Twenty-eight percent of RAs have 30 students or less under their responsibility, 49% have 31 to 50 students, and 23% have more than 50 students. Perhaps not surprisingly, resident assistants with more students under their responsibility indicate spending more hours per week working as an RA.
RAs who are responsible for more students are less satisfied with the number of hours they work, but do not differ from those RAs with fewer students on other measures of satisfaction, such as constraints on leaving campus and balancing academics and job responsibilities. Student staff members are equally satisfied with their job training as it relates to effectively carrying out their duties as an RA regardless of the number of students under their responsibility. Furthermore, the number of students for which an RA is responsible does not appear to be related to whether the student staff experience contributes to interpersonal development or other key learning outcomes. However, RAs who are responsible for fewer students report greater levels of respect and acceptance among their residents than RAs with more students. Overall, the number of students for which an RA is responsible does not appear to impact the RA experience dramatically, except for increased work hours, but further research should explore the extent to which it may impact the student resident experience.
The Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I) and EBI Benchmarking Assessments partnered to develop assessment tools for residence life. This research is based on the ACUHO-I/EBI Student Staff Assessment including the academic years 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11. In all, 12,751 student staff members responded to the assessment during the three academic years.
The number of students for whom an RA is responsible does not appear to impact the RA experience significantly, although there appears to be a difference in hours worked per week and satisfaction with work hours. These differences did not translate into differences in overall satisfaction or achievement of learning outcomes or interpersonal development. However, RAs with fewer students indicated a greater level of respect and acceptance among their residents. This hints at the possibility that the student resident experience may be different based on the number of students for which an RA is responsible.
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