What Does a Residence Hall Director Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A residence hall director supervises the occupants of a student residence hall, which may contain between 30 and 200 people at any given time. This is typically a full time position, supported by one or more residency assistants (RAs), who can provide coverage when the director is not available and ensure that all students receive attention as necessary. People in this position may need to have bachelor's degrees and are sometimes graduate students at the academic institution, which provides a stipend along with housing as compensation for the job.

Woman posing
Woman posing

One part of a residence hall director's job is student safety. This member of the staff needs to distribute safety information, conduct drills, and appoint safety officers who are available in emergencies. If students have safety concerns, the residence hall director can address them or bring the issue to the attention of security. In the event of an incident where a student requires medical attention or assistance from police, residence hall directors may be involved in connecting the student with services and conducting an investigation.

Student conduct is another issue of concern. Residence halls may have rules for conduct, including quiet hours, that the staff must enforce. Students can develop their own rules in agreement with each other in some residence halls, in which case the residence hall director supervises a meeting to discuss these and enact them. The director can mediate student conflicts and perform conduct hearings into minor disciplinary infractions. If a student commits a significant conduct violation, it may be necessary to turn the matter over to college officials, security, or the police.

Social life is also part of the job. Students may be encouraged to attend regular meetings to discuss topics of importance, and the residence hall director also organizes events for students. These can include game nights, social events with food, and field trips. Students may feel more connected to each other and the school through hall social events, and these can also foster cooperative and friendly attitudes between residents.

These members of the student life staff may also be responsible for training residency assistants, safety officers, and others participating in life at the residence hall. In the event of problems with staff at a residence hall, the director may be the first to intervene and determine if a resolution is possible before the situation escalates. If staff need to be replaced during the school year, residence hall directors can play a role in the interview and hiring process.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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