Position Description

Reporting to the executive director of residence education and housing services, the associate director for residence hall services is a leader within the Department of Residence Education and Housing Services (REHS) in the Division of Residential and Hospitality Services (RHS) at Michigan State University (MSU). The position provides strategic leadership and supervision to a unit consisting of 158 facilities staff, including four direct reports.  The associate director will work closely within their unit across 27 residence halls and with external partners to develop a long-range plan to fully serve and accommodate all residents through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. They manage and oversee a total operational budget of nearly $30 million. The associate director will work closely with departmental leadership to incorporate a change mindset amongst the unit to mirror divisional/University priorities.

The Position

History of the Position

This associate director position was formerly one position that served both the apartments and the residence halls. Tom Welburn served in the associate director capacity prior to his retirement in 2020. The former position has since been split into two positions with one focused on management of the apartments and the other being focused on the residence halls.

Residence Education and Housing Services focuses on a variety of areas that impact students’ overall on-campus living experience. REHS manages 27 residence halls and three apartment communities and focuses on student engagement and development, intercultural learning and inclusion, safety and security of residents, and sustainable practices.

Likely Opportunities, Priorities, and Challenges of the Position

Residence Education and Housing Services is a complex entity with wide-ranging stakeholders and responsibilities. It is imperative that the associate director fully comprehend and embrace a collaborative operation that relies heavily on shared relationships with stakeholders.

While this position is responsible for housing operations, relationship building and leadership skills are the top priorities for the hiring manager. It is important for candidates to have strong supervision and staff development skills in order to be successful in this role. With the re-configuration of this position, it will be important for the new associate director for residence hall services to have frequent communication with others on the REHS leadership team.

Within this context, there are several aspects of the role of associate director in which successful candidates will need to be prepared to lead after a period of acclimatization and relationship building.

These include:

  • working in partnership with the associate director for apartment and central services to provide an overall consistent approach to facility service operations;
  • being politically astute and understanding the value of collaborations and partnerships;
  • working closely within their unit across 27 residence halls and with external partners to develop a long-range plan to fully serve and accommodate all residents through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • development of trainings and professional development plans for all employees to enhance their personal growth and to provide the highest level of service to all students in housing;
  • working closely with the executive director to plan strategic goals to address the needs of the students;
  • conducting a thorough audit of departmental data and reviewing processes related to compliance and regulations;
  • understanding the complexity and breadth of services provided by the department;
  • working to improve morale of staff and making them feel supported as they are returning to post COVID operations;
  • collaborating with key colleagues across the department and the campus to support and develop a long-range plan to fully serve and accommodate all residents through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion;
  • managing both short- and long-term strategic planning and program development working with both capital projects and management systems and utilizing resources effectively.


The successful candidate will have a master’s degree in higher education administration or related field and five to eight years of related and progressively responsible and expansive work experience in residence hall administration; experience in program development, administration, assessment, management and/or supervision; or an equivalent combination of education and experience. The successful candidate will also possess experience working directly with people with diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, and gender identities; experience incorporating the perspectives of multiple communities in the consideration of impacts and outcomes of a decision-making process; an understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and bias and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities; the ability to adapt communication style to multiple cultural environments and multiple social identities; and the ability to engage with identity and its intersections as a primary lens in supervisory practices.

Institution & Location

Institutional Background

Michigan State University is a public research university in East Lansing, Michigan. MSU was founded in 1855 and became the nation’s first land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862, serving as a model for future land-grant universities. The university was founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, one of the country’s first institutions of higher education to teach scientific agriculture. As a university of, for, and by the people, Michigan State University began a long tradition of empowering people through educational opportunity. After the introduction of the Morrill Act, the college became co-educational and expanded its curriculum beyond agriculture. Today, MSU is the eighth-largest university in the United States (in terms of enrollment) and has more than 500,000 living alumni worldwide. Home to nationally ranked and recognized academic, residential college, and service-learning programs, MSU is a diverse community of dedicated students and scholars, athletes and artists, as well as scientists and leaders.

MSU pioneered the studies of packaging, hospitality business, botany, supply chain management, music therapy, and communication sciences. Michigan State frequently ranks among the top 40 public universities in the United States and the top 100 research universities in the world. U.S. News & World Report ranks many of its graduate programs among the best in the nation, including African history, criminology, industrial and organizational psychology, educational psychology, elementary and secondary education, nuclear physics, rehabilitation counseling, supply chain/logistics, and biosystems/agricultural engineering. MSU is a member of the Association of American Universities, an organization of 65 leading research universities in North America. The university’s campus houses the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, Abrams Planetarium, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and one of the country’s largest university residence hall systems.

The Michigan State Spartans sports teams compete in the Big Ten Conference of NCAA Division I. Spartan football won the Rose Bowl tournament in 1954, 1956, 1988 and 2014, and the team has won six national championships. Spartan men’s basketball won the NCAA National Championship in 1979 and 2000 and has enjoyed a streak of 22 straight NCAA appearances, including 10 Final Fours. Spartan ice hockey won NCAA national titles in 1966, 1986, and 2007. The women’s cross country team was named Big Ten champions in 2019.

Division Leadership

Ray Gasser, Executive Director of Residence Education and Housing Services

Ray Gasser is the executive director of residence education and housing services at Michigan State University. Previously, he was director of university housing at the University of Idaho. He has worked in housing since 1997 at six different institutions. He earned his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arizona.

Vennie Gore, Senior Vice President for Auxiliary Enterprises

 Vennie Gore is the senior vice president for auxiliary enterprises at Michigan State University. He oversees all operations within the division of RHS and contributes to the oversight of MSU’s University Licensing Program, as well as the Land Management Office. Among other notable accomplishments, Vennie earned the 2016 Elizabeth A. Greenleaf Alumni Award from Indiana University and recently completed Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management.

Institutional Leadership

Samuel Stanley, President

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., was selected by the Michigan State University Board of Trustees as MSU’s 21st president, effective Aug. 1, 2019. Since his arrival at MSU, Dr. Stanley has moved decisively to ensure the University is a safe, respectful, and welcoming place for all. Student success and well-being and continuing to grow MSU’s extraordinary regional and global impact are his top priorities.

His infectious disease research background has informed MSU’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as he leads the University’s work to safely advance its mission of education, research, and outreach.

Stanley launched a comprehensive strategic planning process for the University, created a diversity, equity, and inclusion planning committee, and appointed two relationship violence and sexual misconduct expert advisers. He has overseen several changes in the institution’s administration, organization, and programs to improve services, operations, and accountability.

Continuing to expand the university’s research enterprise is another priority. MSU’s research portfolio totaled $725 million in 2019 expenditures. MSU’s $730 million Facility for Rare Isotope Beams is planned to begin scientific user operations ahead of schedule and on budget in 2022. Operating at the frontiers of nuclear science, it will yield insights into the nature of the universe, as well as practical discoveries to enhance everyday life. FRIB reached a milestone in 2020 when the United States Department of Energy (DOE) designated it a DOE Office of Science user facility.

A researcher, patent holder, and former technology transfer executive, Stanley supports academic and industry collaborations to leverage both their economic impact and the potentially enormous contributions they can make to society.

Stanley also reorganized oversight of the University’s three medical colleges and its clinical services into a health sciences entity. And, in January 2021, MSU signed a 30-year agreement with the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit to foster groundbreaking research, best-in-class cancer care and health care professional diversity while improving access in traditionally underserved communities. In another collaborative relationship, MSU and Apple Inc. agreed to partner on a Developer Academy in Detroit, the company’s first such skills development facility in the United States.

Active in higher education organizations, Stanley sits on the boards of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the University Innovation Alliance, and the Michigan Association of State Universities. He is an engaged member of Michigan’s University Research Corridor, Business Leaders for Michigan, and the Association of American Universities (AAU), having served previously on the AAU board. Stanley holds appointments to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission’s Health Care Advisory Committee and the McKinsey & Company Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity. He also is a past member of the NCAA Board of Directors and NCAA Board of Governors.

Born in Seattle, Stanley earned a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Chicago. After earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, he completed resident-physician training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then went to Washington University in St. Louis for a School of Medicine fellowship in infectious diseases. There, he became a professor in the departments of medicine and molecular microbiology, recognizing the collaborative nature of his research.

A distinguished biomedical researcher, Stanley was one of the nation’s top recipients of support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his research focusing on enhanced defense against emerging infectious diseases. He is an expert in the biological mechanisms that cells employ when responding to infectious agents.

Stanley has served as chair of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, which advises the U.S. government on issues related to the communication, dissemination, and performance of sensitive biological research. He was a member of the National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council at the NIH and a member of the NIH director’s Blue Ribbon Panel on the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories. He also served as an ambassador for the Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research and has received an honorary doctorate in science from Konkuk University in South Korea.

Prior to becoming MSU’s president, Stanley served as president of Stony Brook University on Long Island in New York. At Stony Brook, he focused on improving campus diversity and student success and elevated the University’s research profile by supporting a new institute for artificial intelligence. He chaired the board of Brookhaven Science Associates, which manages Brookhaven National Laboratory on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Benefits Overview

  • Health insurance
  • Dental coverage
  • Retirement plan
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Life/accident insurance
  • Long term disability
  • Prescription drug plan
  • Several voluntary, employee-paid benefits programs

For a detailed look at MSU benefits for Executive Managers, visit https://hr.msu.edu/benefits/index.html.

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin August 3rd. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Laura Puckett-Boler at lpb@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Michigan State University website at www.msu.edu.

Michigan State University informs all members of its faculty, staff, student body, contractors, and guests, that MSU prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, gender, gender identity, disability, height, marital status, political persuasion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight in its programs and activities.