Widgets Magazine

Application deadline for RAs moves to fall

Stanford students hoping to be resident assistants (RAs) must now apply during fall quarter instead of spring; meanwhile, resident fellows and Row student staff will have more time to interview prospective RAs, marking significant changes for the staffing timeline.

Also awaiting successful applicants is a new training class for RAs, a change set to take effect during the 2011-12 school year.

Associate Dean of Residential Education (ResEd) Jennifer Calvert announced the changes to resident fellows (RFs) and college directors (CDs) via e-mail on Sept. 27. The establishment of an RA class is intended to afford future staff members more time to prepare for the position, Calvert told The Daily.

“They need time to reflect on the role and how to engage with the rich teaching and learning that can happen in a residential setting,” Calvert wrote in an e-mail to The Daily. “A class will allow the opportunity for newly hired RAs to do this.”

The class is set to launch during the 2011-2012 academic year and will be required for RAs hired to a position for the following year.

Speaking about the shift of the application process to fall quarter, Calvert expressed concern over the current conflict between RA applications and the housing draw, since sometimes not all staff positions are filled before students apply for housing.

“At this point, we are putting applicants and houses in a very difficult position,” Calvert said.

In making the process earlier, Calvert said ResEd is “looking to create a bit more space to be able to offer applicants positions during a reasonable time.”

ResEd also is seeking to offer RFs more time to select dorm staff members. The interview period for RA applicants will span five to six weeks this year.

Florence Moore RF Greg Watkins said fellows are historically faced with a time constraint in selecting RAs.

“Something that frustrates RFs in particular is the crunch of interviewing, not interviewing just RAs, but all staff members,” Watkins said.

Watkins said it would be more difficult for applicants to be confident in their decisions so far from the following year.

“It will make it harder for current staff who think they might want to return,” Watkins said. “They might not have a good sense of whether returning works for them. The earlier you make the application process, the more likely you are to say, ‘It’s a neat job. I want to keep doing it.’ Whereas in the spring, you are more likely to say, ‘OK, one year was enough.’”

While Watkins expressed confidence in the upcoming changes, current and prospective student staff members voiced curiosity and apprehension about the changes.

“I’m curious to hear the University’s response as to how these RA changes will affect the Row,” said Jon Anderson ’11, an RA in Chi Theta Chi and prospective coterminal degree applicant. “The early deadline means that house staff might not be chosen yet, so I don’t know how they would be able to pick the RAs. Also, I wouldn’t know if coterms could apply to be RAs, because they won’t know whether or not they’ll even be here next year.”

Tiffany Shih ’11, an RA in Cardenal, said she is concerned that some of ResEd’s actions may be misguided.

“ResEd keeps making spontaneous decisions to change things without consulting RAs and hearing what we have to say,” Shih said. “It seems that they’re making a lot of decisions that seem good only on paper.”

ResEd hopes to address the concerns of all involved parties, Calvert said.

  • Current Staff Member

    Contrary to the spin on this article, ResEd has indeed been reaching out to current staff members to hear their opinions on this change, and hear about how best they can improve the process so that it’s helpful for students and houses alike.

    I have personally brought up many of the concerns voiced in the article, notably the fact that at this point, I have no idea whether I want to continue as a staff member next year. ResEd has been working on these problems, but they are moving ahead because, as I’ve heard personally from ResEd staff, they feel that the pros outweigh the cons. In fact, I don’t feel that ResEd is given a fair voice in this article, and I’d encourage the Daily to do a follow-up with more of the facts.

    Also, in response to Jon Anderson, quoted in the article, you can’t be an RA if you’re a coterm student. Gotta have a year of housing remaining.

  • Re: CSM

    RAs can coterm the Row.