Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3 - 12

Introduction to the 2021
Special Issue of The Journal of College
and University Student Housing:

Resident Assistant Hiring Practices

R

ECOGNIZED AS THE " heart of any
residence life program " (Fotis, 2013,
p. 43), the paraprofessional Resident
Assistant (RA) job is nearly synonymous
with college housing (Bailey & Grandpre,
1997; Blimling, 2010; Bowman & Bowman,
1995). The importance of the RA position is
underscored by its inclusion in the Council
for the Advancement of Standards in Higher
Education (2015) for Housing and Residential Life Programs. RAs encompass a large
percentage of housing operations' organizational structures (Horvath & Stack, 2013).
Thus, housing programs execute comprehensive processes to identify and hire the
most qualified candidates for these essential
roles (Jaeger & Caison, 2006).
	
Many processes and philosophies exist
for hiring student staff (Ostroth, 1981); yet
years of practice have not yielded a consensus best practice. Since Ostroth's (1981) landmark literature review there has been limited
scholarship about hiring RAs. In fact, much
of the literature suggests recommendations
for improving hiring practices (e.g., Deluga
& Masson, 2000; Evans et al., 2001; Jaeger
& Caison, 2006; Wu & Stemler, 2008) with
limited-if any-follow up scholarship addressing those recommendations (Stoner,

2019). Although two recent studies explored
the utility of the hiring process as a predictor
of future job performance (Berg & Stoner,
2016; Stoner, 2019), there remains a large
gap in understanding RA selection processes
and their components.
	
To remedy this, and on behalf of The
Journal of College and University Student
Housing Editorial Board and the ACUHO-I
Executive Board, we are pleased to submit to
the readership this themed issue dedicated
to advancing our collective understanding
of RA hiring practices. This issue serves as
a strong companion to the 2019 theme issue
on training and development in housing and
residence life programs (Kniess et al., 2019),
recognizing the best training and selection
efforts succeed in tandem. The breadth of
articles presented here covers a wide range
of focal areas including detailed looks at specific components, staff decision-making, and
even resource allocations.
	
Despite its prevalence as a tool within
many RA hiring processes, group process
has long been overlooked in housing literature. Denise Davidson and Mark Bauman
begin the issue filling this gap by exploring
the history, utility, effectiveness, and ethics
of group process. The authors pose many

Although two recent studies explored the utility of the hiring process
as a predictor of future job performance, there remains a large gap in
understanding RA selection processes and their components.
Volume 47, No. 3 * 2021

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Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol. 47 No. 3

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