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Themes of the Daily Life as a Hall Director

New Professionals and Graduate Students Graduate New Professional
October 6, 2020 Anastasia Chaky

Housing is such an important co-curricular opportunity that many of our students partake in. With that, we have Hall Directors who oversee at least one building. There is so much that can happen in a day in this role that it is hard to state specifics of this is exactly how every day will go. That being said, there are overarching themes that you will most likely experience if you choose to become a Hall Director (HD) yourself. 

  1. As a HD, you must be ready for anything. Part of your responsibilities include addressing crisis management situations as they arise. While you’ll be serving in an on-call rotation, there will still be situations that occur during normal business hours that you’ll need to respond to. Thus, you must be ready to shift your day around completely to best accommodate what is needed both in your hall(s) and in other residential communities - especially if it is an all-hands-on-desk situation. A good example of an instance of this is a fire alarm going off during the daytime.  

  2. As a HD, you need to build relationships. The biggest one is building relationships with your student staff. You’ll also want to build relationships with your residents so that they feel comfortable coming to you for assistance if they need it. Furthermore, you’ll also want to work on building relationships with campus partners. Depending what institution you work at will depend on what departments you’ll work with the most and want to build those relationships with respectively. A good example of an instance of this is talking to your custodial crew to see if there are specific concerns happening in the community lobby spaces that might need to be addressed on a larger scale.

  3. As a HD, you will need to supervise your student staff. By ensuring your staff feel supported and valued, they will be able to go forth and support their residents accordingly. They are responsible for their floor(s) while you are responsible for the hall(s) respectively. With this structure, your employees will be able to help you create and maintain a safe and healthy living-learning environment. It is important to remember that your employees are humans first, students second, and your employee third. A good example of this is cancelling a 1-on-1 so that your student staff can work on homework – especially if they have had an intense week in their role.

  4. As a HD, you will need to complete various administrative tasks. This can be anything from completing payroll to submitting reports to responding to emails as needed. Most of these have deadlines, so it is helpful to schedule time to work on bigger projects and ensure everything is submitted in as needed. A good example of this is knowing that you need to have in payroll by a certain deadline or your employees paychecks will be delayed a pay period.

  5. As a HD, you will most likely be advising. You could be advising anything from a hall council to a RHA to various student organizations. While there are some similarities, advising is different from supervising. These skills will allow you to help students in volunteer roles – which is a completely different experience than supervising paid employees. A good example of this difference is how you can hold accountable someone who is not meeting expectations in a paid position versus a volunteer role.

  6. As a HD, you are responsible for the safety and well-being of the residence halls. This includes various tasks such as building walkthroughs, desk operations, and key management. A good example of this would be noticing that a key was marked checked out and missing from the box for an extended period of time that brings concern to whether or not a student actually lost their key..

  7. Lastly, as a HD you will need to balance leaving work at work. Your office will most likely be in a residence hall of where you work. You will most likely have to enter and leave the hall by passing numerous residents. This can cause you to always feel on. Only you can set those boundaries to support yourself. A good example of this is bringing in frozen groceries as residents are trying to tell you about a minor facilities concern in their room. 

Since no two days look the same in this role, it is hard to get bored. Some days you’ll have more crisis management concerns while other days might be more supervision focused. You’ll need to balance all of these responsibilities every day and prioritize what is most important. Without a doubt, this role can teach you valuable skills that can either stay in Housing or help you transition into another department with a different role. 

Author: Anastasia Chaky (she/her/hers) is a new-professional working as a Hall Director at Morehead State University. She is responsible for overseeing approximately 900 residents and 19 student staff members. She is especially passionate about assessment, student success, and leadership development, and strives to provide opportunities to grow and learn for her students. Originally from Warrensburg, Missouri, Anastasia earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Central Missouri. Additionally, Anastasia earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education with a Leadership and Administration focus from Old Dominion University. Before working at Morehead State University, Anastasia held positions at the University of Central Missouri, Georgia Southern University, and Old Dominion University while working in the following departments: multicultural and inclusivity, housing, admissions and recruitment, and the student success center. Anastasia likes to spend her free time reading, exploring nature and new places, trying out new restaurants, and playing with her dog, Sinatra. Anastasia can be found on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agchaky/