The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - 19

The Historical Progression of Residence Life Training Programs

viewees were selected from the ACUHO-I
executive council and the elected executive
council members of all nine regional ACUHO
organizations. Participants were invited to the
study via email and those willing were categorized by historical era. Additional participants
were solicited through a conference attended
by alumni of one specific graduate program
and two current housing professionals from
that conference participated. A total of 23 professionals were invited to participate, including four to five professionals within each of
the five historical eras. Of those 23 who were
invited, 15 professionals agreed to participate.
In the end, 10 professionals who represented
all of the historical eras submitted a survey and
were interviewed.
Detailed field notes were written and analyzed using the constant comparative method
(Glaser, 1965) to note themes, patterns, and
outlying ideas that permit stronger understanding of what participants reported about
their training during the five different historical time periods.

SURVEY RESULTS BY MAJOR
TOPICS
The surveys submitted were read multiple
times by the researchers. The major topics included by participants were structure, delivery,
and topics included in training; prior reading
assigned; and training offered beyond fall.

Structure of Training
Most residence life professionals reported receiving about two weeks of training as entry-level staff (some of this training included central
office staff); one to two weeks where graduate
students were trained with professionals; and

one to two weeks with RA staff totaling between
three to six weeks dedicated to pre-service training. Some reported that these were full business days (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.) of formal sessions
while others recalled more informal discussion
sessions that were held for a few hours each day.
In addition, some participants reported they attended informal training that included one-onone time with supervisors and having social or
team building events that ranged from eating
meals at restaurants to overnight retreats. Participants used the word "formal" often to describe this initial training they received.

Topics Covered in Training
A review of the topics that were presented in
training shows many related to aspects of a hall
director/assistant hall director position description. Multiple participants recalled sessions
on administrative functions (hall opening,
housing assignments, on-call, keys, managing
a desk), staff supervision, programming model
and community building, conduct processes,
understanding the facility, policies and procedures, advising hall government, and budget
management. More recently topics such as
diversity and inclusion, crisis management,
sexual assault, and suicide response have
become more prominent in training schedules. Participants also noted that team building activities, meetings with campus partners
(security/police, dean of students, food service,
counseling center staff), working with parents,
and maintaining a work-life balance were
offered as a part of formal training schedules.

Who Was Involved in Presenting Training
Sessions?
Overwhelmingly participants suggested that
housing staff were the primary "trainers" for

V O L U M E 4 5 , NO. 3 * 2 0 1 9

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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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