The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 81

Entry-Level Professionals' Proficiency with Helping Skills

it is also important to point to the results from
the survey revealing that 55% of entry-level
housing professionals did not have a master's
degree. Considering these findings, it seems
likely that most entry-level housing professionals are deficient in the area of helping skills. As
mentioned earlier, "The master's degree from
a student affairs graduate preparation program
is recognized within the profession as one of
the most critical sources of professional preparation for entry into the field" (Kuk et al., 2007,
p. 665). The researchers would further argue
that a master's degree in student affairs that
includes training in helping skills is one of
the most critical sources of preparation. The
researchers do recognize that all institutions
of higher education cannot financially afford
to hire entry-level housing professionals with
a master's degree. For institutions in this po-

As a result of this study, the
researchers are also compelled to
raise the question of whether we
expect too much from our entrylevel residence life professionals.

sition, it is recommended that extensive training in helping skills is part of the onboarding
process. Specifically, the researchers point to
training in basic helping skills and motivational interviewing, which is a technique that
promotes empathy for others, reflective listening, direct communication, and the promotion

of self-efficacy for the purpose of making positive changes (Miller & Rollnick, 2013). In fact,
the researchers recommend that all entry-level
housing professionals receive training in motivational interviewing, as it is a skill set that can
be used in any helping situation.
The next question asked, "What types
of helping skills do SHOs in the Midwest
deem essential to be successful in entry-level
residence life positions?" The survey results
demonstrated that crisis intervention and management, conflict management/mediation,
and microskills/active listening skills were
very important for an entry-level professional
to successfully complete the requirements of
their position. This was in large part due to the
types of situations that professionals needed to
respond to, which included roommate issues,
mental health concerns, staff interactions, and
crisis interventions. Again, the authors recommend ongoing training in basic helping skills
and motivational interviewing as a means to
better manage conflict and crisis situations.
The third question asked, "Do SHOs perceive their current entry-level professionals as
possessing these skills?" While listed earlier as
the most important skill for entry-level professionals to have, almost 23% of the respondents
stated that they were not seeing interpersonal
skills, including both patience and communication. Other skills that were not observed
in entry-level professionals included diversity
or intercultural competence and supervision.
This supports the conclusions of both Reynolds
(2011) and Kuk et al. (2007) that practitioner
preparation in helping skills is not complete.
The purpose of the final research question was to compare the results of the other

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Cover1
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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Contents
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