While the roles and responsibilities of resident assistants (RAs) have changed over time, some things will continue to be a priority. Responsibilities such as developing relationships with residents, guiding them to campus resources, providing information, mediating roommate conflicts, documenting underage drinking, and responding to quiet hours violations remain constant. Britt Frye, assistant director for academic initiatives at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, pinpoints interpersonal and communication skills as being at the heart of these responsibilities. “These skills are used in leadership, mentorship, conflict resolution, community building, and assisting students with problems or concerns.” However, a major shift in the paraprofessional RA role is understanding not just what skills are required for the position, but how the role is enacted. This shift involves a more developmental approach to interacting with residents which focuses on enhancing the residential experience rather than simply acting as an enforcer of rules and policies.
Whitney, R. & Early, S. “Training Boost: How to Foster a Developmental Approach to Resident Assistant Training.” Talking Stick, vol. 34, no. 6, 2017, pp. 26-27.