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RA Training

We educate Resident Assistant’s in the following core competencies:


What are your thoughts on your limitations, strengths, weaknesses?
Resources: AD/RDs or RDs, HRA, RA’s, Career Development Center, Peer-Counseling, Academic Advisor, Counseling Center
What are your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly responsibilities?
Resources: calendar, peers, priorities, mentor, values, ethics
What are your values/biases regarding Drexel, RLO, peers, desk staff?
Resources: training, in-services, staff meeting, programs, mentors


Believing the department, staff, supervisor, and peers have best intentions in mind
Receiving constructive criticism and encouragement; mindful of motive/intent


’ll be impacted by your actions/decisions
You’re confident in the your abilities and of the peers/staff around you who’ll aide you

Example: One RA came onto staff stating that she had firm boundaries that she needed to be respected and that it was infringing on her rights for residents or staff members to ask for compromise in those boundaries. As she spent time with her staff and supervisor, it became clear to her that her boundaries actually infringed on the rights of others. As she became aware that her rights and the rights of others at time are at odds and require compromise of self for the good of the whole.

What are your ethics regarding alcohol, drugs, personal time, policy, guests, balancing school/job, sex/dating, religion/spirituality/philosophy?
Resources: RA Manual, Student Handbook, AD/RD, peers, education, religion/spirituality?
Who do you advocate for? Who advocates for you?
Resources: personal examples from peers/staff, RLO, mentors (personal or impersonal), family/friends, experience?
Decision Making
What are the first things you do in making decisions? Who do you consider? What sources do you seek for advice/insight? Do you consider consequences?
Resources: peers, teachers/mentors, family/friends, education?

Thinking about students in a larger context that benefits the overall department (RLO).
Seeing residents as people not policies; people behind the policies
Advocating for residents/peers in need by contemplating the ‘big-picture’
With reflection, you consider effective communication, personal and electronic, before acting
Make informed decisions as one who’s been advocated for and also as one who considers those for whom you advocate

Example: In a relationship you have with a resident, you’re faced with a dilemma regarding some troubling information that involves safety for the resident. The implications could possibly jeopardize your employment should something happen and you didn’t inform anyone. You consider your resources: RLO, AD/RDs or RDs, staff/peers, and what is best for overall safety of the resident with respect to the responsibilities that you have, then make a decision, having sought advice and reflected on the matter first.

Communication Skills
How do you effectively convey your message? Utilize listening & understanding?
Resources: face-book, e-mail, phone, IM, programs/activities, media/culture, food, personal experiences, conflict
How do you mentor residents, guests, peers? Who mentors you personally/professionally? What type of mentor do you want to be?
Resources: weekly interaction, programs, socials, conflicts, family, professors/academic advisors, peers
Who are your residents, i.e. international, co-op, first year, upper-class, suite, traditional, male, female, extrovert, introvert? Who are they beyond that?
Resources: programs, in-services, personal study, culture/media

Understanding cultures/interests that both you and your residents embody
Initiating interaction progressively and consistently with ‘reclusive’ residents
Working through areas of friction/conflict; mindful of context; being resourceful and available
You consider appropriate communication; being aware and active of resident variances
You listen actively; considering diversity beyond race to affinities and interests

Example: As an RA you have no interest in video games but you have a floor that is primarily and solely interested in video games. So, you take up a new hobby and begin learning the ropes and play night after night, even though you get hammered and lose most of your games, you’ve developed enough rapport to enhance your relationships.

Community Development
What does it really look like/mean to have a community?
Resources: Intra and Inter-hall programming, spontaneity, open doors, consistency, clean/functional physical environment
Community Standards
How do our policies enhance overall safety and community?
Resources: AD/RD or RDs, Student Handbook, experience, returning staff, Public Safety  & Staff Community
How does the vision/mission of RLO benefit your overall community?
Resources: returning staff, experience, training, in-services, RA Manual

Initiating and maintaining personal relationships in order to advance communal interests
Enforcing policies that protect a meaningful, safe, and relaxed environment with appropriate follow-up
Encouraging residents to be proactive and involved with other residents involving conflict/connection
You think ‘big picture’ by balancing policy enforcement with natural interaction
You create an overall clean and attractive environment that is functional and resourceful
You pursue residents with both full and part time interests in the floor/hall

Example: Aside from hall programs, as an RA on co-op, you have limited time in the evening and many of your residents seem reclusive. But, you consistently make time for your residents and patiently pursue those with only minimal interests in the floor/hall. You’re well aware of their interests and you customize your programs and spontaneity with their affinities, by pursuing them via e-mail, face-book, IM, and in person consistently throughout the week. Soon you realize that the residents are naturally doing what required much recruitment at first.