Housing and Residence Life selects new director

Erian Bradley

Following the retirement of WKU’s Housing and Residence Life director Kit Tolbert, HRL employee of 33 years, a new director has been named to fill the position.

Mike Reagle, the new director, said he is excited to impact students on a different level. He said he wants to create programs that will impact students in a greater way and give them the best experience while they’re at college.

“Students spend 15 to 18 hours in classes, and the rest of their time is spent in their dorms,” Reagle said. “I think this is a great opportunity to develop relationships with students and staff to make housing better.”

Reagle has been the associate vice president for student success at Youngstown State University and had 14 years of experience with housing as an employee at Eastern Kentucky University. At EKU, he oversaw Housing and Residence Life, campus recreation, dining and student services.

Reagle said he is ready to collaborate with staff to familiarize himself with WKU Housing and Residence Life. 

He said he will see what’s already in place, listen to what’s working and then see what needs to be done. Dining services will also fall under Reagle’s responsibilities in addition to housing, a combination Reagle said he is excited about.

“The Housing and Residence Life [at WKU] is well laid out already, and that’s known state-wide,” Reagle said. “I want to be responsible for what needs to be fixed and progress.”

Reagle said his position at EKU was small, and he wanted to be more involved with students and staff. Reagle said he’s never worked closely enough with students to be able to impact them or make a huge difference.

A former colleague informed Reagle of the job opening at WKU; Reagle said he had been “intrigued” by the news. Reagle said he was content at his old job but loves what WKU does and had a real interest in becoming a WKU employee.

“Western has made so much progress, and I felt it was a great opportunity for a new job and for me to move back to Kentucky,” he said. “I wanted to do something that I love to do, and that’s work with students.”

Kenna Middleton, the former director of Housing and Residence Life at EKU and current Dean of Students, said Reagle was a great employee, loved his job and he did it well.

“He had a great work ethic; he’s a great team person that believes in collaboration and working together as a team,” Middleton said.

Middleton mentioned a yearly retreat Reagle had developed for the division of campus life and multicultural staff.

“He created the retreat for us to get away for a couple days and talk about progression,” she said. “We created themes, and one theme was called strength finder. [The] majority of the time we talked about different strengths in programs … and building a team that worked well together.”

Underclassmen at WKU rely heavily on housing because of the rule requiring freshmen and sophomore students to stay on campus for at least two years. Though not required to do so, some upperclassmen choose to live in the residence halls all four years.

Some students feel the on-campus housing is decent but needs improvement.

“I stay in a dorm, and I’m a senior, but I feel that one thing the new director should look into is making every dorm co-ed,” senior Shantel Pettway said. “You need co-ed dorms to give people more diversity and different backgrounds of life.”

Reagle said his new job is not about him, it’s about the students. He said his main goal is to serve the students at WKU he said he hopes the staff has the same philosophy as him to make the school successful.

“All freshmen want to get a degree, and we need to do whatever we can to help the students here,” he said. “We need to figure out how to change the course of people not finishing.”

 Reporter Erian Bradley can be reached at (270) 745-0655 and [email protected]