Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Joy Faini Saab

Committee Co-Chair

Russell K. Dean

Committee Member

Ernest R. Goeres

Committee Member

Christopher L. Plein

Committee Member

Richard T. Walls


A resident director is an entry-level, student affairs professional staff member that resides within a college or university residence hall. The resident director provides developmental experiences for students who live in on-campus housing. The resident director interacts with students around the clock throughout the semester. Unlike other entry-level professional staff, who return to the sanctity of their home at the end of the work day, the resident director's responsibilities for the welfare of their students do not end until the semester is over and the students have moved out. Resident directors assume responsibility for insuring that all residential needs, in terms of quality of life in a college or university residence hall, are fulfilled. They make sure that the residence hall environment is conducive to academic success. They are responsible for ensuring that the residence hall experience is a positive one that contributes to the personal growth of the students.;College and university residence life programs employ the greatest number of entry-level student affairs professionals, which includes resident directors. Success for these young professionals early in their career increases the likelihood of later career success (Collins & Hirt, 2006). However, the burnout rate of housing staff members is unusually high. "There is a growing concern at many institutions that recruiting and retaining entry-level housing staff has become an overwhelming challenge" (St. Onge, Ellett, & Nestor, 2008, p. 11-12). This challenge has been described as a crisis that is complicated by high attrition rates (Jones, 2002). Attention to factors that affect the level of preparation with the resident director position may improve their sustainability and overall job satisfaction.;The purpose of this research study was to determine best practices for ensuring that newly hired, entry-level resident directors were sufficiently prepared to assume and retain their crucial leadership role. "Recruitment and retention of competent, if not excellent, housing and residential life staff are essential to our success as professionals and as a profession" (St. Onge, Ellett, & Nestor, 2008, p. 11). This study examined the hiring qualification and training at 18 institutions. This study also reviewed factors within the 18 institutions' organizational culture that contributed to the retention of the resident directors.;The researcher developed two separate survey instruments, one for resident directors and one for residence life administrators. Survey Monkey(TM) was used to survey the resident directors and residence life administrators at the 18 institutions. A total of 148 responses were collected. Percentages were calculated and descriptive statistics were utilized to analyze the data.;The results of this study will inform residence life administrators about appropriate hiring requirements, necessary training topics, and the level of on-going institutional support needed to retain high-quality resident directors. This study will also assist higher education administrators gain a better understanding of the resident director position and residence life profession.