Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents
How many student staff work in the Office of Residence Life?
We employ 94 student staff members who work in the residence halls or in administrative roles supporting the mission of University Residences, including senior Resident Advisors, Resident Advisors, Apartment Advisors, Inclusion Assistants and an Office Assistant.
What are the standards on campus residents agree to abide by in their housing contract?
All students living on campus agree to follow the Community Standards while living in the residence halls.
What social justice and inclusion initiatives are being implemented in the residence halls?
The University Residences Initiative for Student Engagement (URISE) is based on three theoretical frameworks and incorporates several models that support intentional discussions and learning around issues of social justice and inclusion. We implement a curriculum in which RAs will engage in intentional one-on-one conversations around personal and social identities., We utilize Dr. Tara Yosso’s conceptualization of Community Cultural Wealth as a critical race theory (CRT) challenge to traditional interpretations of cultural capital. We also host a variety of supplemental programs and activities related to social justice and inclusion. Residence Life collaborates with Western faculty to provide on-going training around dialogue, identity, race, and social justice issues for our professional and student staff.
Additionally, we are opening a brand new residential community, Glass Hall, in fall 2021 which will be home to our new Black Affinity Housing.
Are there living learning communities or special themed communities at Western?
While we do not have Greek Life at WWU, University Residences offers the opportunity for residents to engage in Living Learning Communities and themed housing communities.
What committee opportunities are available and what are the expectations for serving on committees?
There are many committees and special projects within our unit supported by full-time Residence Life staff. Additionally, collaboration with other departments on campus or serving on campus committees is a welcomed and encouraged professional development opportunity. Residence Life committees and special projects include, but are not limited to:
- URISE Committee
- Ethics and Conduct Committee
- Student Staff Selection Committee
- Various professional staff search committees
- Student Staff Training Committee
- Professional Staff Training Committee
- Advising the Residence Hall Association and the National Residence Hall Honorary
- Special projects for developing initiatives that support international residents and residents living in Pride Housing
What are some examples of collaboration between Residence Life staff and campus partners?
University Residences is actively engaged in the campus community and collaborates on a number of initiatives with campus partners. Residence Life staff are encouraged to reach out to various faculty, departments, and resources on campus to develop new programs and initiatives. Opportunities to collaborate campus partners include:
- Teaching Leadership Studies courses
- Coordinating the annual Alumni Weekend and leadership reunion with the Alumni Office
- Facilitating academic success meetings with Academic Advising
- Co-facilitating programs with the Counseling and Wellness Center, Survivor Advocacy Services, Tutoring Center, and WWU Faculty
- Collaborate with the Office of Outreach and Continuing Education to plan and implement the Viking Launch program
- Partnering with International Student and Scholar Services and Language and Culture Programs to support international students living in the residence halls
- Serving on the planning committee for the Ethnic Student Center annual conference
- Coordinate on-campus intramural sports with Recreational Sports
Are there opportunities to take courses at Western at a discounted rate?
After six months as an employee in at least half-time status, Western employees are eligible for the Employee Tuition Exemption, a tuition waiver of up to 8 credits per quarter during the academic year and 4 credits during the summer quarter.
What professional organizations are Residence Life staff affiliated with?
WWU Residence Life staff are active members several professional organizations. Staff have the opportunity to obtain membership, attend or present at conferences from the following organizations: NASPA, ACUHO-I, NWACUHO, ASCA, PACURH, and NACURH. Additionally, if there are professional development opportunities you would like to participate in, there are opportunities to explore funding and departmental support for other organizations, conferences, and trainings.
What should I expect from my supervisors and peers during orientation?
During your onboarding, you will receive a warm welcome from the moment you arrive at WWU. Your peers and supervisors try their best to be there to help you move into your apartment and welcome you to Bellingham. During your transition to WWU, you will be assigned a peer mentor who is a returning Resident Director. This person will serve as a go-to for fall training and your first quarter in the position, answering any questions you may have. Your supervisor will also be a resource for you, providing the opportunity to check in about questions you may have and to provide ongoing training and orientation as you transition into the role.
What advising opportunities are available?
As a Resident Director, there are several advising opportunities both within our department and outside of our department:
- Hall Council: As an RD, are the primary advisor for your community’s Hall Council. This role allows you to provide mentorship to student leaders who may be taking on leadership positions for the first time and provides you with a unique opportunity to support student-led efforts to build community for the residents in your area.
- National Residence Hall Honorary & Residence Hall Association: These two organizations are very involved within the residence hall, WWU, and the Bellingham community. As a Resident Director, if you are interested in pursuing large group advising as an experience, you can request to advise one of these groups with an Assistant Director.
- Academic Success Meetings: University Residences staff provide academic support to students through academic intervention meetings, designed for those who are on academic warning or academic probation after fall quarter.
- Conduct and crisis response meetings: Resident Directors often assume an informal advising role in supporting students through crisis or in addressing student misconduct.
- Other Groups: Many student organizations seek out professional staff to serve as advisors. Additionally, other professionals on campus will reach out to Residence Life and share opportunities for advising student organizations.
What is the philosophy of the conduct process and what is the RD's role in adjudicating violations?
We believe that the conduct process should be educational in nature. We seek to understand a student's decision making while involved in an incident and hear their perspective on the situation. Resident Directors adjudicate conduct incidents during the academic year and may be assigned conduct during the summer dependent upon the amount of conduct. We operate within a centralized conduct system and work to ensure the number of cases heard by each RD is balanced with their workload on a week-to-week basis. RDs hear cases from all of the residence halls on campus. We have a quick processing time for conduct cases – generally operating on the guideline that a case is scheduled, heard, and completed within a 7-day period from the time of assignment. As RDs, we have access to a Sanction Guide, which outlines many of the educational sanctions we use for residents.
What type of interactions can RDs expect to have with their residents?
Resident Directors have many opportunities to engage and connect with their residents through informal conversations, programs, Hall Council, conduct meetings, academic interventions, or in providing general support. Each RD hosts weekly drop-in hours to provide a time for residents to stop by for informal conversations, ask questions, and seek any support they may need.
Is there a limit to the number of years a Resident Director can serve in the position?
Yes, Resident Directors have the opportunity to serve in the role for up to 4 years.
How often do RDs serve on call and what are the expectations for on call?
Resident Directors serve in a week long on call rotation throughout the calendar year. Each RD will have around 6 to 8 on call weeks, averaging 1-2 weeks per quarter.
What sort of opportunities are available for self-care on campus?
WWU's mission is to create a supportive environment that encourages a healthy lifestyle encompassing all dimensions of wellness. We are committed to educating, facilitating, and supporting decisions and actions of wellness by Western employees. Visit the Faculty & Staff Wellness Program and Employee Assistance Program for more information.
Can you share more about this position being hourly, overtime eligible?
As of January 2021, all RDs operate on an hourly capacity and are eligible for overtime. This is in accordance with Washington state’s Labor and Industries standards and practices. With this change, we are ensuring a better balance of work for our live-in professionals.
Living on Campus
Can I have my spouse or partner live on campus with me?
Yes, Resident Directors may have spouses or partners live on campus with them. Those residing with the resident director must successfully pass a criminal background check (as with any WWU employee). For more information about this policy, please contact email@example.com.
What is your pet policy?
Live-in professional staff members may be permitted to house pets in their apartment. There are some restrictions or considerations; a consultation with an Assistant Director for Residence Life is required prior to pet acquisition and will include: type of animal, number of animals, expectations, and consequences of non-adherence. Additionally, staff who are approved have pets live in their apartment are required to pay a refundable pet deposit.
Is a meal plan provided with the Resident Director position?
Yes, Resident Directors receive a meal plan valued at $3,066/year, which can be used at on campus dining commons and retail locations.
What parking options are available for RDs?
Each RD receives a reserved parking space nearby their apartment and receive a pass that allows them to park in any residential “R” lot on campus. Resident Directors are expected pay for the cost of their parking pass through Parking Services. Additionally, RD spouses or partners are eligible for parking passes on a space-available basis; lot assignments may not be adjacent to place of residence.
Can I get a membership at the campus recreation center?
Yes, the Wade King Student Recreation Center offers annual, academic term and quarterly memberships. WWU employees may select an annual, academic, or limited hours membership and pay for their membership (including prorated) via payroll deduction.