RA Job Description
Peer Leaders at Carleton College
Goals of the Peer Leader Program
Carleton College employs hundreds of students in a variety of leadership roles. These student leaders are vital in providing important programs and services to the campus community. With the talent, energy and spirit of Carleton’s student leaders, the College stands well-poised to provide a true liberal arts education that challenges students to “learn broadly and think deeply.”
To this end, the Division of Student Life has developed a Peer Leader Integration Program, designed to unify and strengthen the efforts of its student leaders. This program has many overarching benefits, but emphasizes two main goals: 1) to develop a successful and inclusive combined Peer Leader Training Program; and 2) to identify how to best utilize the talent, energy and spirit of the student leaders in assisting fellow students in a collaborative manner. In pursuing these goals, we hope to build camaraderie among student leaders, promote greater understanding of the varied resources available to students, and ultimately lead to a higher level of student satisfaction and development.
General Responsibilities of Peer Leaders at Carleton
- Collaborate with other Peer Leaders, staff and faculty in creating a welcoming and inclusive campus community
- Provide resources and opportunities for students to pursue and reflect on experiences that prepare students for their post Carleton lives
- Serve as a positive role model and mentor to students
- Encourage students to explore and become involved in a variety of curricular and co-curricular activities on campus and in the community
- Be a positive source of energy and information to students
- Be available to assist with the welcoming of students and their families during New Student Week
- Serve as an effective participant in small group settings during New Student Week
Resident Assistants are an important part of the Peer Leader Team at Carleton College.
Resident Assistant (RA) Job Description
Resident Assistants (RAs) and House Resident Assistants are an integral part of Carleton College's Residential Life staff. The Resident Assistants assist in creating a healthy, safe and thriving environment where students can gain experience, be involved and develop their interpersonal, academic and leadership potential.
- Build a community where students interact on a regular basis and share in defining expectations for each other.
- Assist residents with their adjustment to living with roommate(s) and floor/house residents.
- Help residents learn to accept responsibility for self and personal actions.
- Assist with the development of self-management, health and wellness skills.
- Assist with the development of balancing life's pleasures and responsibilities.
- Encourage residents to get involved with and provide leadership to residential activities.
- Work with students to develop a sense of respect for self, others and property.
- Help residents learn civility and gain an understanding of diversity.
Resident Assistants are provided with opportunities to enhance and acquire skills in areas such as: interpersonal communication, organization and time management, group/educational programming facilitation, conflict resolution, and leadership development. The Office of Residential Life Staff provides resident students with a healthy and safe living and learning environment, supporting the educational goals of the students and the institution.
As a residential life staff member, the Resident Assistant assumes a number of roles that facilitate a healthy quality of life in college residential communities. With primary responsibility as a resource person for the residents in his/her community, the Resident Assistant position includes the following roles:
- Introduce and orient students to the residential community and its services, facilities, staff, and functions.
- Encourage a positive community living environment supportive of academic achievement.
- Foster an environment that embraces diversity and celebrates differences within the community.
- Communicate the importance of observing safety and security precautions and procedures.
- Serve as catalysts to initiate and promote activities that develop community.
- Assess the needs and interests of residents and plan activities accordingly.
- Plan, implement, and evaluate educational and social programs each term that encourage the development of students.
- Collaborate with other student leaders, such as Student Wellness Advisors and Intercultural Life, to develop programs for the term.
- Involve students in planning social and educational activities for the floor and the residence hall through Hall Community Board.
- Provide information to students concerning College resources, functions, and policies.
- Refer students, as appropriate, to various College offices.
- Build a rapport with residents to help facilitate open lines of communication for questions, problems, and concerns.
- Be an active listener for students experiencing academic and/or personal difficulties.
- Provide emotional support for residents and other staff.
- Treat confidential information with sensitivity and integrity.
- Be on duty periodically on weekends to ensure staff availability/visibility for the community, to provide a safety net, and to meet student needs during the weekend.
- Model behavior and values, both in the residential community and beyond, which are consistent with the Residential Life philosophy.
- Abide by all College policies.
- Role model responsible drinking behavior. In addition to following the College alcohol policy, RAs are prohibited from drinking alcohol with their residents or attending alcohol related events with their residents. RAs are not allowed to use illegal drugs at any time.
- Help students become aware of the College's expectations of them as expressed in the Student Handbook.
- Inform residents of the rationale for College policies and procedures, including the potential consequences of violating them.
- Communicate that College policy and any resulting discipline are designed to challenge and support students to live responsibly within the residential community.
- Address known violations of College policy.
- Consider principles of fairness and concern for the community and the individual when responding to policy violations.
- Encourage residents to exercise responsibility through active participation in assisting with policy decisions, addressing disruptive behavior, mediating conflict within the community, and evaluating the residential life program.
- Assist the Area Director with tasks related to effective building/house management; i.e., key distribution, lockouts, occupancy reports, room condition reports, weekly reports and other items assigned by the Area Director relating to the management of safe and well-maintained residence halls and houses.
- Assist with opening and closing responsibilities each term.
- Submit weekly reports to Area Director to keep him/her informed regarding your community.
- Submit Facility Work Requests online whenever maintenance or repair is necessary.
- Assist with fire drills once per term.
- Review safety inspection guidelines with residents and complete safety inspections for student living areas.
- Submit all completed reports on time.
The Resident Assistant position is a substantial time commitment. While it is difficult to give an hour/week expectation, time requirements will demand skill in time management to allow optimum academic and extracurricular participation. As such, academic good standing and flexibility toward outside commitments are needed. Resident Assistants' time commitments include:
- Participating in required training during the following times:
- Fall Training (during the 10 days prior to new students arriving for New Student Week)
- Winter Staff Retreat (the day prior to opening of the halls/houses for winter term)
- Required on-going RA staff development sessions & peer leader trainings (scheduled throughout the year; schedule provided first week of each term)
- Assisting the Area Director with term openings and closings, i.e., RAs are expected to be on campus after halls/houses close for breaks and prior to hall/house openings at the beginning of terms.
- Maintaining frequent contact with the Area Director throughout the week. Primary supervision of each Resident Assistant rests with the Area Director in each residence hall. In all roles that the Resident Assistant will assume within the residence hall or house, the Area Director/Resident Assistant relationship will be of primary importance. A comfortable working relationship is crucial to providing support and developing a cooperative team approach to community issues. Open communication is necessary to create and maintain an effective team atmosphere. Regular and continuous updates of hall/house activities and other information will be essential.
- Attending meetings - individual meetings with the Area Director, weekly staff meetings, and committee meetings.
- Spending quality time with residents. Being in touch with students in the community. Maintaining accessibility and visibility within the community by visiting residents, spending time in your room with the door open, attending community activities, etc.
- Sharing duty from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. on weekends.
- Assisting with department processes, i.e., Room Draw, and RA selection.
- Participating in ongoing evaluation of the Resident Assistant program, residential life procedures, and personal job performance.
Due to the 24-hour per day nature of the Resident Assistant position, each staff member is encouraged to set aside time to renew themselves. Typically, Resident Assistants remain on campus throughout the term. Should time away from campus be desired, the specific request should be coordinated with the Area Director in advance to ensure continuous support for the residents and fairness within the staff.
Resident Assistants are evaluated through ongoing, formal and information, contact. It is expected that this level of frequent communication between the Resident Assistant and Area Director will enhance the overall relationship, resulting in an atmosphere of ongoing trust and honest feedback. Resident Assistants will be formally evaluated twice during the academic year by their Area Director. Based on written evaluations from community members, the Area Director will give written and verbal feedback to each Resident Assistant. The formal evaluation process is included to promote self-understanding and growth. Accordingly, the Resident Assistant is expected to participate actively.
A Resident Assistant may be dismissed from the position if his or her actions conflict with the policies of the department or the College, if he or she does not fulfill the requirements of the position as listed in the job description, and/or if he or she is not meeting expectations. Dismissal may also result if the Resident Assistant is placed on academic probation.
Due to recent legislation passed in the State of Minnesota, criminal background checks are required for all current and prospective Carleton employees who would have access to student rooms. Background checks will include fingerprinting of all staff members for comparison with State of Minnesota and FBI records. A background check would not be conducted until after the Resident Assistant position is offered and accepted by the applicant. Employment as a Resident Assistant will, therefore, be conditioned upon applicants being free from disqualifying felony offenses.
Additional Information: House RA Position
The Carleton housing system offers unique housing options to students in over 30 houses and apartments in and around the Carleton neighborhood. House RA positions offer a variety of leadership opportunities that differ from a traditional RA position. As a house RA, you would have the option of several different types of residential communities within the Carleton house system. Each position brings with it unique opportunities to create a community and serve as a resource person for house and/or apartment members.