Residence Life

Residence Life is one of four functional units within University Residences. Other units consist of Business and Information Systems, Facilities, and Occupancy, Communication and Administrative Services.

Learn more about each of our residential areas through Explore the Buildings.

Supervising Resident Director

As a Supervising Resident Director, you will have the opportunity to create a unique residential experience for students and staff members in a residential community of 550-700 students. In this role, you will:

  • Have a higher level of decision-making authority
  • Supervise 1 full-time professional staff member (Assistant Resident Director)
  • Chair committees within the unit
  • Serve in the senior staff on call rotation
  • Represent the unit on departmental committees and campus initiatives
  • Serve as a leader and educator who promotes equity and inclusion in the community 
  • Help students develop consciousness regarding principles of equality, respect, and individual and collective responsibility.

Resident Director 

As a Resident Director, you will have the opportunity to create a unique residential experience for students and staff members in a residential community of 300-600 students. In this role, you will:

  • Serve as a leader and educator who promotes equity and inclusion in the community 
  • Help students develop consciousness regarding principles of equality, respect, and individual and collective responsibility
  • Build and refine your skills in providing academic support, crisis response and management, student conduct, and student development
  • Mentor student staff and student leaders in building their capacity as leaders that will directly support them in their future careers.
  • Have the opportunity to engage in professional development such as chairing departmental committees, working on innovative initiatives, and attending conferences that will help you achieve your professional career goals.

For questions about this position contact reslife@wwu.edu or 360-650-2960.

Assistant Resident Director 

As an Assistant Resident Director, you will have the opportunity to grow your skillset in Residence Life and gain valuable experience through assisting in providing educational and administrative leadership in developing diverse and inclusive communities enhancing student learning and development in a residential community of 550-700 students. You will:

  • Work closely with the Supervising Resident Director to promote equity and inclusion within the community 
  • Help students develop consciousness regarding principles of equality, respect, and individual and collective responsibility.
  • Have the opportunity to enhance student learning through serving as a conduct officer and advising our hall or community councils in their leadership journey.

For questions about this position contact reslife@wwu.edu or 360-650-2960.

Questions about these positions?

Contact reslife@wwu.edu or 360-650-2960.

Welcome to Residence Life

close up of Vicki smiling at the camera

"We have created a strong team of dedicated professionals who truly value working with students. In addition, our commitment to pursue justice and equity can be seen through our processes, policies, and the positive impact we have the potential to create for each on campus resident. If you are seeking intentional student engagement both on an individual level with the autonomy to build a strong hall community where students feel welcomed and included, Western may be in your future. If this is you, we hope you can see yourself as a potential new member of our team!" 

Vicki Vanderwerf
Associate Director of Residence Life

Reasons to Work With Us

Curricular Approach

We’ve been using a curricular approach for over 12 years and recently launched our new program, University Residences Initiative for Student Engagement (URISE).

Location of Bellingham

Located off the shores on Bellingham Bay, we are about 50 miles to Vancouver, BC and about 90 miles to Seattle.

Professional Development

As a member of our team, you will grow professionally through your work on committees inside and outside of our department by attending a conference through the support of office funding, in addition to engagement and lead training opportunities.

We have fun  ​​​​​​​

We often say, “we take our work seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” 

Commitment to Equity and Inclusion 

We use critical race theory as one of our frameworks for our curriculum. We constantly work to ensure that equity and inclusion is in the forefront of our decisions and practices.

Vibrant Campus Partnerships 

Residence Life strives to maintain strong partnerships with offices on campus to foster stronger program development and policy decisions.

High Student Contact

With just over, 4,000 students in housing, we have a focus on high student contact while also gaining skills as a member of a large housing operation. 

Meet the Staff

Central Staff

Holly Diaz
She/Her 

Close up of Holly smiling at the camera

Assistant Director of Residence Life (South Campus)

klingmh@wwu.edu

Office: EH 113  

June Fraser Thistle
She/Her 

Close up of June smiling at the camera

Office Manager

fraserj3@wwu.edu

Office: EH 113  

Richard Henderson
He/Him 

Close up of Richard smiling at the camera

Assistant Director of Residence Life (The Ridge)

henderr5@wwu.edu

Office: FX 112  

Healani Nendel
She/They 

Photo of Healani Nendel

Central Office Assistant

nendele@wwu.edu

 

Kendra Norton
She/Her 

Close up of Kendra smiling at the camera

Administrative Assistant

rhodesk5@wwu.edu

Office: EH 113  

David Ruble
He/Him 

Close up of Dave smiling at the photo

Conduct Officer/Case Manager

rubled@wwu.edu

Office: EH 113  

Adrienne Rugg
 

Photo of Adrienne Rugg

Central Office Assistant

rugga@wwu.edu

 

Christian Urcia
He/Him 

Close up of Christian smiling at the camera

Assistant Director of Residence Life (North Campus)

urciac@wwu.edu

Office: EH 113  

Vicki Vanderwerf
 

Closeup of Vicki smiling at the camera

Associate Director of Residence Life

vanderv2@wwu.edu

Office: EH 113  

North Campus Professional Live-In Staff

Jordan Allen
He/Him

Jordan Allen smiling at the camera.

Resident Director

allenj48@wwu.edu

Office: NA 020A

Aliya Tursunova
She/Her

Aliya smiling at the camera in front of green trees and a tall bush on a sunny day

Resident Director

tursuna@wwu.edu

Office: MA 219

Ridgeway Professional Live-In Staff

Edward Torres-Ochoa
He/Him

Edward smiling in front of stairs

Assistant Resident Director

torres35@wwu.edu

Office: RK 253

Dong Vo
He/Him

Close up of Dong smiling at the camera

Supervising Resident Director

vod@wwu.edu

Office: RB 810

South Campus Professional Live-In Staff

LaQuae Aughtman
She/Her

Close up of LaQuae smiling at the camera

Assistant Resident Director

aughtml@wwu.edu

Office: BT 118

Erin Miller
She/Her

Close up of Erin smiling at the camera

Supervising Resident Director

mille585@wwu.edu

Office: BT 117

Jon Stubblefield
He/Him

Close up of Jon smiling at the

Supervising Resident Director

stubblj@wwu.edu

Office: FX 112

Alice Wittmer
She/Her

Alice Wittmer smiles at the camera

Resident Director

wittmea@wwu.edu

Office: TBD

University Residences Initiative for Student Engagement (URISE)

Educational Priority

Students will utilize strengths and learn from others within the campus community to further their sense of belonging and personal development.

Learning Goals

Building inclusive communities

Residence Life will promote inclusive community-building by intentionally engaging with staff and students

Career preparedness

Residence Life will have a deliberate focus on students’ career preparedness through a variety of co-curricular activities and conversations.

Personal Wellness

Residence Life will provide students with opportunities to aid in personal wellness behaviors focused on three main areas: healthy relationships, stress management, and conflict resolution.

Theoretical Frameworks

Community Based Learning

Community-based learning is a teaching and learning strategy integrating meaningful community engagement with instruction and reflection. This strategy enriches the learning experience with a greater emphasis on reciprocal learning and reflection.

Strengths Based Approach (SBA)

Grounded in complex positive psychology research, the strength-based approach (SBA) boils down to a simple rule: focus on what students do well. It feels natural to do the opposite because working on areas of weakness may seem like the best way to help students grow. Research shows people respond infinitely better when approached with positivity, both in terms of their continued engagement, motivation and ultimately their behavior change. This is especially the case with students coming from backgrounds seen as deficit driven.

This approach is not used to ignore weaknesses or necessary areas of improvement but to start with a positive lens when viewing oneself or others. In all conversations and interactions with staff and students, we strive to model an approach focusing on individual self-determination and strength. The SBA is student-led and student-centered on outcomes to allow students to see themselves at their best. This approach identifies any barriers that may hold back a student's growth. Barriers can occur when dealing with social, personal and/or cultural issues that are not equitable.

Community Cultural Wealth

Residence Life utilizes Dr. Tara Yosso’s conceptualization of Community Cultural Wealth as a critical race theory (CRT) challenge to traditional interpretations of cultural capital. CRT shifts the research lens away from a deficit view of Communities of Color as places full of cultural poverty disadvantages. Instead, we focus on and learn from the array of cultural knowledge, skills, abilities and contacts possessed by socially marginalized groups that often go unrecognized and unacknowledged. Various forms of capital nurtured through cultural wealth include aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial and resistant capital.