The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 83

Entry-Level Professionals' Proficiency with Helping Skills

it is recommended that students be placed at
specific internship sites where there are opportunities to develop their helping skills, i.e., in
the areas of student conduct, residence life, new
student orientation, and health education. This
model of putting learning into practice would
be valuable for students and staff alike.
Finally, the authors would be remiss if
they did not mention the need for all faculty
and staff to be proactive and increase primary
prevention efforts on campus. The Jed Foundation is a leading organization that uses a
comprehensive approach to promote health
and well-being among today's college students.
This foundation, in collaboration with the Education Development Center, developed a free
guide outlining a range of programs and interventions that can be implemented campuswide so that the entire campus community is
involved in promoting wellness (Davidson &
Locke, 2011).
As a result of this study, the researchers are
also compelled to raise the question of whether
we expect too much from our entry-level residence life professionals. Common duties as
described by Protivnak et al. (2013) include
administration, mediation, group facilitation,
conflict management, and crisis intervention.
However, as Paylo et al. (2017) noted, residence
life staff are often the first to hear about a student's mental health issues, and they often
feel stuck because these same students do not
typically seek counseling services. Considering the heightened needs of our students due
to mental health concerns, at the minimum
these entry-level professionals must be trained
to make appropriate referrals to the counseling center as well as the campus safety office.
Based on feedback from this survey, it may

also be valuable to discuss the decision-making
process and when staff should involve their supervisors, which could alleviate stress on both
the entry-level professional and the supervisor.

CONCLUSION
The purpose of this study was to determine
the prevalence of helping skills instruction
within student affairs graduate programs and
to compare these findings to the perceptions
SHOs have of the helping skills possessed by
entry-level housing professionals. The results
show that 28% of student affairs graduate programs surveyed in this study require a counseling/helping skills course. In addition, SHOs
observe that there is a discrepancy between
the ideal helping skills needed versus what
they are actually observing on the part of their
entry-level housing professionals.
In light of these overall findings there are
limitations to this study which must be acknowledged. First, while the response rate
of the survey was more than 30%, additional
responses would have allowed for further examination of the proposed research questions.
Second, while the researchers feel strongly that
utilizing only the Midwest region was appropriate due to the extent to which programs in
that area employ professionals from across the
country, surveying all members of ACUHO-I
would have provided more information. Third,
the researchers did not anticipate that 55% of
entry-level housing professionals would hold
a bachelor's degree as opposed to a master's
degree. Fourth, while websites offered a vast
amount of information, a website is only valuable if it is updated and includes the needed information. Thus, examination of a program's
syllabi for all classes would have clarified if and

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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 - Cover3
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Cover4
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