California State University, Long Beach
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Roberts-Corb Finally Landed Her Dream Job as Housing Director

Published: April 2, 2010

For the past 20 years, Carol Roberts-Corb had really wanted just one job and one job only. Now she has it.

CSULB’s newest Director of Housing and Residential Life, Roberts-Corb always kept her eye on the position she now holds, even from afar.

“For the past 20 years I have wanted this position at Cal State Long Beach, not only because I live in Los Alamitos, which was certainly always a big draw for me,” said Roberts-Corb, “but also because of the reputation of the program and I like working for the state. I wasn’t looking for another job, but this job I couldn’t let pass me by because who knows when it would be open again.”

Her journey into the housing profession had an odd beginning, at least for someone who was studying pre-med at the time. She wound up majoring in English at UC Santa Barbara, but only after realizing that while pre-med would most likely lead to a more lucrative job, it wasn’t something she really enjoyed.

“During my first year I was miserable,” she said, “then I was taking a prerequisite English class and one of my professors wrote on one of my papers, ‘You write really well, have you ever considered being an English major?’ I love to write and I love to read, so I shifted my perspective from having a major that I could do something with later on to doing something I loved. I so much more enjoyed my college experience by doing something I loved to do and I found my passion.”

She became a residential assistant (R.A.) at UCSB and that changed her life.

“I think I fell in love with the profession as a freshman, because looking back I just loved everything about residence halls,” she said. “I thought our R.A. was so cool, I wanted to be just like her, influencing other students and making an impact.”

After graduating with a degree in English, Roberts-Corb stayed on at UCSB and worked as a supervisor of R.A.s for two years.

She then earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs at the University of Vermont and since then has worked at the University of Southern California, University of Vermont, San Diego State, UC Irvine and Concordia University in Irvine.

“The vast majority of my career has been at larger schools,” she said. “So, I feel most comfortable in this kind of setting.”

Not only is Roberts-Corb the first female housing director at CSULB, she is the first who didn’t come up through the ranks.

Carol Roberts-Corb
Photo by David J. Nelson
Carol Roberts-Corb

“I have great respect for this program and how it has been, but they have never had a director that didn’t come up through the Long Beach system,” she said, “so my hope is that I can add my experiences, my perspectives from other universities to build upon what’s here, but I want to do that in the most respectful way possible.”

She got the opportunity to make an impact almost immediately since she was hired just after CSULB took over the former Brooks College site, now called the Residential Learning College (RLC).

“I got here a month after we took over that building so I was fortunate enough to be part of all the renovations and to build that program,” she said, noting that it is an attractive alternative for students. “It is the first residence hall that’s not immediately in the core of campus and last year they were renovating it so we couldn’t give people tours and had to kind of sell it sight unseen and that was difficult. Students will love it. It’s beautiful. Rooms are bigger, the common spaces are really beautiful, the dining hall is state of the art and its got a pool.

“And, while it is true that students will love it for its location and facilities, what excites me most about the Residential Learning College is the opportunity to work collaboratively with Academic Affairs to integrate the living and learning experiences for students,” added Roberts-Corb. “It’s a chance to demonstrate that learning happens everywhere at a university, including in housing.”

Along with the RLC, the other residence halls which accommodate more than 2,400 students include the Los Cerritos and Los Alamitos Halls, Parkside Commons, Residence Commons and International House.

As far as Roberts-Corb’s future plans, she said, “I have no vision beyond this job. This is what I want to do.”