James Collins

James Collins

Associate Dean & Co-Director,
Student Support Services

Areas of Specialization & Professional Interests
James has been supporting students through their MIT journeys since 1997. He has great respect for the learning and growth that comes with mindfully facing the things that challenge us.  James is a proponent of students making good use of the Institute’s Leave of Absence policy, and is involved in processing all leaves and returns. Along with S3 Co-Director, Ray Feller, James helps oversee the day to day functioning of Student Support Services. 

SUNY Albany, BS in Computer Science
Suffolk University, MS in Mental Health Counseling

I’ve been providing support to MIT students in different capacities since 1987 (minus 4 years in the 1990’s). However, that’s not what I imagined for myself when I started my secondary education as a first-generation college student. I initially pursued a degree in meteorology …. but then I encountered thermodynamics – ouch!  I switched majors to computer science – not because I was particularly passionate about the subject, but because that’s what my older brothers studied. In my first summer internship, though, I found myself sitting in a cubicle questioning what I was doing with my life. This prompted me to take some time off from my undergraduate education to try to get some perspective on my goals. I eventually completed my computer science degree, but my experiences led me to pursue a degree in mental health counseling, and to my starting to work in Student Support Services in 1990.
I have great respect for the learning and growth that comes with mindfully facing the things that challenge our expectations and sense of self. I’m grateful to be in a position where I can talk with and learn from students every day about their MIT experience, and to provide the space and time to explore together ways of navigating the bumps and potholes (and mountains and craters!) that students often encounter during their MIT journey.
Outside of MIT, I enjoy traveling, live performances, and trying new things – especially when it comes to cooking and eating! But most of all, I like to hang out with my husband and two cats.

Email: jmcollins@mit.edu
Phone: 617-253-4861