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

An Interdisciplinary Approach

LINKING RESIDENTIAL LIFE AND
SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Certainly, the duties of residential life professionals and social workers differ in many ways;
however, a significant number of parallels exist
in professional expectations and day-to-day
functions. For instance, the U.S. Bureau for
Labor Statistics (2018) identified several essential job functions of social workers such as
identifying individuals and communities in

need of help, performing needs assessments
for individuals and communities, assisting
individuals in adjusting to life changes and
challenges, identifying resources, offering
referrals, managing crisis response, managing casework, and developing educational interventions to support individuals. Similarly,
professional standards for housing and residential life programs require professional
staff members to be competent in crisis man-

Table 1
A Comparison of Common Social Work and Residential Life Duties
Common Social Worker Duties*

Common Residential Life Duties**

Identify people and communities in need of help

Identify residents and residential populations in need of
support

Help clients adjust to changes and challenges in their
lives, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment

Assist residents as they adjust to college living and sometimes provide initial assessment and referral or intervention
for needs related to various hardships such as roommate
conflicts and traumas including sexual violence, hate
crimes, and severe mental illness

Research, refer, and advocate for community resources,
such as food stamps, childcare, and healthcare to assist
and improve a client's well-being

Become familiar with campus and community partners
in order to provide resource referrals for issues such as
behavioral, financial, career, health, academic, and social
assistance

Respond to crisis situations such as child abuse and
mental health emergencies

Respond to crisis through on-call emergency rotations and
provide first-responder crisis intervention

Follow-up with clients to ensure that their situations
have improved

Follow-up with students experiencing crisis and trauma as
well as provide further access to resources for students of
concern

Maintain case files and records

Maintain accurate and detailed reports regarding students
of concern and conduct cases through on-call reports and
database management

Develop and evaluate programs and services to ensure
that basic client needs are met

Create and assess programs and services that meet
residential student needs including community amenities,
co-curricular programming, and social development

*As outlined in Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018)
**As inferred from Cawthon & Schreiber (2012) & Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (2015)

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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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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