The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - 16

Phyllis McCluskey-Titus * Tony W. Cawthon * Zach Helms

grams, in tandem with supervisors of new
professionals and professional associations,
must better understand how training and
professional development programs prepare
practitioners for myriad issues" (p. 109). To
understand the evolution and importance of
training programs in housing and residence
life, it is advantageous to understand the ways
in which entry-level professionals are recruited to the field and the ways in which competency development has changed over time.

Staff of all historical eras reflected
on the feelings that remained from
their early training experiences and
the bonding, community building,
and sincere welcome they received
while becoming a part of a new
staff team.

Recruiting and Retaining Entry-Level
Professionals
Recruiting and retaining entry-level housing
and residence life professionals is an issue
that challenges many college and university
housing offices (Wilson, 2008; Dunkel &
Schreiber, 1992). Likewise, there are no graduate programs in student affairs or higher
education that exclusively prepare students
to serve as housing and residence life professionals. The Council for the Advancement of
Standards in Higher Education (CAS) identifies functional areas required of student
personnel graduate programs including (a)
foundational studies, including history and
philosophy; (b) professional studies, consisting of student development theory, student
characteristics and the effects of college on
students, individual and group interventions,
organization and administration, and assessment, evaluation, and research; and c) supervised practicums and/or internships (CAS,
2015, p. 562).
As the majority of entry-level positions
require a completed master's degree, the staff
recruited should be qualified to carry out the
tasks of the job, but Kretovics (2002) found

16

that assistantship experience, demonstrated
helping skills, commitment to diversity, and
practicum experience during graduate work,
coupled with a master's degree in student
personnel/student affairs are the most highly
favored traits when reviewing applicants for
entry-level positions in student affairs.
Retaining housing and residence life staff
has its own set of challenges. For one, housing
and residence life offices recruit a high number
of entry-level professionals but offer far fewer
positions at the mid-manager and director
levels which creates a lack of upward mobility
opportunities (Evans, 1988). Richmond and
Sherman (1991) found that 39% of respondents in their study were dissatisfied with
opportunities for career advancement. Other
research reveals a number of other reasons
for leaving the student affairs field including a
need for more professional development (Marshall, Gardener, Hughes, & Lowery, 2016).
Dunkel and Schreiber stated (1992) "a professional development plan, which identifies
skills and competencies an individual wants
to develop or enhance, can be quite useful,

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Cover1
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