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Student Housing on the Community College Campus – with Tracy Morris

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

Connect with Leigh Anne


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.