Residence Life

RA Position

The primary goal of the Residence Life program is the development of an environment conducive to the academic and personal growth of students living in the residence halls. The Resident Assistant is a paraprofessional in the Department of Residence Life with responsibility for assisting in the achievement of these goals.


Resident Assistant Job Description

Specific RA responsibilities include the implementation of programs that encourage community development and personal growth as well as the support and implementation of policies and procedures that encourage a positive academic environment.  The RA also serves as a peer counselor and resource regarding the University community.  It is expected that any person who applies for an RA position is sincerely interested in the welfare of students and Southwestern University, and consequently, is constructively supportive of both.

  • Leadership potential
  • Personal qualities; i.e. maturity, self-esteem, self-reliance, motivation, initiative, high energy level, and responsibility
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Good discipline record at Southwestern
  • Applicants must have a cumulative 2.5 or higher grade point average.
  • Applicants must have lived in a residence hall for 1 full semester prior to the first full semester of employment.
  • It is recommended that applicants have completed at least 32 credit hours prior to employment. 

Exceptions may be granted, on rare occasions, by the Director of Residence Life and Housing.

  • Period of Employment:

The period of employment is for the entire academic year.  Specific dates are indicated in the RA contract.  All RAs are required to assist in the opening and closing of the halls for each semester and for all vacation periods.  Continuation of employment is dependent upon positive periodic evaluation by the Director of Residence Life and Housing and the Assistant Directors of Residence Life and demonstration of continued enthusiasm for the position.  RAs are expected to be the first residents in the halls and the last residents out of the halls.

  • Time Off:

RAs are permitted two weekends (6 nights) per month off campus.  A weekend is defined as extending from 5 p.m. on Friday to 8 a.m. on Monday.  If you choose to be gone one night of a weekend, this counts as ½ of your weekend off.  The time must be arranged in advance with your Head RA.  RAs are required to remain on campus on special weekends such as Homecoming and Family Weekend.

  • Living Arrangements:

RAs will be assigned to a staff room and will be given their choice of roommate.  When there is not an excess housing demand, the RA may select to reserve a single room.

  • Remuneration:

Compensation for the new RA position is in the amount of $1,577 per semester.

  • Time Commitments:

Work Load:  It is fully understood that student life work in residence halls is not easily translated into hours worked per day or week because of the nature of the work.  An RA can expect to be on duty on a regular basis, and should be accessible to students in the halls most evenings.  An RA should also expect to spend, on average, one night per week and one weekend per six weeks on duty.  This varies according to staff size in each building.  Other responsibilities may be determined by the Residence Life professional staff.

Course Load:  RAs should carry a minimum of 12 credit hours. An academic load of 17 hours or less is recommended for the first semester of employment.

Additional Work and Extracurricular Activities:  It is important that RAs remember that their position is demanding and thus their other activities will have to be limited.  RAs are not permitted to hold other compensatory positions without the approval of the Residence Life professional staff.  No student teaching should occur during the fall semester.  RAs seeking to student teach or intern during the spring semester should notify the Residence Life professional staff in advance.

  • Academic Performance:

All RAs must maintain a cumulative 2.5 grade point average.

  • Evaluation:

Formal written evaluation of RAs by their direct supervisor and floor residents will occur in December.  Informal evaluation or feedback will occur continuously as part of the supervision process.


Preamble:  The primary goal of the Residence Life program is the development of an environment conducive to the academic and personal growth of students living in the residence halls.  In accepting a position as a Resident Assistant, a student agrees to fulfill responsibilities which are supportive of these goals.  The following is a summary of the significant expectations for which RAs are responsible:  

If working with a FYS/AES:

  • Be an active participant in necessary reading and attend a few classes of your designated FYS/AES during orientation week.
  • Collaborate with professor(s) to schedule a time for them to come into the halls to engage with FYS outside the classroom.
  • Attend scheduled lunch and residence hall tour with designated professor(s) in the spring prior to the start of FYS/AES.
  • Work with FYS/AES professor(s) to plan programs based around coursework/theme.
  • Welcome students and assist them in their orientation to on-campus housing.  Greet and talk to the guests who may accompany their student.
  • Work with residents to develop a community that facilitates respect and concern for others, openness, personal growth, and an atmosphere that is conducive to study.
  • Initiate weekly conversations and visits with individual hall residents in order to become acquainted with them, their personal backgrounds, special interests and needs, and academic goals. 
  • Provide peer counseling (listening and referring) for residents and respond appropriately in emergency situations.  Provide support and assistance to other staff as necessary.
  • Attend required staff meetings and have regular individual meetings with the supervising professional staff member and the building Head RA.  Work cooperatively with other staff in addressing hall concerns.
  • Provide leadership and assistance in planning and implementing community-building programs and activities in accordance to the guidelines laid out in the staff manual.
  • Assist professional staff with planning and attend official Residence Life hosted events (Spooktakular, Open Houses, Mix n’ Match Mixer)
  • Conduct hall meetings or study breaks on a regular basis to facilitate group communication.
  • Help to coordinate intramurals for your hall.  Assist with captain selection, sign-up meetings, and active participation by residents.  Work actively with the Intramural Sports Specialist in promoting the Intramural program.
  • Explain University and hall policies to residents.  Address inappropriate behavior on the part of residents or guests.  Consult with the Residence Life professional staff as necessary to support the implementation of community standards (quiet hours, visitation, etc.).
  • Become knowledgeable of referral resources available for students including Faculty advisors, Financial Aid Office, University Counselor, University Chaplain, Residence Life Office, University Health Service, Career Services, Student Activities, etc.
  • Serve “on-duty” in the residence hall as necessitated by the building staff size and schedule. On nights when an RA is on-duty, they will sit in a designated area (office, hallway) for their building from 7-10 PM.
  • Perform administrative tasks such as checking in and checking out residents and reporting maintenance needs to appropriate staff; be able to answer questions regarding the housing assignment process, school year closing procedure, etc.
  • Return to campus prior to the beginning of each semester and remain on campus until the halls close at breaks and at the end of the semesters.
  • Attend training sessions and/or retreats which may occur during the academic year.