Assistant Director of Residence Life

Western Washington University   Bellingham, WA   Full-time     Education
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Posted on June 9, 2021


Work type: Project Full Time
Location: Bellingham, WA
Categories: Enrollment & Student Services

Position Title

Assistant Director of Residence Life

About the University

Western Washington University, with over 16,000 students in seven colleges and the graduate school, is nationally recognized for its educational programs, students and faculty. The campus is located in Bellingham, Washington, a coastal community of 90,000 overlooking Bellingham Bay, the San Juan Islands and the North Cascades Mountain range. The city lies 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, British Columbia. Western is the highest-ranking public, master's-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings.

About the Department

University Residences and the Residence Life Unit support Western's mission, which states that together with our students, staff, and faculty, we are committed to making a positive impact in the state and the world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. We encourage applications from women, people of color, people with disabilities, veterans, and other candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and with diverse experiences interested in this opportunity.

In support of WWU bringing together individuals of diverse backgrounds and perspectives in an inclusive, student-centered university developing the potential of learners and the well-being of communities, University Residences (UR) works towards our vision and mission:

Vision: Students living in University Residences engage in a community unlike any other, where they explore their passion, purpose and place at Western.

Mission: Create affordable, safe, and well-maintained University housing that supports participation in healthy, inclusive, and sustainable communities, where students invest in their academic success and personal growth.

We house over 4,000 students in 15 residence halls and one apartment complex. The residence life staff consists of one associate director, three assistant directors, one conduct/care case manager, two support staff, three supervising resident directors, five resident directors, three assistant resident directors, and approximately 100 paraprofessional staff. We are seeking candidates who have a commitment to re-designing policies, practices, and daily operations to eradicate racism and all forms of oppression to transform the on-campus student experience at Western Washington University to create communities where difference is valued. Our Residence Life team works together to build a culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse identities, backgrounds, and perspectives of our employees through supervision of staff, training, engaging students and staff in dialogue and implementing systemic strategies to create more inclusive and equitable living communities. This drives our innovation and connects us to the students we serve in each of our residential communities.

Please refer to the WWUUniversity ResidencesResidence Life, or Bellingham, WA websites for more information.

About the Position

The assistant director of residence life position is a full-time, FLSA exempt, 12-month appointment within university residences reporting to the associate director of residence life.  This position is a two-year project position anticipated to commence July 2021 and ending on June 30, 2023 with an opportunity to apply if the position becomes a permanent opening.  This position assists the director of university residences as one of the primary professionals in the assistant director role to collaboratively provide educational and administrative leadership for the residence life program, and is directly responsible for residential education, community development, and administrative processes for a campus community of approximately of 4,300 residential students.  The assistant director must demonstrate the ability to work with diverse populations and provide strategies in enhancing the support of underrepresented and marginalized students.  As a member of the central management team in residence life, duties include mission and vision planning including implementation at various levels in the department, budget planning and management, ensuring effective collaboration with campus partners, leading staff selection and training processes, and providing leadership to all residence life staff to foster and assess student development. The assistant director of residence life is assigned responsibility for supervising two (2) to four (4) resident directors, including supervising resident directors.  Additionally, this position serves in an on-call rotation with other department colleagues assisting with the coordination of student support and emergency responses.

Position Responsibilities: In all aspects of the position, the assistant director is responsible for leading the effort of significant incorporation of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness perspectives throughout functional responsibility areas, ensuring the processes address systemic bias. Overall responsibilities include:

  • Student Development and Educational Leadership
  • Administrative Leadership, including to chair multiple committees within residence life on major operations such as training, recruitment and selection, equity and inclusion, and resident education.
  • Staff Supervision, Selection, Training, and Performance Evaluation
  • Student Conduct and CARE, On-Call / After-Hours Responsibility

Full Position Duties and Responsibilities include:

Staff Supervision, Selection, Training, and Performance Evaluation (35%)

  • Lead effort of significant incorporation of diversity, equity and inclusive perspectives throughout functional responsibility areas, ensuring processes address systemic bias.
  • Provide direct supervision, training, and evaluation for two-four (2-4) professional resident directors (RDs); indirect supervision for one-two (1-2) full time assistant resident directors and approximately 100 undergraduate paraprofessional staff. Resident directors are responsible for student leader (Resident Advisor/Apartment Advisor) supervision and training, educational and social programming, implementation of educational strategies for student development, student leadership development including advising student governance groups, conduct adjudication, crisis response, and administrative processes in a residential community from 225 to 600+ students. Resident Directors are overtime eligible, non-exempt professional staff positions.
  • One assistant director on our team will directly supervise the Inclusion Assistant Program.  The Inclusion Assistants are student leaders who provide mentorship, programming, and intentional outreach to all students in the residence halls to educate and create strong communities that incorporate our values of accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Create strategies to enhance the work of inclusive community building in the residence halls. Work closely with professional staff to ensure residential life staff are trained on issues of equity and inclusion, with particular emphasis on effectiveness in carrying out positional responsibilities in the residential environment.
  • Through directing, coaching, mentoring, and evaluating staff, ensure staff perform assigned responsibilities in prescribed methods in accordance to standards established by department leadership.
  • Regularly collect input from students, student staff and full-time staff to provide annual formal evaluations, as well as on-going informal feedback.
  • Meet regularly with each professional staff individually to facilitate effective job performance as well as provide on-going professional development.
  • Assist resident directors in developing and implementing residential programming, organized to create an atmosphere of self-directed learning and opportunity for working with other stakeholder offices in establishing positive student communities.

Student Development and Educational Leadership (25%)

  • Collaborate with leadership within University Residences to provide long-term strategic planning, short-term coordination of operations, and more immediate problem solving within the department. 
  • Develop innovative programming strategies to support learning goals identified by the department.
  • Provide leadership and coordinates departmental initiatives related to including accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion (ADE&I) education into all aspects of the residential experience.
  • Support and advance departmental and institutional goals and values related to inclusive excellence.
  • Collaborate with staff and faculty to assess and improve systems designed to support academically at-risk students.
  • Collaborate with students, faculty, academic administrators and staff to enhance student learning through living-learning communities.
  • Foster student leadership development through structures such as hall government and student staff training.
  • Provide leadership in the development, implementation, interpretation and utilization of assessment to measure student learning and departmental effectiveness in achieving its goals.

Administrative Leadership (20%)

  • Provide leadership in reviewing and developing policies and processes.
  • Serve as unit liaison for housing facility and maintenance related concerns, occupancy management and communications, the business office, and dining.
  • Develop campus wide partnerships to collaborate on projects and University initiatives.
  • Ensure residence life staff complete administrative tasks accurately and on-time, and understand and adhere to all departmental and university policies, procedures and guidelines.
  • Chair multiple committees within residence life on major operations such as training, recruitment and selection, equity and inclusion, and resident education.
  • Exercise signature authority for hall government and staff programming budgets totaling $100,000 annually.  Provide training and supervision to resident directors as they develop and execute programming budgets and advise student groups.  Directly manage committee budgets for the recruitment and training of staff.
  • Assist the associate director of residence life in development and annual review of the residence life budget.  Offer proposals to balance improved services to students with financial stewardship. 

Student Conduct and CARE, On-Call / After-Hours Responsibility (10%)

  • Provide training, guidance, and support for resident directors as they implement the conduct process.
  • Hear conduct appeals from residents. These are often serious/high-level conduct cases dealing with violations related to drugs, alcohol, or physical/verbal assault.
  • Provide immediate support and direction for student and professional staff responding to emergency situations such as suicidal behaviors/ideation, sexual harassment, sexual assault, eating disorders, depression, physical assault, domestic violence, anger management, alcohol and drug abuse/dependency/overdose, or psychotic episodes.
  • Provide leadership for professional and student staff in providing supportive response to individuals and communities affected by serious or large-scale incidents such as moving a student to interim housing, deciding if a student is able to remain in the residence hall system, arranging for group or individual crisis counseling, and contacting parents.
  • Maintain strong liaison relationships with a variety of university resources including, but not limited to, Office of Student Life, Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Consultation and Sexual Assault Support, Ethnic Student Center, Disability Access Center, University Conduct Officer, Health Services, Counseling Center, University Police, Prevention and Wellness Office, Student Outreach Services, Academic Advising, the Tutoring Center, and New Student and Family Outreach Services.
  • Utilize professional training and interpersonal skills, and exercise independent judgment in responding to inquiries from families and the public related to incidents (e.g. student crisis, student misconduct, roommate conflicts) within parameters of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Seek to support parents and develop a partnership with them that serves the best interest of students.
  • With other residence life leadership team members, serve on an after-hours rotation to consult with on-call resident director or assistant resident director and respond to emergent student and physical infrastructure concerns.
  • Notify higher administration of incidents that are media worthy, involve significant harm/risk to safety to the residential campus student and staff community.

Other Duties (10%)

  • Serve on the Residence Life Leadership Team
  • Residence Life Area and Combined Staff Meetings
  • University Residence department committee(s) as appropriate
  • Enrollment and Student Services Divisional committee(s) as needed

Required Qualifications

  • Master’s degree.
  • Three years full-time management or administrative experience in college or university residence education.
  • Experience leading in a diverse and inclusive environment and a demonstrated commitment to building inclusive communities within a residential environment.
  • Experience with training, recruitment, and selection for all levels of staff in residence education.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in college student personnel, student development, higher education, counseling, management, public administration, sociology or related field.
  • Experience supervising full-time career-level educators (e.g. resident directors)
  • Three to five years progressively more responsible supervisory experience in residential environments.
  • Ability to develop educational strategies to foster student development and learning.
  • Experience with crisis management.
  • Professional, live-in residence hall or student housing staff experience.
  • Ability to apply current student learning and development theories and research.


$60,800 - $70,950 commensurate experience with an excellent benefits package; staff meal plan also included.

Application Instructions

Applicants must apply online via Western's Electronic Application System for Employment (PageUp) at A complete application includes: 

  1. a cover letter addressing the required and preferred qualifications;
  2. a resume;
  3. the names and contact information for three professional references, including a current or past supervisor and;
  4. a one page equity and inclusion statement: a separate statement (maximum length one page) addressing your demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion, in addition to the ability to create an inclusive residence hall community. In the statement, please include examples of your past work that demonstrate your commitment to equity and inclusion in addition to describing how you will contribute to further implement these values at Western Washington University through the position responsibilities outlined above.

Closing Date Notes

Position closes June 27, 2021 @ 11:55pm

Western Washington University (WWU) is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer committed to assembling a diverse, broadly trained faculty and staff. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply. In compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of its commitment to fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces diversity, WWU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy and parenting status), disability, age, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status or genetic information in its programs or activities, including employment, admissions, and educational programs. See WWU’s Policy on Ensuring Equal Opportunity and Prohibiting Discrimination and Retaliation. Inquiries may be directed to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance, Title IX and ADA Coordinator, Western Washington University, Old Main 345 (MS 9021), 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225; 360.650.3307 (voice) or 711 (Washington Relay);

WWU is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. To request this document in an alternate format or to request an accommodation, please contact Human Resources Disability Services, 360.650.3774 or 711 (Washington Relay).

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: This report is provided pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act ("The Clery Act"). It includes statistics for the previous three calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on Western's campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Western; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. The report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this report in printed or alternate formats by contacting the Office of the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services at The report can be found at: Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

All new employees must comply with the immunization policy and show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service before beginning work at WWU. A thorough background check will be conducted on all new hires.

Job no: 498531
Advertised: Pacific Daylight Time
Applications close: Pacific Daylight Time