When Dr. Kathy MacKay takes on an interim role at a university, she believes in jumping in with both feet. Her seemingly endless energy and her passion for students means she is often seen at student events all around campus.
“People say, ‘You’re at everything!' That’s my job!” she says. MacKay believes that the dean of students needs to be the face of the division, regardless if she is just there for a semester or two. “You are more of a person. You get to know student’s lives better. It’s more fun,” says MacKay.
MacKay has served as WSU’s interim associate vice president and dean of students since March 2017 and currently oversees the Dean of Students Office, the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, Housing and Residence Life and the Office of Student Conduct and crisis response for the Division of Student Affairs. Her position is a contracted temporary appointment, designed to fill the position to support the Division’s immediate needs while the permanent associate vice president and dean of students position is filled. MacKay participated in the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Interim Executive Placement program when she was selected to fill WSU’s vacancy.
“WSU was a great fit because I worked at land-grant universities before. I believe in the land-grant mission, I like a challenge, and I like to help make positive change,” she says.
Helping students make the most out of their time at the institution by assisting them through barriers and providing them with resources is how MacKay defines her role. Her philosophy is not to tell students what they should do but to provide them with the guidance to be successful at what they want to do in college and beyond.
MacKay is has served in interim executive roles at Rocky Vista University and Front Range Community College. She is also the former vice president for student services at Metropolitan State University of Denver, the dean of students at Elmhurst College and the dean of students at Iowa State University.
In addition to administrative appointments, she taught classes in the higher education and student affairs graduate programs at Indiana University and Iowa State University. She also served as the director of student life for Semester at Sea.
MacKay is a Colorado native and has participated in the Downtown Denver Partnership Leadership program. She has been active in a number of professional organizations including the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). She has served as a member of The Center for Woman for NASPA.
MacKay received her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University-Fort Collins, a master’s degree from the University of Vermont and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. She will continue to serve as the interim associate vice president and dean of students at WSU through the 2018 fall semester.