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UW Residence Halls Raising the Bar

April 13, 2009
Man and woman
Yashvin Madhak, McIntyre Hall area coordinator, discusses residence hall events with RA Kristi Lichtfuss, junior nursing student from Loveland, Colo.

Even after increases in the requirements for potential resident assistants (RAs), more than 129 University of Wyoming students recently expressed interest in being RAs for the 2009-2010 academic year by taking a five-week introductory course.

RAs live in the residence halls and ensure that halls provide an environment that supports student learning. RAs also help maintain safety and security and facilitate events. More than 80 students are currently on the RA staff at UW.

The new RA hiring process, implemented this year by Residence Life & Dining Services (RL&DS), requires potential RAs to complete 10 hours of training before even applying. The five two-hour classes are designed to teach applicants about being effective leaders.

"These classes really help students understand what being an RA entails. Students can realize 'it's not for me' before they apply to become an RA," says Yashvin Madhak, area coordinator of McIntyre Hall. "It also helps us to understand the candidates as people. We can now know ahead of time if they are a good fit for the RA program."

Applicants are also required to have completed 30 hours of collegiate coursework with a 2.7 grade point average (GPA), though the average GPA for resident assistants in fall 2008 was 3.37.

"The academic success of our resident assistants truly showcases what incredibly talented individuals they are," says Assistant Director of Residence Life Michelle Schutt. "They are able to balance the complex duties of the RA position and rigorous course loads while maintaining an exemplary GPA. The RAs are truly student leaders at their finest."

"The daily 'behind the scenes' leadership provided by the RA staff is one of the quiet secrets contributing to the success of our first-year students," says Tony Earls, associate director of Residence Life & Dining Services. "It is because their role is so essential, and the performance expectations are so high, that we strive to select the most suited candidates each spring from a growing pool of exceptional students."

All RAs receive two weeks of extensive training in August before the residence halls open for the fall semester. They also participate in weekly in-service training sessions during the academic year.

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2009

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