Date of Award

Fall 12-2009

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Willie Pierce

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

Wanda S. Maulding

Committee Member 3

Christopher Crenshaw

Committee Member 4

David Lee

Committee Member 5

James T. Johnson


The general purpose of a residence life program is the improvement of the oncampus student experience in hopes of promoting personal growth, development, and education as well as bolstering retention rates and cultivating future alumni relationships. A residence life program can be found on most four year college and university campuses. Many colleges and universities facilitate their own residence life programs in whole or in part. Other colleges and universities outsource their residence life programs, in whole or in part, to what is called a privatized university housing company. The goals of a residence life program, be it facilitated by university administrators, or by a privatized university housing company, remains the same; to enhance the student's oncampus college experience.

The resident assistant (RA) is the first line of administration in most residence life programs. The RA position is typically a demanding, sometimes thankless job. It is a job in which the RA lives in, and is responsible for, a geographical sector of his or her peers. The RA position encompasses many roles such as administrator, programmer, disciplinarian, and counselor and is considered an important cog in the residence life wheel at most colleges and universities.