Director of Residence Life

Western Washington University   Bellingham, WA   Full-time     Management
Posted on March 31, 2024
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Position Title: 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 2022 U.S. News & World Report rankings. Western Washington University is committed to achieving excellence through advancing inclusive success, increasing our Washington impact, and focusing on transformational education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences and based on innovative scholarship, research, and creative activity. Western's greatest strength is the outstanding students, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae who make up its community. Western supports an inclusive governance structure for all and provides a learning and working environment in which everyone can thrive. In pursuit of this excellence, individual employees are expected to establish and maintain productive and effective inclusive working relationships amongst diverse populations including staff, faculty, administration, student, and external constituents. Further, individual employees are expected to have the ability to operationalize sustainability concepts (economic, societal, environmental) into all aspects of performing their job duties.

About the Department

University Residences supports 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.

About the Position

The Director will serve on the University Residences senior manager leadership team under the supervision of the Executive Director of University Residences. This position provides vision and strategic direction in maximizing the department of Residence Life efforts of supporting the University’s enrollment, inclusive, and strategic goals in an effective manner. The Director of Residence Life provides recommendations, leadership and assistance to the Executive Director of University Residences in delivering a coordinated and comprehensive residential program supporting student success, with applicable levels of collaboration and accountability. The Director will lead daily operations of the Residence Life program of 4,400 residents living in 16 residence halls and 1 apartment complex, 5 professional and classified staff, and 100+ paraprofessional student staff. Residence Life is a department within University Residences (UR).

Position Duties and Responsibilities

30% - Human Resource Management

Lead implementation of processes to recruit, hire, train, supervise, evaluate and retain highly talented and diverse student affairs focused staff at all position levels of Residence Life.

  • Recruit and retain a well-qualified diverse staff of dedicated professionals.
  • Supervise and conduct performance reviews for four professional assistant directors.
  • Supervise classified administrative support personnel for residence life.
  • Ensure compliance with federal, state, university and departmental hiring procedures.
  • Ensure appropriate level of professional development for staff to effectively perform duties.
  • Educate staff and students in respecting and understanding cultural differences.
  • Ensure proper supervision and equity in summer assignments.

20% - Co-Curricular, Academic, and Student Development

Direct programs accelerating academic, interpersonal/behavioral, citizenship, and leadership skills for all residential students.

  • In collaboration with Enrollment and Student Services and/or academic units, establish a leadership program, build upon critical learning principles at the center of student leadership development and aligned with mission and strategic plan, and utilize best practices in student development and higher education.
  •  Oversee development and implementation of residential approach designed to build positive group cohesion and community in the residence halls, enrich students' lives, and contribute to their development.
  • Build and strengthen inclusive, responsible, and accountable communities.
  • Implement initiatives to increase cross-cultural interaction among residential students.
  • Develop collaborative partnerships in Enrollment and Student Services and Academic Affairs ensuring productive academic experiences that assist student retention and graduation.
  • Lead residence life efforts in outreach, follow-up and appropriate referrals for academically challenged residential students in partnership with other Enrollment and Student Services and/or Academic Affairs entities.
  • Administer adjudication of residential student conduct, consistent with the department’s housing agreement, and in coordination with the Dean of Students Office.
  • Lead residence life efforts related to students’ physical and mental health, in partnership with other Enrollment and Student Services and/or University Police units.

20% - Operations and Administration

Guide residence life initiatives to create a seamless operational and administrative environment exceeding student needs and expectations.

  • Chair departmental committees and represent the unit/department with other university-wide committees as assigned.
  • Develop and maintain a system of staff duty coverage and establish on-call procedures for after-hour, weekend and holiday response to student and building concerns.
  • Work collaboratively with Occupancy Management to address the assignments needs of residential students with respect to current, emerging and optimal hall programs for occupancy and space allocations.
  • Integrate diversity into development of programs, practices, policies and processes.
  • Create and implement business continuity plan for residence life and coordinate emergency protocols and response.
  • Communicate and assist with facility concerns and utility outages.
  • Interface with parents regarding concerns for residential students in the halls.
  • Support fall quarter move-in/Opening Week operations and events.

10% - Emergency Response

Direct and evaluate all emergency and crisis responses.

  • Provide and manage crisis in a manner that eliminates or minimizes harm to students, property and facilities. Ensure crisis is managed in a manner diminishing institutional liability.
  • Ensure staff are well trained to respond appropriately, and emergent situations are appropriately and timely brought to the attention of supervisors and/or senior administration.
  • In collaboration with campus stakeholder departments, manage policies and procedures by providing comprehensive and timely response to residential student physical, psychological, and medical emergencies twenty-four hours per day.
  • Participate as a member of the Division's Behavioral Intervention Network. Evaluate cases to help ascertain risk of harm. Identify resources for significantly troubled individuals and make referrals to appropriate campus and/or off-campus resources. Serve in a case management model to address and follow-up with individuals as needed.

10% - Strategic Planning, Leadership, and Assessment

Provide exceptional leadership for professional and student staff by strategic planning, implementation and assessment for assigned initiatives, and committee work in Residence Life, University Residences and the Division of Enrollment and Student Services.

  • Develop systematic assessment programs to monitor trends and direct efforts to continually improve the residential living experience for Western Washington students.
  • Guide staff in a clear understanding and articulation of the mission, values, and strategic goals of residence life, housing, Enrollment and Student Services, and the university.
  • With constant focus on the student experience, develop and implement initiatives advancing the University Residences department. Specific emphasis should be placed on assessment and learning outcomes, technological advancements, and development of community initiatives to best serve the campus student population.
  • Assist in campus retention and enrollment management efforts.
  • Support and assist traditionally underrepresented students by utilizing campus resources, student staff, and creative and diverse programming.

5% - Fiscal Resource Management

Administrate fiscal processes with maximum integrity and timeliness.

  • Follow all federal, state, university and departmental budget procedures.
  • Provide oversight and signature approval to residence life budgetary accounts and make recommendations for budget planning purposes.
  • Prepare and oversee annual budget, allocating resources in support of strategic initiatives.

5% - Other duties

  • Demonstrate initiative through intentional relationship development and leadership in university, state, regional, and national organizations.
  • Network with administration, Academic Affairs and Enrollment and Student Services departments on campus.
  • Participate in and contribute to state, regional, and national professional associations.
  • Participate in professional development opportunities.
  • Ensure values of diversity and inclusion are included in all aspects of the residence life program.
  • Assist in a variety of University Residences initiatives and programs as needed.
  • Work occasional nights or weekends as needed to meet unit objectives.
  • Complete additional duties as assigned to meet departmental and university needs.

Required Qualifications

  • Master's degree in Higher Education Administration, College Student Personnel, Student Affairs or related field, with at least seven years of post-master's experience demonstrating progressively responsible organizational authority in a campus residence life/housing setting.
  • Successful experience in recruiting, hiring, training, evaluating, and retaining highly talented and diverse staff.
  • Demonstrated experience developing academic, interpersonal/behavioral, citizenship, and leadership skills for students.
  • Supervision of professional and paraprofessional staff, including recruitment and professional development.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of accessibility, diversity, inclusion, and equity.
  • Demonstrated experience with student conduct.
  • Ability to successfully manage crises and emergencies.
  • Experience assessing and managing risk.
  • Demonstrated experience with strategic planning, implementation, and assessment.
  • Experience analyzing and resolving conflict, team building, group dynamics and problem solving skills.
  • Working knowledge of regulations affecting residential life programs (i.e. Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Title IX).
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective and collaborative supervisory and collegial relationships.
  • Operational knowledge and experience managing budgets.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience working with other student affairs departments or committees including developing partnerships for joint initiatives.
  • Experience working with student leadership and advising.
  • Experience with program development and assessment for residence hall experiences.
  • Knowledge of and experience with best practices for residential living in the following areas: support of student learning and success; academic achievement; diversity and inclusion; social integration; wellness and well-being; life and career preparation; empowerment and accountability; and values clarification.


Hiring range for position is $106,479 - $122,451/year.  Through longevity position tops out at $138,423/year.

Closing Date Notes

Application review April 22, 2024; position is open until filled.