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Lessons-learned from Student Housing Professionals – Recorded LIVE at the 2019 Annual Meeting

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

Connect with Leigh Anne and COCM


Leigh Anne is the Director of Creative and Brand Marketing at COCM. In her role, she supports the development and implementation of the annual corporate marketing plan. She is responsible for overall brand strategy, content marketing, social media, video production, COCM’s website, marketing materials design and production, as well as serving as our liaison for COCM's sponsorships.