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Hall Staff Training
Mid-July marks the start of the school year for nine Residence Hall Directors and two Assistant Residence Hall Directors. In total there are thirteen live-in staff members (including two full-time Residence Life Coordinators) learning from each other and other campus experts how to manage a residence hall and successfully build a community of 30-250 residents that will soon arrive on campus. Over 3,000 residents live and learn in fourteen UND residence halls.
"Staff training plays a huge role in developing our staff to be the best they can be," explains Casey Weaver, Assistant Director of Housing. He organized the five-week training schedule and believes it's well worth the time spent planning. "Our live-in staff members are the people who will interact the most with the students throughout the year and the training they receive at the beginning, and throughout year, helps them make each interaction with a student meaningful."
Staff are trained on a wide range of topics from building a cohesive team, to creating a healthy and engaging community within their building, as well as how to deal with situations that may arise in the residence halls.
Resident Assistants (RAs) and Community Assistants (they are called CAs in University Place) arrive ten days before school starts to join training. This year, 85 RAs are part of the hall staff team. RAs live on each floor/wing of a hall and oversee approximately 30 residents. The hall staff members are instrumental in the success of the community living experience and work hard to create a positive environment for learning.
Cindy Spencer, Residence Life and Education Director, spends much of her time participating in training activities. "Our live-in staff are the front line people who respond to so many different situations with our students. It is so important for them to work as a team and have confidence in their own knowledge and abilities," Spencer states. "The training they receive gives them the tools, knowledge and access to resources and helps them develop the additional confidence they need to do their jobs."
Campus partners from the Counseling Center, Police Department, Lock Shop, Fire Safety, and Academic Support work together to effectively train the staff on topics important to the success of students coming together in a community living setting.
Training Topics include:
- building a team
- celebrating diversity
- learning the UND residence life programming model
- understanding the importance of safety and security
- discovering individual leadership styles and strengths
- mentoring and managing conflict
- creating community and cultural awareness
- effectively communicating and learning professionalism
- balancing academics and job duties
- meeting friends and having fun!
Staff training does not stop once the students move into the residence halls; it continues throughout the year with different topics that the live-in staff may have to face. Weaver strongly believes that UND's live–in staff learn something new every week and that they are the people that make the residence hall more than just a place to live.