The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - 25

The Historical Progression of Residence Life Training Programs

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR
DEVELOPING TRAINING IN
RESIDENCE LIFE
Based on the information gained through
surveys and interviews, the authors offer the
following recommendations for residence life
staff training. First, try to plan training for
these staff at a time when they are also not
managing summer school or conferences or
when it conflicts with early move-in for student
groups. Earlier era staff recalled how nice it
was to have training as a stand-alone activity
when they could focus solely on the training,
team building, and hall preparation and when
it did not compete with other major responsibilities. This reality might mean having a
shorter time period for training, but if staff can
focus on learning their roles and their halls,
they may retain more information. It was also
suggested by participants to consider a shorter
training period that focuses on getting through
the first six weeks after hall opening and then
supplement with professional development activities throughout the semester to emphasize
other key training topics.
Second, consider a retreat that is away
from campus or the typical meeting areas and
is more than one long staff meeting. Use the
time for a combination of fun/team-building activities and learning content. Some staff
stated that having a single subject retreat,
focused on social justice or on helping students succeed felt like a really good use of the
time. Sharing meals that the staff prepared as a
group or that are catered by dining services or a
favorite off campus restaurant can be another
way to bond. It does not have to be expensive
or lengthy if budget is a concern. Being "away"

The authors recommend that
lecture-based training be replaced
or at least supplemented with
computer-delivered modules,
simulations, and short (20
minute) but intensive sessions
to maintain focus, attention and
enthusiasm.

and together are two important qualities to
consider when planning a staff retreat.
A third recommendation is to intentionally engage in discussions about the purpose of
training, whether it is meant to be a fun "experience" or to educate about content and responsibilities. Some training was focused on building
relationships and introducing staff to campus
in an engaging way. Other staff shared the
purpose of their training was to educate about
new campus needs or priorities and to meet
legislative/campus mandates. Some campuses
have a sequenced residential curriculum that
offers "on-time" training by introducing topics
necessary to open the halls and then training
on other important topics as they are needed
later in the year. The ACUHO-I competencies
(Cawthon et al., 2012) can also provide a structured framework for initial as well as ongoing
training with the goal of staff being exposed to
all the competencies over the course of the academic (or calendar) year.
Research (e.g. Kretiovics, 2002) has reported that staff with masters' degrees in higher

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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
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Cover2
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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Contents
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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 3 - Cover3
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