Resident Assistant Position Description

Resident Assistant Position Description


The Resident Assistant is a live-in student team member in Residence Education and Housing Services. The Resident Assistant assists in supporting the academic community in a residential community and has specific responsibility for connecting with students in a particular area. Resident Assistants work to establish inclusive communities that foster student success. The primary strategies for fostering student success include supporting students’ academic achievement, serving in an on call/emergency response capacity, and actively engaging with their communities through various student engagement strategies.


The Resident Assistant is responsible for assisting students individually and in groups. The Resident Assistant's primary role is to facilitate the creation of a positive environment in a particular area which supports students' academic and personal success. In order for these environments to develop, Resident Assistants must make significant connections with their residents, help residents get to know each other, and connect residents to the resources and opportunities of the larger university. Strategies for success include maintaining individual and group contact, a thorough knowledge of campus resources, planning and implementing activities, and responding to community and individual concerns. For further specifics, refer to the Resident Assistant Agreement, the SLE Student Team Member Guide, and expectations established by individual supervisors. Lastly, as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, specific responsibilities may be altered (i.e. increased focus on virtual student engagement).


Community Development

  • Interacts with residents; is visible and available to members of the community
  • Approachable; residents should feel comfortable coming to the Resident Assistant
  • Treats floor residents fairly
  • Helps residents
  • Establishes mutual respect and develops rapport with residents
  • Has communication and active listening skills
  • Demonstrates care and concern for residents
  • Develops relationships with residents
  • Knows about student development
  • Works intentionally to build relationships with marginalized populations on their floor
  • Can identify the stages of community development
  • Encourages residents to take responsibility for one another
  • Makes a meaningful effort to consistently create a civil and respectful atmosphere on the floor
  • Encourages interaction between residents
  • Foster an open and inclusive environment on the floor
  • Creates opportunities for residents to discuss floor issues
  • Facilitates events that connect students to one another
  • Facilitates programming for the benefit of residents
  • Effectively mediates conflict

Community Management

  • Submits projects, paperwork and attends meetings in a timely manner
  • Keeps supervisor informed
  • Follows directions
  • Completes assignments and tasks thoroughly and accurately
  • Follows through on projects and assignments
  • Attends and is prepared for all required meetings and training sessions
  • Helps with departmental interviewing as needed
  • May be assigned to work at the building service center
  • Assist with resident move-in and move out process


  • Reports appropriately
  • Meets duty expectations
  • Demonstrates good judgment
  • Follows-up appropriately with individuals or the floor community following incidents
  • Masters the 3 R's (Recognize, Respond and Report)
  • Understands and maintains confidentiality
  • Can interpret and explain university and housing policies
  • Knows and uses appropriate crises protocols
  • Professional in collaborating and following direction from safety response personnel
  • Can identify potentially unsafe conditions and take appropriate action
  • Responds to level 1 facilities emergencies


  • Knows resources, makes appropriate referrals and follow-ups
  • Recognizes and takes advantage of opportunities to help students learn
  • Effectively assesses the learning needs of the floor
  • Encourages and facilitates discussion and dialogue among residents about in class and out of class learning, campus and national events and life experiences
  • Implements activities that contribute to student learning as reflected in the Residential Learning Model
  • Can articulate how, as Resident Assistants and residents on the floor, they have influenced students' growth
  • Capitalizes on opportunities for implementing programs based on students' interests and needs

Team Player

  • Supportive of institutional partners
  • Contributes positively to the morale and functions of the staff team
  • Has mutual respect with fellow staff members; demonstrates care and concern for other staff members success
  • Actively participates
  • Encourages and supports others; upholds team standards
  • Maintains appropriate confidentiality
  • Willingness to be solution-oriented


  • Demonstrates leadership skills and acts with integrity
  • Inclusive of others
  • Maintains personal balance
  • Models appropriate behavior as a community member
  • Demonstrates a commitment to academics
  • Maintains appropriate boundaries as a staff member
  • Follows the law, and university, housing and department policies
  • Displays a commitment to their own growth and development in all core areas
  • Manages the boundaries between staff member/friend


The applicant's sex as designated in the StuInfo system is a determining factor for placement in same-sex residential communities (i.e., male residential wing requires male-in-StuInfo RA). Students are responsible for providing and updating their gender information in the StuInfo system through the Registrar’s Office. The Department of Residence Education and Housing Services is dedicated to providing safe and comfortable living environments for all students, including those whose gender identity and/or expression differs from the sex assigned to them at birth.


  • The Resident Assistant must be enrolled in a degree granting program at MSU.
  • The GPA requirement is a cumulative 2.5. Resident Assistants are expected to meet that requirement and to maintain it during their period of appointment. (The GPA requirement for MSU Law Students is a 2.2)
  • Resident Assistants must have completed at least 12 credit hours.
  • For the 2021-2022 application cycle, there is no prior live-on requirement for candidates wishing to apply for the role due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  •  Once appointed, Resident Assistants are expected to be enrolled full time, however, Resident Assistants may request to drop below full time enrollment for specific circumstances and only with prior written approval from a supervisor.
  • First semester Resident Assistants may not student teach or hold internships. After the first semester, experiences which will take the Resident Assistant away from their building for significant time blocks are discouraged, and must be approved by the Community Director and Assistant Director before they are accepted.
  • It is understood that the resident assistant position cannot easily be translated into hours worked per day or week because of the unique nature of the position. The Resident Assistant position requires regularly scheduled responsibilities and times at which Resident Assistants are available and accessible to floor residents.
  • Resident Assistant position offers are for the full academic year (fall and spring semesters). Resident Assistants may request to return the following year, and reappointment is based on their performance.
  • Resident Assistants may be required to provide duty coverage over break periods as well as sporting events, such as home football games or March madness.
  • A criminal background check will be conducted on candidates who accept a resident assistant appointment.


Remuneration is a single room with board while school is in session. 
NOTE: In instances where housing demand exceeds availability, RAs may be temporarily assigned a roommate.


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