5 Things I have learned as a New Professional by Jess Shapiro


I began my first ever full-time job just about two months ago as a Residence Director/Honors Academic Assistant at Ithaca College (IC) in Ithaca, NY.  The beginning of my role has been a whirlwind of professional staff training, RA training, opening, welcome week, no-show reporting, and the daily task list.  I thought I knew everything there was to know about running a residence hall from my graduate experience, but that is far from true.  Here are five things I have learned since becoming a full-time professional. Continue reading

Facilitators of Community: Our Work Post Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas

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To: Members of the ACPA Commission for Housing and Residential Life – #HRL4LIFE

From:    Troy L. Seppelt, Chair and Laura Arroyo, Chair Elect

Dear colleagues and fellow educators:

As colleges and universities prepare to welcome students back to campus, and housing and residential life professionals train staff and prepare buildings, it is important to remember that we play a very important role in the lives of our students. As facilitators in the creation of community, our work is even more important this year in light of ongoing violence in our nation. Shootings in Orlando, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas to name only a few, have left students and professionals alike to manage feelings of grief, sadness, fear, anger and a myriad of other emotions. Continue reading

The Balancing Act: Three Strategies to Help Create Work /Life Balance by Catherine Kellman


It doesn’t matter if you have been in the field for one month or 35 years. The discussion on work/life balance is one that comes up often in the work environment and during the conference season. This discussion is different at each institution; however, the work of residence life is one that is never ending and without fail one that is not routine. With the summer upon us take this time to get ahead and start to create a plan to develop a better work/life balance. If you struggle like I have, you need to create what you define as healthy because the most important part of this discussion is that work/life balance is how you define it. Finding work/life balance is not a cookie cutter experience. It is more like a Chipotle, you build it and each year you can make changes because you have grown or your goals and responsibilities are different. The three strategies discussed here are just a few that I have developed and/or researched and have found to be important as one begins to create what work/life balance looks like as a Residence Life professional. Continue reading

Summertime Strides: How to Make the Most of Your “Summer” by Ann Schafer

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There is a pretty large misconception when working in Residence Life (or Higher Education for that matter) that we, like the students have summers off to go off and enjoy and not worry about work. While we miss those true summer vacations from our youth, there are still countless reasons that a housing professional might look forward to summer. Whether it’s a lull time for your team, or you keep striding on with camps, conferences and summer school, here are some tips on accomplishing those tasks you want to get through over the summer. Continue reading

Engaged Feedback in Supervision: Utilizing Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly Engaged Feedback Checklist by Bianca Hicks

Screenshot 2016-05-02 16.10.30Evaluation season can be a nerve-wracking time of the year for employees. For those in Residence Life and Housing, it is all encompassing as there’s a wide-range of areas to assess one’s growth and success. For student and professional staff alike, knowing a performance evaluation is ahead can sometimes bring self-doubt and general uncertainty and anxiety. One’s perspective of feedback can make or break the outcome of a conversation involving feedback. One of my favorite tools in my supervisory tool belt is Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly Engaged Feedback Checklist from her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. This 10 item checklist is essential to the supervisory experience; when utilized properly, conversations involving constructive feedback happen with significantly greater ease.

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Stonecatchers: The power of empathy in supervision by Laura Arroyo


Over the past 10+ years working within higher education, I have had the distinct pleasure to serve on a number of professional opportunities outside of my immediate area of practice in Residence Life. Without question, one of the most defining experiences has been serving as the student life representative on the first year common read committee at Elon University.

First year common read programs, when done well, can be incredibly impactful to creating a cohort experience for first year students upon their arrival to college, and at Elon which is a small private, liberal arts college, this is definitely the goal. Elon’s common read selection is chosen based on books which are nominated for selection by all faculty, staff, students, and alumni; just about anyone connected with the university can nominate a book. The Elon common read committee itself is made up of faculty, staff and students, and ultimately it has one fixed, salient goal— to choose a meaningful book that will resonate with students, staff and faculty across disciplines, one not only culturally relevant, but also forward moving in spirit and design.

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My Experience with ACPA and Next Gen by Katie Perry

“We are now beginning our descent into Tampa.”


Those eight words were enough to make me nervous. It was not my first time traveling alone. I knew at least one person that was going to be there. That wasn’t why I was nervous. The ACPA Conference in Tampa, Florida was the beginning of the first chapter of my career.

This conference wasn’t the only thing I was thinking about while traveling to Tampa. I had to make a decision about where I am going to attend graduate school this same weekend. I got to my hotel room, settled in, and began to write a Pros and Cons list. This is when I received a phone call. “We regret to inform you that you have not been asked to attend this graduate program. I’m sorry.”

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Considering Service and Assistance Animal Policies

Within the wide range of disability law that applies to higher education institutions, the legislation surrounding service and assistance animals has been of particular note in the last few years for housing and residence life professionals. While the accommodation of service animals in university residence halls has become a familiar situation for student affairs staff under ADA guidelines, the requirements surrounding the accommodation of assistance animals has been less detailed. For example, the 2008 Amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act did not delve deeply into assistance animals. In contrast, the recent 2013 United States v. University of Nebraska at Kearney case brought to light the implications of the Fair Housing Act’s definition of an assistance animal on housing provided at an educational institution. Continue reading