Res Life CareersWhat does a Resident Assistant do?
Being an RA is more than just a job; it is a life experience. Take some time to talk with someone who works in Residence Life. They can give you a realistic picture of what to expect as an RA. Please contact us with any questions at DHFSSTUDENTJOBS@austin.utexas.edu.
An RA wears many different hats. In addition to being a student, an RA's responsibilities in the residence halls take top priority. Here are some of the roles you will assume if you become an RA:
One of the most exciting opportunities you will have as an RA is the chance to educate your peers. A key part of the RA position is to get to know each and every resident on your floor in a meaningful way. In addition, an RA is asked to facilitate educational, social, and other types of programs for residents. Typically, an RA is required to plan ten programs each semester. It is important that the RA spends the time and energy necessary to build a community among the residents of their floor or section. One of the foundations of this community is the understanding that the living environment complements academic pursuits.
Many residents come to their RA with personal issues and academic concerns. You may be the first person a resident talks with about these matters. RAs are caring individuals who receive training in order to respond with skill and sensitivity in a variety of counseling situations.
As a representative of the Division of Housing and Food Service, an RA plays a vital role in disseminating information about on-campus events, policies and procedures to residents. Posting flyers, writing newsletters, maintaining up-to-date bulletin boards, and hosting meetings are some of the more common ways an RA serves as a resource person.
Part of the RA job is task-oriented. Resident Assistants are expected to complete the necessary forms for programs, maintenance requests, discipline incidents, weekly reports and other daily occurrences. It is essential that these administrative functions be carried out promptly. The administrative tasks of the RA position are particularly important at the beginning and end of each semester during check-in and check-out times.
Working at an area desk is another administrative function of the RAs. Providing efficient customer service in a friendly manner is your first priority during desk hours. Most RAs work an average of five hours per week at an area desk.
Building rounds are an essential part of keeping halls running smoothly. While on rounds, RAs interact with residents, and address any facility, safety or security issues.
An RA must uphold, follow, and enforce the policies of the residence halls and of the University. It is important for an RA to understand and be able to articulate the rationale of various policies in order to maintain a respectful community in the hall. On your own floor or section, or while on-call, you may have to confront inappropriate behaviors of residents and sometimes will need to work with your Hall Coordinator to develop positive outcomes.
RAs are expected to follow all University and Residence Hall policies. An RA must role model responsible, community-oriented behavior and is expected to encourage the development of these behaviors in other students.
Who Will I Work With?
Fellow Resident Assistants are your primary support system. You will develop a strong sense of team with your fellow staff members. The relationships you build on staff will probably be among the most important parts of your college experience. You will have anywhere from five to fourteen RAs on your staff. You will get the chance to collaborate with Resident Assistants from staffs across campus throughout the year in training sessions and ongoing staff development activities.
Hall Coordinators and Graduate Hall Coordinators work in residence halls full-time and are your direct supervisors. HCs and GHCs are responsible for the daily administration of the residence halls. They handle student discipline and counseling, advise the Residence Hall Council and serve on committees.
Area Managers design, implement, coordinate and evaluate policies in the Residence Halls. Area Managers supervise Hall Coordinators and Graduate Hall Coordinators.
Faculty Mentors are faculty members who have agreed to participate in the Faculty Mentor Program. These professors want to get to know students in the residence halls. They do this by eating meals with RAs and the residents from that building, and sometimes facilitating programs. Every RA is required to work with the Faculty Mentors.