Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 44

Improving Praxis in Residence Life
While many participants noted a lack of transparent communication in their departments
and at their institutions, some shared positive examples where fast communication
and transparency helped them manage their responsibilities more effectively
and reduced their stress. Rita, a mid-level manager, explained,
[My supervisor] is doing her best to be transparent which I appreciate. . . . I feel like she's
always been transparent, but she's fast. That's it. So instead of waiting 'til our one-on-one
time to say, oh by the way I had this conversation, it's an immediate side chatter, " Hey,
can we pull together and Zoom for 15 minutes? I just want to update you, so you're not
caught off guard or so you're aware of something before your next one-on-one in four
days. " So the communication is swifter, that's what it comes down to.
When leaders like Rita's supervisor increased their communication and the speed of
their communication, professional staff were able to make informed decisions and
better prepare for what was to come next.
Lack of Work/Life Balance
Participants shared that they struggled to find a work/life balance due to heavy workloads
during the pandemic. As new responsibilities were added, none of their old
responsibilities were taken away. Christine, an entry-level staff member, shared her
experience:
I have felt very overwhelmed. Very overwhelmed and also very undervalued and
underappreciated by my department. So overwhelmed because I mean, I'm still expected
to do all of my normal duties and now I have to take on a lot of duties that normally I can
delegate out to other people. And also, it's not very possible to do, it's hard to fit into
a 40-hour week, hearing 10 conduct cases, doing rounds, because there are no RAs,
now I have to do daily rounds of my building, be on duty for multiple buildings, I have to
program and do bulletin boards. All of that is not really possible to do on top of all of the
other committees and that type of thing.
Entry-level staff like Christine had to take on student staff responsibilities in addition
to covering their normal duties. The high workload led Christine to feel overwhelmed
and underappreciated. Similarly, Margaret, a mid-level manager, noted,
The other duties they've assigned in res life with this pandemic has been . . . delivering
food when, you know, putting myself in harm without proper PPE, but knowing that if I
don't do it, there's no one else who will do it. . . . For me, that was huge. Someone has to
do it. I'm just going to step up.
Some participants took on the additional duties, even if it meant putting their health
at risk, as they did not think anyone else would be willing to step up and they felt a
responsibility to ensure that students' needs were met.
Participants shared that they struggled to find a work/life balance
due to heavy workloads during the pandemic. As new responsibilities
were added, none of their old responsibilities were taken away.
Volume 50, No. 2 * 2024 41

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2

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