The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - 21

The Historical Progression of Residence Life Training Programs

INTERVIEW RESULTS
HIGHLIGHTING CHANGES IN
TRAINING OVER TIME
There were three general themes that emerged
from the interviews that complemented the
survey results reported by participants. These
included: (a) memories about their training,
(b) the lessons learned from graduate and new
professional training that continues resonating
with their current practices, and (c) the topics
and subsequent rationale for including these
topics in the initial trainings that participants
reflected on. Within each of these themes, the
differences between staff who experienced
training between 1993-2005 (earlier era)
and those trained between 2005-2018 (more
recent era) are highlighted.

What Made Training Memorable?
Overwhelmingly, research participants remembered staff training as a time to build relationships, to establish a working team, and
to "feel" that sense of community. They valued
the opportunity to "get to know others" and
experience a sense of home and belonging on
the campus. Participants stressed the building of relationships as more important in
most cases than content covered during training. The development of a team and the value
of getting to know one another while developing community was consistent. One participant stated: "The relationships were key and
that is where time was spent during training.
I have instant peers-a feeling of belonging,
feeling welcomed, a feeling of finding a community of peers that I could trust, be vulnerable with . . . ." A second participant shared, "I
remember the sense of feeling part of a team.
I was welcomed and felt part of a small team

and a large team [and had a] a feeling of being
at home . . . where I needed to be."
Another memory expressed by staff interviewed was how enjoyable training time was for
them. More senior-level staff than those who
had been trained more recently recalled that
those month(s) of training time were "fun." The
schedule was developed around a theme and involved games and events in the evening and on
weekends. One participant shared:
They made training fun, used lots of visuals
to engage staff, and had giveaways to
enhance learning. I remember it was about
developing community, and while we were
learning all day, there were events in the
evening to help us develop relationships and
community.
These structured events allowed for team
building, communication between staff at all
levels, and sharing about work and personal
values.
Participants reflected that earlier era training was a time during the late summer devoted
exclusively to preparing staff for their roles.
Trainers were able to emphasize relationships
because buildings were empty and there were
not many other commitments pulling staff
away like conferences or early move-in that interfered with attention to training.
Participants also shared that training included events in the evening and expectations
for involvement outside of the structured
training sessions. One participant commented
about the intentional planning of evening activities, "A social was held at the director's house,
a social was at a local sports bar at the conclusion of a scavenger hunt, and a golf outing was

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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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