Undergraduate Academic Affairs

June 8, 2023

Dr. Kristina Henry Collins named executive director of Robinson Center

Danielle Marie Holland

Photo of Kristina Collins

Dr. Kristina Henry Collins has been named the new executive director of the UW’s Robinson Center and will begin her tenure in September 2023.

Congratulations to Kristina Henry Collins, acclaimed professor and gifted education leader who has been appointed the new executive director of the UW Robinson Center, officially beginning her term September 1, 2023.

For more than 40 years, the Robinson Center for Young Scholars has offered challenging, accelerated learning opportunities at the University of Washington to highly capable young students. Recognized internationally for their excellence in gifted education, the Robinson Center remains committed to promoting research and discovery.

The nationwide search for an executive director of the Center led to Dr. Collins, with her record of significant research in gifted education and talent development, and strong commitment to educational equity and diversity.

“Dr. Collins is already a strong leader in developing programs that engage marginalized students and families in STEM education, and I am very excited to see her impact on the Robinson Center students and programs,” shared Janice DeCosmo, associate dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and interim director of the Robinson Center.  “We are lucky to have her as our new executive director.”

Collins envisions stewarding the Robinson Center by cultivating a shared vision and culture of innovation, including inclusive engagement, optimal performance and socioemotional well-being for students and staff. Collins is most excited about her role as center leader and serving as an agent who will foster a community of practice.

“Transformational and servant leadership are the principles that guide my approach to leading and teaching,” said Collins. “I aim to cast visions that are connected to the values and hopes for the future of the organizational members, the university and the larger community.”

“The Robinson Center will continue to create challenging and innovative programming for gifted young scholars under Collins’ leadership,” shared Vice Provost and Dean Ed Taylor. “She has the vision, knowledge and experience to steward the program and experiences of scholars into the future.”

Collins earned both her Ph.D. and Ed.S. in educational psychology: gifted and creative education from the University of Georgia in Athens. She was most recently the associate director at the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research, and an associate professor in the Talent Development Program at Texas State University. Collins received the College of Education Presidential Distinction Award of Excellence in Teaching at the assistant professor rank for her work at Texas State University.

Collins’ first formal experience with gifted education was as a parent of a gifted student herself. “Playing an active role in matching appropriate K-12 educational experiences to effectively nurture my son’s academic, creative and athletic talent, I learned to navigate spaces designed to meet his needs,” shared Collins. “I was also drawn to advocating for more equitable practice in recruiting, identifying and serving diverse populations of students in accelerated and gifted education.”

Collins’ philosophy as both a reflective leader and a teacher emphasizes the importance of contextual mentoring relationships. Taking clearly defined and communicated goals within a culturally responsive environment, she creates experiences that are empowering and engaging for all.

Collins intends to “inspire staff and students to reach their full potential by setting ambitious organizational goals, leading by example and prioritizing guidance toward the needs of the members for personal development and fulfillment.”

Collins is committed to the experience and development of current and future Robinson Center scholars, “I believe that every student has a right to engage in an educational setting that offers opportunities for students to maximize their potential.” In addition to Collin’s role at the Robinson Center, she will hold an affiliate faculty appointment in the College of Education and will hold an affiliate appointment in the School of Education at UW Tacoma.

About the Robinson Center

Through early entrance programs The Robinson Center prepares younger students for college and provides them with challenging, accelerated learning opportunities in a vibrant, intellectual community at the University of Washington. They also provide outreach through enrichment and summer programs that offer classes for highly capable Puget Sound students. The Robinson Center is a site for research and discovery of best practice in supporting highly capable young students and maintains the UW’s position as an internationally renowned center of gifted education.

Learn more about the UW Robinson Center here.