff to find a solution in each unique situation

Jeremy’s appreciation for positive feedback from parents and partners

The reward that comes with finding a creative solution that works

Jeremy’s advice around pursuing a diverse range of experiences

Why it’s important to have a network of support that offers honest advice

The value in taking on opportunities outside of your specific job description

Connect with Jeremy

Jeremy on COCM

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

COCM on LinkedIn

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


When it comes to student housing, there is simply no way to copy/paste a set of processes on each new campus. Rather, you need to gain an understanding of the institution and the property itself and customize your approach based on the circumstances at hand. How exactly does site diversity impact the way you work with a particular university?  

Brian Kraft is the Regional Vice President of Capstone On Campus Management. He has worked in the student housing industry since 1999, serving small private institutions as well as large public universities. Brian has been a part of the Capstone team for nine years, and his diverse experience makes him an effective primary liaison to campus partners and support for COCM’s general managers and site directors.

Today, Brian joins me to share his breadth of experience working with diverse sites, including both small private and large public institutions. He explains why communication is key in any partnership and shares the variations to his approach in collaborating with existing partners, new construction or a troubled site. Brian offers his comprehensive definition of site diversity, describing how size, affiliation, culture and the level of collaboration impact COCM’s methodology. Listen in for insight on the benefits of a shared-governance model in improving the student experience and learn how developing trust up front leads to a better relationship long term!

Topics Covered

Brian’s experience in both small private and large public institutions

Why communication is key in establishing successful partnerships

Brian’s approach to enhancing an existing university partnership

Understanding the university’s goals for a new construction project

The accelerated timeline necessary for a troubled site

Brian’s comprehensive definition of site diversity

How a site’s size and affiliation influence the operational approach

The significance of understanding a site’s culture, personality

The varying levels of collaboration between COCM and university partners

How Brian navigates resistance to a private management company

The benefits of COCM’s shared-governance model

How COCM evolves processes over time to improve the student experience

The lessons Brian has learned around aligning goals between partners

Brian’s advice on developing relationships and trust on a personal level

How student housing influences student success

Connect with Brian

Brian at COCM

Brian on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

Capstone On-Campus Management

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


When a residence hall comes in under budget, that money can be invested in the building itself. But how do you make decisions around what improvements to prioritize? Kelly Podach Francis designs an action plan based on student feedback, and she contends that this approach leads directly to student retention.

Kelly is the Director of Facilities and Operations for Rountree Commons at the University of Wisconsin—Platteville. In this role, she manages the day-to-day operations of the privately-owned residence hall, supervising the professional staff and monitoring the finances of the building. Prior to her work with COCM, Kelly served as Hall Director at UW—Stout for eight years.

Today, Kelly joins me to share her first experience in student housing as an Academic Resource Coordinator and explain why she was inspired to support other students in the transition to college. I ask her when she realized she could pursue student housing as a career, and she discusses the positions she held as an undergrad that led to her AHA moment at ACUHO-I. Kelly addresses the transition from working for a university system to COCM, offering insight around her responsibilities as Director of Facilities and the challenges of managing the finances of a residence hall. Listen in to understand how Kelly designs an action plan based on student feedback and learn why it’s important to make friends with the campus locksmith, fire inspector and parking staff!

Topics Covered

Kelly’s early experience as an Academic Resource Coordinator

How Kelly’s parents influenced her decision to become an ARC

The difficult transition to college for a first-generation student

How ACUHO-I inspired Kelly to pursue student housing as a career

The student housing positions Kelly held as an undergrad

Kelly’s years of experience as a Hall Coordinator and Director

Kelly’s transition from the university system to COCM

How Kelly developed an interest in facilities management

Kelly’s responsibilities as Director of Facilities at UW-Platteville

Why Kelly enjoys the financial piece of her role

The rewards of coming in under budget

How Kelly develops an action plan based on student feedback

How Kelly’s team has grown and developed a rhythm

The lessons Kelly has learned around deciding what to prioritize

Kelly’s advice on building relationships with key people on campus

Connect with Kelly

Kelly at UW—Platteville

Kelly on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

COCM on LinkedIn

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


How can an urban research university serve as an anchor for its community—attracting employers and giving talent a reason to stay in the city after graduation? Harlan Sands believes that the key is to serve as a hub of innovation, aligning skills taught with the needs of a modern economy.

Harlan is the newly appointed President of Cleveland State University. A highly regarded leader in higher education, Harlan has 30-plus years of experience at urban research universities. Harlan has served as a thought leader, academic administrator, business process changemaker, professor and student advocate. Prior to his career in higher ed, he served as a public defender in the city of Miami, litigating more than 50 trials in state and county court. Harlan holds a BS in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from George Washington University, and a JD from George Mason.

Today, Harlan joins me to walk us through the diverse career path that led to his current role as President of Cleveland State. I ask him about the value of an urban research institution as an anchor to its city, and he describes his vision for CSU as a driver of innovation. Harlan shares the previous accomplishments he is most proud of, from supporting faculty in conducting vital research to engaging students and staff in a university’s mission. Listen in for Harlan’s insight on the role of student housing in creating a living and learning community on campus and learn how mentors can help you in the pursuit of lifelong learning!

Topics Covered

The diverse career path that led Harlan to his new role with CSU

Harlan’s background in both academia and administration

The importance of a research institution as an anchor to its city

How a university can serve to draw people to the community

Harlan’s vision for Cleveland State as a driver of innovation

Attracting employers by aligning skill sets taught with market needs

Why 80% of CSU grads stay in the city of Cleveland

Harlan’s aim to engage students and staff in the university’s mission

How Harlan supports faculty in conducting research

Harlan’s take on students as clients or customers

The role of student housing in promoting retention and progression

Why student success should be the starting point for student housing

How student housing contributes to a living and learning community

Harlan’s advice around the pursuit of lifelong learning

The idea of MBWA (Management By Walking Around)

Connect with Harlan

Harlan at Cleveland State University

Harlan’s Opinion Piece on Cleveland.com

Harlan on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

COCM on LinkedIn

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


‘We came in humble and approachable, wanting to collaborate.’

How do you turn around a student housing site that has spiraled into decline? Where do you begin when all of the problems—occupancy, reputation and facility issues—are intertwined? How do you look at the situation with Fresh Eyes and change the narrative, rebuilding the site’s reputation one step at a time?

Jeremy Steed is the Operations Director for Capstone On-Campus Management. He began his housing career as an RA while studying biology at the University of Alabama—Birmingham. Since then, he has worked in several roles with COCM, most recently leading a site takeover at a community college in East Peoria, Illinois. In that role, he built a residence life program from the ground up and headed the turnaround that rebuilt the site’s reputation in the eyes of the students, campus partners and community at large.

Today, Jeremy joins me to explain how he became the Site Director at a struggling facility, discussing the gradual decline of the property under previous management as well as its interconnected reputation, occupancy and facility issues. He walks us through COCM’s Fresh Eyes process and offers insight as to why rebuilding trust with the campus partner became top priority. I ask Jeremy how he rebuilt the site’s reputation with a complete rebrand, and he addresses the significance of open, honest communication with students.  Listen in for Jeremy’s advice around getting out ahead of a property on the decline and learn how he went about creating a better, safer living environment for the students at Illinois Central College.

Topics Covered

How Jeremy became the Site Director for a struggling facility

The site’s gradual decline under previous management

The site’s intertwined reputation, occupancy and facility issues

The Fresh Eyes process COCM used to assess the site’s problems

Why rebuilding trust with the campus partner became top priority

Why a complete rebrand was necessary to change the narrative

The use of focus groups to determine student experience, needs

Using honest communication being present with students

How building trust with the institution translated to parents, students

Jeremy’s advice around preventing decline with annual walk-throughs

The significant increase in occupancy at the site each of the last 3 years

How Jeremy created a better, safer living environment for students

The rewards of turning around a struggling site

Connect with Jeremy

Jeremy at COCM

Jeremy on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

COCM on LinkedIn

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


Time management. Customer service. Conflict mediation. Critical thinking. Teamwork.

Whatever your motivation for becoming a resident assistant, the position allows you to hone a number of incredibly valuable skills that carry over to any career you might choose to pursue. And though the field of student housing is less familiar to the general population, it affords the opportunity to give back and do work that truly matters, whether you’re working one-on-one with students as an RA or overseeing operations from the main office.

Jeremy Steed started his housing career as a resident assistant in 2010 while studying as an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama—Birmingham. Since then, he has worked in several roles with Capstone On-Campus Management at various institutions, and Jeremy’s experience ranges from working at a large public university to leading a management takeover at a community college. Today, he serves as the Operations Director for COCM, working under the premise that ‘each day presents a new opportunity to do something great.’

Jeremy joins me on Student Housing Matters to discuss how financial considerations and the need for leadership experience informed his initial motivation to become an RA. He shares the benefits of serving as a role model and mentor to students, explaining how the role motivated him to stay on top of his game. I ask Jeremy about his path from RA to Operations Director, and he describes the shift in priorities that led him to pursue student housing as a career. Listen in for Jeremy’s insight around listening first and tailoring your approach to the individual—and learn how the skills you develop as an RA can translate to whatever career you choose.

Topics Covered

Jeremy’s initial motivations for becoming an RA

The benefits of being a role model and mentor

How serving as an RA motivated Jeremy to succeed

Jeremy’s path to from RA to Operations Director

Jeremy’s ability to tailor his approach to the individual

The value in a career that affords the opportunity to give back

How working on-site differs from the main office at COCM

The skills you develop as an RA that translate to any career

Connect with Jeremy

Jeremy at COCM

Jeremy on LinkedIn

Connect with Leigh Anne

Student Housing Matters

Student Housing Matters on Facebook

Student Housing Matters on Twitter

COCM on LinkedIn

Leigh Anne on LinkedIn


Dr. Lisa Guion Jones joined us to discuss the pivotal role of persistence, passion, and people in higher education.

Direct download: Dr._Lisa_Guion_Jones.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 10:54am CDT

Timothy Evans joins us today.  Timothy is the assistant director of operations at the University Village Apartments, an on campus housing facility at California State University San Marcos.

One of the biggest topics in higher education these days is student debt.  And Tim has such a neat back-story that makes him passionate about getting out of, and staying out of, debt.  And with where Tim works, he is in a unique position to speak into the lives of students staring down the possibility leaving school with substantial debt.

Direct download: ep73_TimEvans1.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:45am CDT

COCM's Jeff Kirkpatrick shares his story of how a dangerous situation propelled him into being an RA and eventually a full time student housing professional.

Direct download: ep74_HIGISH_JeffKirkpatrick.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:40pm CDT

In this "How I Got Into Student Housing" series, we've been talking to housing professionals to understand how they got into this field.  In every episode of the series, you’ll hear how a mentor and/or a situation guided each person into something they love.

In this episode we interview COCM's director of Towson Place Apartments, a student community at Towson University.  

Direct download: ep73_HIGISH_GretchenSmutney.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 3:44pm CDT

Va'Shajn Parr, Director of University Village and the Quad (on-campus housing) at CSU San Marcos spoke with us about the service he is using to solve the resident package delivery problem.

Direct download: ep72_VashajnParr.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 1:45pm CDT

How We Got To COCM - Doug Brown and Sandy Hill

President of COCM, Doug Brown and Executive Vice President, Sandy Hill sat down with us to talk about how they got into the student housing world and then to COCM. The conversation winds through their background, funny stories they’ve had while traveling, and where they see the future of COCM.

This is a special video podcast version of a series we’ve had on our regular podcast, “How I Got Into Student Housing.”  If you haven’t been following this series, the episodes are designed to be a fairly quick look into how these housing professionals got into this field.

Direct download: ep69_COCMDougSandy.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:58pm CDT

The Relationship Between A Research University And A Fine Arts Department

This episode, Dr. Nancy Uscher joins us to chat with us about the relationship between a research university and its school of fine arts, and why that relationship is important. 

Dr. Uscher holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in music from New York University.  She is also an Associate of the Royal College of Music in London, where she spent her junior year in college.  Additionally, she spent two decades as a concert violist, performing and teaching around the world, including six years leading the viola section of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, before transitioning full-time into academe.  She is also the author of dozens of articles and 2 books.

Direct download: ep70_NancyUscher.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 3:25pm CDT

Utilizing Big Data To Improve Student Success

Jack Suess, the Vice President of Information Technology and CIO of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, joined us to talk about what they’re doing with “Big Data” on that campus, and how they’re using it to increase student success. We also talked about using the cloud to be a "greener" campus and the importance of quality WIFI coverage.

Direct download: ep68_JackSuess.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:35pm CDT

Joe Cantona is a Site Operations Specialist for COCM.  In his role, he has worked on site at almost every one of COCM's sites across the country, performing tasks from opening sites for the first time, to filling the gap while critical staff when they are on leave. He joined us for the latest installment of our “How I Got Into Student Housing” series.

If you haven’t been following this series, the episodes are designed to be a fairly quick look into how these housing professionals got into this field.  In every episode you hear, you’ll hear how a mentor and/or a situation guided every person into something they love.

Direct download: ep67_HIGISH_JoeCantona.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:36pm CDT

Author and fellow podcast host, Lisa B. Marshall joined us to talk about her story and why good communication is critical. 

Direct download: ep64_LisaBMarshall.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:47pm CDT

The Importance Of Fire Safety In A Residence Hall

Shawn Simons joins us to talk about fire safety in residence halls on campus by sharing his story about the fire in Boland Hall on the campus of Seton Hall University in 200. 

Direct download: ep66_ShawnSimons.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:43pm CDT

The Importance Of Fire Safety In A Residence Hall

Shawn Simons joins us to talk about fire safety in residence halls on campus by sharing his story about the fire in Boland Hall on the campus of Seton Hall University in 200. 

Direct download: ep66_ShawnSimons.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:43pm CDT

Lynn Gangone, Vice President for ACE Leadership at the American Council on Education, joins us to talk about what role her organization plays for people seeking to be in higher education leadership.

 

Direct download: ep63_LynnGangone.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 1:52pm CDT

Best selling author and award winning columnist, Jeff Selingo joined us to talk about his most recent book, There Is Life After College.  We talked about the way this generation is learning and how it affects the transition to life after college, how residential education is more important than ever, and his favorite phone apps.

We're also giving away five signed copies of his book to the first five people to email us at info@studenthousingmatters.com. Don't miss out!

Direct download: ep62_JeffSelingo2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:40am CDT

Melynda Davis is COCM's director at Campus Town at The College of New Jersey.  She joined us for the latest installment of our "How I Got Into Student Housing" series.

If you haven’t been following this series, the episodes are designed to be a fairly quick look into how these housing professionals got into this field.  In every episode you hear, you’ll hear how a mentor and/or a situation guided every person into something they love.

Direct download: ep62_MelyndaDavis.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:52pm CDT

Our latest post in the "How I Got Into Student Housing" series features Debbie Daniels, COCM's Director of Edgewood Commons at Frostburg State University. 

If you haven’t been following this series, the episodes are designed to be a fairly quick look into how these housing professionals got into this field.  In every episode you hear, you’ll hear how a mentor and/or a situation guided every person into something they love.

Direct download: ep60_HIGISH_DebbieDaniels.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 10:53am CDT

If you haven't been following this series, the episodes are designed to be a fairly quick look into how these housing professionals got into this field.  In every episode you hear, you'll hear how a mentor and/or a situation guided every person into something they love.

In this episode we're joined by COCM's director of facilities and conference services art Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MASSART), Jen Oliver.  Come hear how she went from being a pre-med student to where she is now.

Direct download: ep59_HIGISH_JennOliver.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:27pm CDT

Danny Anzueto was kind enough to join us to chat about the upcoming NASPA conference that starts this weekend and goes into next week (March 12th-16th). 

Danny is the Assistant Director of Member Engagement and Regional Initiatives with NASPA. He is kicking off his fourth year with NASPA and heads up the NASPA Miami Beach office. Danny’s role focuses specifically on supporting NASPA’s seven regions in conference planning and committee management.

He also works with the NASPA Annual Conference First-Time Attendee experience overseeing the FTA Committee and working with them to plan engagement initiatives for first-time attendees.  He checked in with us to give us a feel for what to expect next week at the conference.

Direct download: ep58_DannyAnzueto.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:14am CDT

The third installment of our "How I Got Into Student Housing" is an interview with Amy Lorenz, the director for Centennial and Falcon Heights at Bowling Green State University.

If you haven't been following this series, the episodes are designed to be a fairly quick look into how these housing professionals got into this field.  In every episode you hear, you'll hear how a mentor and/or a situation guided every person into something they love.  

Direct download: ep57_HIGISH_AmyLorenz.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 1:14pm CDT

In the second episode in a series we’re calling “How I Got Into Student Housing,” we’re interviewing COCM employees at sites all around the country asking them what brought them to this field.  It’s a fascinating look at what makes people who work in student housing tick.

In this episode we interviewed the Director Housing Facilities at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, Michelle Smith.

Direct download: ep56_HIGISH_MichelleSmith.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:02pm CDT

Joining us on the podcast today is college instructor, and veteran business writing and presentation skills coach, Dr. Wilma Davidson.  Dr. Davidson is an instructor of Professional and Technical Communication at the University of South Florida and author of the Third Revised Edition of Business Writing:  What Works, What Won’t, published by St. Martin’s Griffin.

Dr. Davidson spoke with us on the topic of good business writing; its necessities and the flaws in how it is taught. 

She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut, an M.S. in English Education from State University of New York at New Paltz, a C.A.G.S. in Journalism from American International College, and an Ed.D. in English / Business Communications from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey – New Brunswick.

Direct download: ep55_WilmaDavidson.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:35pm CDT

In a new series we're calling "How I Got Into Student Housing," we're interviewing COCM employees at sites all around the country asking them what brought them to this field.  It's a fascinating look at what makes people who work in student housing tick.

In this episode we interviewed the Director of Spartan Suites at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Direct download: ep54_MeccaMarsh.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:32pm CDT

Today on the podcast we have Jeanne Martinet, author of The Art of Mingling.  In every facet of society these day, there are times when we must be able to mingle or make small talk. It can often times be a painful experience, but it doesn’t have to be.  So how do you work a room without fear?  How do you extract yourself from a conversation that has gone stale?  Jeanne was kind enough to speak with us about these topics on this episode.

Direct download: ep53_JeanneMartinet.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 1:58pm CDT

As the second part of our interviews with the NACAS keynote speakers, we’re speaking with Alison Levine today.  Alison can be described as adventurer, explorer, professor, and author of The Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership, a New York Times best seller.

Alison holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in Communications, and a MBA from Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business.  She has served as an Adjunct Professor with the United States Military Academy, an investment banker with Goldman Sachs, and as deputy finance director for Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

She serves on the advisory board of the Coach K/Duke University Center on Leadership and Ethics and is a strategic advisor for the Thayer Leader Development Group at West Point.

As we mentioned earlier, Alison will be a key note speaker at the National Association of College and Auxiliary Services (NACAS) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, speaking at the closing session on Wednesday morning, November 4th.

To hear our interview with the other keynote speaker at the conference, Tim Sanders, just find last week’s episode on our blog or on iTunes.

Direct download: ep52_AlisonLevine.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 12:19pm CDT

These next two weeks, we’re excited to bring you interviews with the two upcoming keynote speakers at this year’s NACAS annual conference, held at the beginning of November

NACAS, or the National Association of College Auxiliary Services, is an organization providing the higher education community extensive opportunities for members to share ideas, develop business solutions, enhance programs and revenues, and develop meaningful professional relationships. Housing, Physical Plant, Food Service, Card Systems, and recreation are just a handful examples of these campus services.  And all of them provide something critical for a college campus to function. 

So if you’re going to be attending the NACAS annual conference in the next few weeks, this will be some excellent groundwork for what you’re going to hear. 

In today’s episode we have Tim Sanders talking with us.  Tim was an early team member of Mark Cuban's broadcast.com. In 1999, broadcast.com was acquired by Yahoo, taking Tim with it, where he became Chief Solutions Officer and named its Leadership Coach. Now, Tim is the CEO of Net Minds, based in Los Angeles, and founder of Deeper Media Incorporated, a research firm.  Tim is also an author of four books:

1.        “Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends ” 

2.        “The Likability Factor”

3.        “Saving the World at Work”

4.        Today We Are Rich: Harnessing the Power of Total Confidence”

Tim holds an undergraduate degree from the Loyola Marymount University and studied in the graduate school of communications at The University of Arizona.

Direct download: ep51_TimSanders.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 10:16am CDT

Joining us on the podcast today is Dr. Roger H. Martin, author of the recently published book entitled, Off to College: A Guide for Parents, published by The University of Chicago Press.  

With Off to College, Dr. Martin helps parents understand the important period of the first year of college by providing the perfect tour of the a freshman year on today’s campus. He spoke with us on this episode about what he learned writing this book and his previous book, A College President Becomes a Freshman Again.

Direct download: ep50_RogerMartin.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 3:33pm CDT

Joining us this episode is Dr. Steven Diner, professor of history and former chancellor of Rutgers University - Newark.  Dr. Diner spent some time with us talking to us about his background in the higher education world, the subject of diversity in higher ed, and the concept of "reimagining an urban college campus."

Dr. Diner became chancellor of Rutgers-Newark in July 2002, and served in that capacity for more than 9 years, retiring in December 2011 to return to teaching at Rutgers. Dr. Diner holds a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in History from Binghamtom University and a PhD in History from the University of Chicago.  He is the former President of CUMU, the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.

Direct download: ep49_StevenDiner.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:56pm CDT

Capstone's Aida McGowan joined this episode to talk about the millennial generation. Aida has worked for Capstone at Coppin State University since 2011.  Working on a university campus allows her to interact with this generation on a day-to-day basis. Having entered college as an older adult and first generation college student, she was exposed to and challenged with servicing a population she was detached from. Working with the next generation of leaders is not only a passion, but she feels that it is her purpose.

Direct download: ep48_AidaMcGowan.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 5:35pm CDT

On this episode, we interviewed Jim Lee, Senior Advisor, Knowledge Management, with APQC, the American Productivity and Quality Center.  APQC is a member-based, non-profit organization, focused on benchmarking, best practices and knowledge management research.  Their mission is to help organizations around the world improve productivity and quality in a variety of ways.  

Jim has over three decades of business improvement experience, with the last 15 years dedicated specifically to knowledge management.  A frequent speaker and thought leader, Jim heads the KM advisory service practice for APQC.  He holds an undergraduate degree from Kettering University and an MBA from Cleveland State University.

Jim spoke to us about trends in higher education and the concept of "knowledge management."

Direct download: ep47_JimLee.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:26am CDT

The Current Financial State of the US Higher Education System

Our first guest this year is Lee White, Executive Vice President and Manager of the Education and Non-Profit Finance Group, George K. Baum & Company.  Lee is active in all areas of public finance, with a special emphasis on higher education.  He is regarded as the industry’s leading expert in the area of privatized student housing finance, and has made numerous presentations over the years for the NACUBO organization.

This is Lee’s second time on our podcast, as he joined up in October of 2013 to talk about the financing aspect of building student housing.  Today he joins us to talk about the current financial state of the US higher education system and talked about the topics, “is higher education overbuilt?” and “where are the bright spots?”

Direct download: ep46_LeeWhite2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 9:34am CDT

Best Of The Student Housing Matters Podcast From 2014

2014 had so many was such a fun year on the podcast that we decided to put together a "best of" episode to recap everything.  Going through everything was a fairly large task, but we came up with a few of the clips that we thought you would enjoy hearing again.  

Unfortunately, with so many episodes, some really great stuff got left out.  But everything is listed on the podcast section of our blog, for you to go and revisit or listen for the very first time.  

We hope you enjoy a few of our favorite moments from this past year.  From all of us at the Student Housing Matters blog, we hope you have a very happy holiday season!  

Direct download: ep48_BestOf.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:39am CDT

Joining the Conversation today is Ron Campbell, the Executive Director of the National Association of College Auxiliary Services, or NACAS.  

This is Ron’s second time joining us on the podcast after we originally interviewed him in 2012.  Today Ron joined us, not only to catch up on what is going on with NACAS, but to share some insight he has gained on striving toward a healthy work-life balance.  

Prior to serving at NACAS, Ron was president and CEO of College Business Concepts, a company dedicated to developing educational and business partnerships between higher education institutions and corporations.  Ron has experience in higher education, working for six years at the University of Minnesota, and for 4 years at George Mason University, where he served as the Director of Housing and Residence Life.  

 

Direct download: ep44_RonCampbell2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 3:11pm CDT

Today we’re doing something a little different… Instead of an individual interview, we have a panel of senior leaders from Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  The individuals participating are:

·         Bob Harrison, President

·         Kelly Hahn, CFO

·         Dr. Clinton Gabbert, VP of Student Services

·         Anne Erdman, VP for Administration

 

This team has been working together on a large project, the college’s first residence hall.  Although it is a little unique for a community college to have housing, Lake Michigan College is actually the seventh two-year institution in Michigan to open housing.  Not only did the team talk about their foray into student housing, but they covered several other topics of interest to both, two and four year institutions across the country.  In this podcast, you’ll see/hear their team dynamic, how well they know each other, and why they’ve been able to be successful in their endeavors. 

Direct download: ep43_LMCpanel.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:59pm CDT

We're on the road at the 2014 NACAS Annual Conference.  On Monday of the conference, we spoke to Steven Lacker (Sasaki), Tom Petrinni (EVIVE), Greg Powell (Denny's Corporation), and Kristan Wun (Caldwell and Gregory), about what they're up to and what the world of higher education is facing now.  

Direct download: ep42_NACASday1.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:22pm CDT

Today we had the opportunity to interview one of the keynote speakers for the conference, best-selling author, Frans Johansson.  If you’ve listened to the podcast to the podcast for a while, that name may sound familiar.  That’s because we interviewed him a little over a year ago, about his book, The Click Moment.  Frans is also the author of the book, The Medici Effect, which was named one of the top 10 best business books of the year by Amazon.com.

 

Frans was kind enough to speak with us right before he stepped on stage for his keynote address, to talk to us about dynamic leadership and shaping ideas to lead to success.

Direct download: ep41_FransJohansson2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 9:40pm CDT

In the student affairs world, dealing with parents is something we do almost as much as dealing with the students.  In this episode, we spoke with the interim Vice President for Student Affairs at Auburn University, Lady Cox about dealing with student's parents. She told us some funny stories about some experiences she's had and gave some great advice to parents as they send their children off to college (and attempt to avoid being helicopter/snowplow parents).

Lady began her professional career in sales and marketing with a Fortune 50 company. However, over time, she missed the university community and took a position as the Marketing Coordinator for Student Housing at Mississippi State University, later becoming the Director of Parent and Student Services in the Dean of Students Office. She joined the Division of Student Affairs at Auburn University in September 2010. 

Lady holds an undergraduate degree in Communications from Mississippi State University, and a masters in Higher Education from Auburn University.

Direct download: ep40_LadyCox.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:06pm CDT

Dr. Nancy Uscher, president of Cornish College of the Arts, in Seattle, Washington, sat down to talk with us about how her roles as a president and a musician have some key similarities.  Dr. Uscher became president of Cornish in August 2011, becoming the 1st female president of the College since its founding in 1914.  

Dr. Uscher holds a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, a master’s degree in music from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in music from New York University.  She is also an Associate of the Royal College of Music in London, where she spent her junior year in college.  Additionally, she spent two decades as a concert violist, performing and teaching around the world, including six years leading the viola section of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, before transitioning full-time into academe.  She is also the author of dozens of articles and 2 books.  

 

Direct download: ep39_NancyUscher.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 5:34pm CDT

Camille Barkley is the Executive Director of the Office of Communications and Marketing at Auburn University.  She sat down with us to talk about what marketing an institution in the higher education world looks like (and specifically with housing) and what strategies they are using at Auburn.

Ms. Barkley has more than 25 years of marketing experience, having worked in print production, promotion and marketing for several publishers, including Rolling Stone, Random House and Simon & Schuster. She has spent the last 10 years serving at Auburn in their Marketing Department.  

Direct download: ep38_CamilleBarkley.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:54pm CDT

Dr. Peggy Williams joined us for a chat about her experiences from living in a residence hall, to working in higher education, to being a university president.  She talks about what higher ed means to her and the concept of "Knowing and Knowing Better."

Dr. Williams began her career as a social worker, and upon entering the field of higher education she held various faculty and administrative positions within the Vermont State College system and at Trinity College in Burlington, VT. She served as president of Lyndon State College for eight years prior to being named the seventh—and first woman—president of Ithaca College, where she served for 11 years. 

 

 

Direct download: ep37_PeggyWilliams.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 5:06pm CDT

Back for day two at the NACUBO Annual Meeting.

This week on the “Student Housing Matters” podcast, we packed up our microphones and headed to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (or NACUBO) Annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, to talk to some of the leaders and big thinkers in the higher ed community.  Throughout this week we’ll be posting a few short interviews from the conference each day.  We’ll talk about things  ranging from specific topics going on at the conference to current trends in the higher education world from all different perspectives.  So check back every day for new content.

Direct download: NACUBO_day2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 9:25pm CDT

This week on the “Student Housing Matters” podcast, we packed up our microphones and headed to the National Association of College and University Business Officers (or NACUBO) Annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, to talk to some of the leaders and big thinkers in the higher ed community.  Throughout this week we’ll be posting a few short interviews from the conference each day.  We’ll talk about things  ranging from specific topics going on at the conference to current trends in the higher education world from all different perspectives.  So check back every day for new content.

Here are some of the highlights from Sunday, July 20

Direct download: NACUBO_day1.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:24pm CDT

The Student Housing Matters blog and podcast exist to provide a place where topics relevant to on-campus student housing can have the spotlight. One such issue is the very important topic of mental health.  All across the country there are rising numbers of students on college campuses dealing with serious mental health problems that are seeking treatment at campus counseling centers.  On this episode of the podcast we were pleased to have two professionals from the University of Connecticut’s Department of Counseling and Mental Health Services join us.

Jonathan Beazley is the Alcohol and other drug Interventionist at the University of Connecticut and has served in this role since 2009. He is a licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Connecticut and has been in the field of behavioral health since 1979. Throughout his career he has served in numerous clinical and managerial roles across the spectrum of mental health and substance abuse programs and organizations. He is a frequent presenter and educator on subjects associated with substance abuse and other mental health issues.

Also joining us is Paige Hover, a clinical psychology doctoral student from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is currently completing her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Connecticut’s Counseling and Mental Health Services. She has worked in various settings with clients who struggled with substance abuse and mental health issues including a correctional facility, a psychiatric hospital and a residential substance abuse treatment program.  Upon completion of her doctoral degree in July, 2014, she plans to pursue a career in college counseling specializing in substance use treatment and outreach prevention programs.

Facilitating the discussion in todays podcast is Capstone On Campus’s Becky Sierp,  Becky currently serves as a Director for Facilities & Administration for The Heights residence hall at Montclair State University.

Direct download: ep36_BeazleyHover.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:38am CDT

Chatting with us again today is Nick Morgan.  We enjoyed having Nick on our podcast in March of this year and invited him back to talk about his latest book, Power Cues, published by Harvard Business Review Press.  We talked about how your body language affects communication with the people around you, as well as, learned what your "leadership voice" is. 

A passionate teacher, Nick is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas – and then delivering them with panache.  He has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents, as well as coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to take on the investment community.  He has also worked widely with political and educational leaders. 

 

Direct download: ep35_nickmorgan2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 8:00am CDT

Joining us in this episode is Edward Burger, President of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.  Dr. Burger joined us for a podcast, prior to becoming a University president, in September of 2012 to talk about his book “The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking.”  In February of 2013 he became the 15th president of Southwestern University.  Prior to his current position, he was the Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics at Williams College, where he served from 1990 to 2013, as well as the former vice-provost at Baylor University.  

A New York native, President Burger graduated summa cum laude in mathematics from Connecticut College and earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.  

President Burger is a prolific author and noted scholar, having authored or co-authored more than 35 research articles, as well as 12 books.  His most recent book, which he co-authored with Michael Starbird, is “The 5 Elements of Critical Thinking,” the focus of a Join the Conversation podcast in September 2012. 

 

Direct download: ep34EdBurger2_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:01am CDT

Chatting with us today is Dennis J. Shields, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.  He spoke with us about his experiences living in a dorm room as the VP of Student Affairs and about his successes in building a great foundation for student community on his campus.

Dennis became Chancellor in 2010, after having served as the acting VP for Student Affairs at City College of New York – City University of New York.  He earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Graceland College and his Juris Doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law.  Dennis has held administrative positions in a number of law schools, including Duke, University of Michigan and the University of Iowa.

Direct download: ep33_DennisShields.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:18pm CDT

From Higher Ed to the Weather Channel

A few podcast episodes earlier, we interviewd Lyndon State College President, Joe Bertolino for a second time.  Dr. Bertolino mentioned the Lyndon State meteorology program and how Joe D'Aleo was a member of the faculty of Lyndon State and became involved in the beginning stages of the Weather Channel.  So we reached out to Mr. D'Aleo and he was kind enough to chat with us about his time at Lyndon State and at the Weather Channel.  Mr. D'Aleo has an extensive professional background in meteorology, including serving as the first director of meteorology at The Weather Channel in 1981.  Just prior to joining The Weather Channel, he was a professor and chairman of the department of meteorology at Lyndon State.  He is currently the cp-chief meteorology at WeatherBell Analytics in Boston.

Direct download: ep32_joedaleo.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 5:27pm CDT

Joining the Conversation today is Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  Dr. Hrabowski began his career at UMBC in 1987 as Vice Provost, then Executive Vice President, and finally, president in 1992.  Under his leadership, he has turn UMBC into a place where, “it is cool to be smart.”  

He holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics from Hampton Institute (graduating at 19 years old), and both a masters in mathematics and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration / Statistics, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Direct download: Ep31_FreemanHrabowski.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:38am CDT

Interview With Dr. Joe Bertolino of  Lyndon State College at the ACE Annual Meeting

We will always be grateful to Dr. Joe Bertolino for agreeing to be interviewed in our very first Join the Conversation podcast, in July 2012.  Just a month before that interview, Joe had become the 15th president of Lyndon State, after serving eight years as vice president for enrollment at Queens College, part of the City University of New York system. 

In March of this year, we had the chance to interview Joe again during the annual meeting of the American Council on Education in San Diego California.  Doug Brown, president of Capstone On-Campus Management conducted the interview.

 

Direct download: ep30_Bertolino2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:00pm CDT

Playing to Your Strengths and Overcoming Adversity

Clarion University President, Karen Whitney, spoke with us on adversity, utilizing your strengths, and the role of student housing on a university campus.  

Since assuming the presidency, Dr. Whitney has led the university to articulate a mission to provide transformative, lifelong learning opportunities through innovative, nationally recognized programs delivered in inclusive, student-centered environments.

Dr. Whitney has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Houston. She presents, teaches, researches, and writes in the areas of higher education finance, administration, law, student development, and student facilities.

Direct download: ep29_KarenWhitney.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 11:25am CDT

Dr. Nick Morgan spoke with us on the importance of effective storytelling when communicating.  

Dr. Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. A passionate teacher, he is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas – and then delivering them with panache.  He has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents.  He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to take on the investment community.  He has worked widely with political and educational leaders.  And he has himself spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world.

Direct download: ep28_NickMorgan.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 12:34pm CDT

How Decreasing Government Funding is Changing Higher Education

In a time where so many federal issues are clamoring for more and more funding, higher education's piece of the pie is getting smaller and smaller. Marshall University President, Stephen Kopp spoke with us about the issue of decreasing government funding for higher education institutions and how they'll likely have to deal with it in the future.

Direct download: ep27_StephenKopp.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 10:42am CDT

Part two of a two-part podcast.  This past November, Student Housing Business brought together leaders from higher education, as well as the student housing industry, for the inaugural InterFace Student Housing Conference in Orlando.  A wide variety of topics salient to student housing were discussed -from Finance to Architectural Design Trends to Residence Hall Renovations and Technology.   In case you weren’t able to attend, the following session is one (of many) that you won’t want to miss. Listen as Doug Brown moderates a panel of higher ed professionals including Norb Dunkel, Associate VP for Student Affairs, Auxiliary Operations, University of Florida; Carl Dieso, Associate Director of Housing Operations, University of Cincinnati; John Eckman, Director of Residential Services, University of Pennsylvania; and Marc Robillard, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services, Boston University.  The topic of the discussion is The State of On-Campus Housing: Utilizing Student Housing for Recruiting, Retention & Enrollment Management.

Direct download: ep26_InterfaceSessionPt2.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 6:42pm CDT

Part one of a two-part podcast.  This past November, Student Housing Business brought together leaders from higher education, as well as the student housing industry, for the inaugural InterFace Student Housing Conference in Orlando.  A wide variety of topics salient to student housing were discussed -from Finance to Architectural Design Trends to Residence Hall Renovations and Technology.   In case you weren’t able to attend, the following session is one (of many) that you won’t want to miss. Listen as Doug Brown moderates a panel of higher ed professionals including Norb Dunkel, Associate VP for Student Affairs, Auxiliary Operations, University of Florida; Carl Dieso, Associate Director of Housing Operations, University of Cincinnati; John Eckman, Director of Residential Services, University of Pennsylvania; and Marc Robillard, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services, Boston University.  The topic of the discussion is The State of On-Campus Housing: Utilizing Student Housing for Recruiting, Retention & Enrollment Management.

Direct download: ep25_InterfaceSession_pt1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm CDT

Dr. James Muyskens, President of Queens College, spoke with us about his upcoming retirement, reflected back on his career, and explained how a decision to bring a residence hall to the campus changed the school as a whole.

Direct download: ep24_Muyskens.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 4:51pm CDT

Kim Moistner-Bartlett spoke with us today about developing leaders and leadership skills in the higher education world.

Kim is an individual who is passionate about developing leadership in higher education, and specifically in student affairs and with student leaders.  She has blended her experiences in business and higher education administration to create Kimembee, a leadership development company.

She has held numerous professional roles including Assistant Dean for the First Year Experience, Director of the First Year Experience, Assistant Director of Residence Life, Area Coordinator and Residence Hall Director. She's worked at a variety of universities including The University of Southern Mississippi, Temple University, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Ball State University, Philadelphia University and the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

She has received state and regional awards for her innovative presentations, most notably in the area of customer service within higher education. She has instructed on-line courses on this topic for Student Affairs.com and Reslife.net.

Kim is also the author of “What if?” a weekly blog which challenges leaders and professionals to think outside of the box and be the best that they can be. Her blog is featured on Reslife.Net and Kimembee.com.

Interviewing Kim today is Melynda Davis, the Assistant Director for Residence Life at the Summit at Queens College in Flushing, New York.

Direct download: Ep23_KimMoistnerBartlett.mp3
Category:Join The Conversation Podcast -- posted at: 2:55pm CDT