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Resident Assistant (RA) Job Description

Our Mission

Residence Life co-creates a safe and welcoming environment by designing an intentional residential experience that encourages student success. We are committed to creating a sense of belonging through personal connections, building inclusive communities, cultivating a dynamic learning environment, and empowering student growth and resiliency.  We call this home!

Minimum Qualifications for Selection and Continued Employment

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student at USC - Columbia. 
  • RAs that fall under full time status are required to notify their supervisor to get approval from the Director of Residence Life in order to remain in the role under full-time.  
  • Participants in the Gateway Program provided through the institution will be allowed to participate in the selection process.  
  • Have completed a minimum of one academic semester at the institution or have been a part of the Gateway Program provided by the institution. 
  • Maintain at least a 2.5 USC system semester GPA and 2.75 cumulative GPA at all times. 
  • Have previously lived in a residence hall. 
  • Be in good academic and conduct standing. 
  • Advanced level of maturity exhibited in sound judgment, emotional stability, flexibility, and willingness to accept responsibility. 
  • RAs considering graduation, clinicals, student teaching, or extensive internships during the period of this agreement must express this intent and seek approval before signing this agreement with their direct supervisor(s) and Assistant Director. If these kinds of experiences exceed 30 hours out of the building and/or 10 credit hours, it will be prohibited due to the extensive time commitment. 
  • Committed to serving the full academic year in the position. 
  • Committed to serving 20 hours per week. 
  • Able to pass a background check. 

Position Responsibilities 

Sense of Belonging: Foster a supportive and inclusive community where students feel connected to their peers, university and residential environment 

  • Establish positive, meaningful relationships and promote overall community with and between residents. 
  • Conduct individual, purposeful conversations with residents to assist in their adjustment to college. Through these conversations, RAs provide resources, assess needs and interests, and support academic and personal success of their residents. 
  • Maintain visibility within the community and awareness of residents’ challenges, connections, and behavioral patterns. 
  • Implement the EngageCarolina student engagement framework under the direction of your supervisor(s).  
  • Integrate resources into door decorations, bulletin boards/displays and other media to convey information to residents. 
  • Facilitate roommate agreement discussions to assist residents in the development of self-awareness and the awareness of others. 
  • Respond both on- and off-duty to students in crisis (physical, emotional, medical, etc.) following established protocols. Assess the condition of the incident and parties involved. Provide timely referrals to appropriate resources. Follow-up with residents in a caring and timely manner while maintaining confidentiality per FERPA requirements. 

 Personal Development & Well-Being: Promote Holistic growth and well-being of students by offering resources and programs that support their physical, mental, and emotional health 

  • Support and empower residents to reflect upon and examine their values, goals, and professional and personal passion areas. 
  • Encourage resident involvement within the residence hall and broader campus, based on personal interests, academics, and social connections. 
  • Support the efforts of neighborhood government and RHA by seeking active community representatives. Promote neighborhood government programming within the community.  

  University Academic Achievement: Encouraging academic success by providing resources that facilitate student’s intellectual growth, study skills and academic engagement .

  • Coordinate, facilitate, and evaluate regularly scheduled community meetings, events, initiatives, and other activities as guided by the EngageCarolina student engagement framework. 
  • Enforce quiet and courtesy hours to foster a conducive environment for residents to study and sleep. 
  • Complete responsibilities while serving in an on-duty capacity within the residence hall or community. Confront inappropriate behavior and uphold policy in an objective, consistent, and respectful manner while providing policy rationale. 
  • Educate residents on the impact of their behavior and refer them to professional staff for questions or concerns pertaining to student conduct. 

Residential Social Awareness: Promote an understanding and appreciation of diversity, social issues and civic responsibility within the residential community .

  • Respect and recognize the differences of all residents and staff regardless of age, gender, race, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, nationality, and/or veteran status. 
  • Challenge residents to understand and appreciate their responsibility to others both on- and off-campus. 
  • Educate self on all forms of diversity 
  • Timely, thorough, and accurate completion of administrative reports and events including, but not limited to weekly reports, one-on-one meetings, staff meetings, duty logs, event requests, incident reports, and work orders. 
  • Serve residents through engagement hours to build community and provide customer service. 
  • Promptly report possible breaches of the student code of conduct or maintenance concerns to FIXX and supervisor(s). 
  • Demonstrate respectful verbal and non-verbal communication with others and refrain from inappropriate or offensive behaviors. 
  • All communication (electronic, social media, written and verbal personal contact, guided tours, etc.) should be professional, presenting a positive and professional image of yourself and the University. 
  • Share information regarding campus programming and events, check-in/check-out procedures, health and safety inspections, survey administration, and other duties as assigned by supervisors or other University Housing leadership. 

The position description is not an exhaustive list of tasks; other duties may be assigned to support the mission, vision, and goals of the department 


Conditions of Employment

  1.  Adhere to: 
    • Local, state, and federal laws 
    • Student Code of Conduct and University Policies, as outlined by USC Student Conduct and Academic Integrity 
    • Includes, but not limited to the following: 
    • RAs will not provide alcohol to minors. 
    • RAs will not consume alcohol if they are underage. 
    • RAs will not consume alcohol before or while engaged in the duties of my position. 
    • RAs will not consume, sell, trade, transfer, purchase or possess any illegal drugs. 
    • All protocols, expectations, and guidelines set forth in the student employment handbook, university housing staff manuals, trainings and by supervisors 
  2. Being found in violation of the aforementioned will result in appropriate corrective action.  
  3. Appointment as an RA is for the entire academic year and for the contract dates listed above. 
  4. The RA offer may be rescinded if the candidate is unable to commit to serving in the position for the full academic year. If University Housing becomes aware of a RA’s intent to break the full academic year agreement during the employment period, the RA may be immediately terminated. 
  5. Promote and support responsible behavior among residents both on and off campus.  
  6. RAs must formally request via email to their supervisor to be approved to work additional employment on- or off-campus. Additional employment is considered as any work done outside of the RA position including, but not limited to an on-campus or off-campus job, internship, or graduate assistantship. If the RA is unsure if an opportunity is considered as “additional employment” the RA is responsible for contacting their direct supervisor(s) to confirm if the opportunity is considered as “additional employment.”  
  7. RAs considering graduation, clinicals, student teaching, or extensive internships during the period of this agreement must express this intent and seek approval before signing this agreement with their direct supervisor(s) and Assistant Director. If these kinds of experiences exceed 30 hours out of the building and/or 10 credit hours, it will be prohibited due to the extensive time commitment. 
  8. Students are not eligible for the RA position if they also serve in an elected position with any residence hall government, RHA, student government, or serve as a University Ambassador. 
  9. Cover desk, office, and other administrative hours on a weekly basis and assist on a temporary basis at high volume times of the year (including, but not limited to) the time periods immediately after opening and before closing). RAs are expected to remain on campus until the end of the RA contractual dates listed in the position description in May, unless prior approval is granted by the RA supervisor in consultation with the respective assistant director.  
  10. Assist with university-wide initiatives as directed by the Housing Department (including, but not limited to Admitted Students Days and Open Houses).  
  11. Provide duty coverage during the evenings, weekdays and weekends as required. Duty rotations vary by community due to staffing, physical layout of the building, and/or occupancy numbers. While serving on duty, the RA is required to stay in their building/community to complete rounds, confront incidents or conduct appropriate follow-up as guided by established and/or communicated protocols/expectations. 
  12. Full participation in all student staff/leader training functions (known as IMPACT) is mandatory for all RAs unless approved to be excused by supervisor(s) or appropriate authority. RAs return to campus in early August and early January to participate in IMPACT, and year-long trainings are offered throughout the semester as training needs are identified. Training dates will be provided in advance. In addition to training, full participation in all compliance trainings (i.e., FERPA, Title IX/Discrimination/Harassment) as directed by the supervisory chain.  
  13. New RAs must register for and complete the UNIV 290 course with a grade of C or better, if offered. 
  14. The Director of Residence Life at any time may require the Residence Life staff to assist with coordinated response to weather emergencies, major athletic events, pandemics, or other crisis situations that involve University Housing. 
  15. Remain on campus and/or return early to assist in the periodic opening and closing of the residence halls (Fall Semester Opening/Closing, Winter Break Opening/Closing, Spring Semester Opening/Closing, Spring Break Opening/Closing). This will involve remaining in the building until after all residents vacate the area and returning early to help open the building after break periods.  
  16. All Communities will remain open for Fall, Thanksgiving and Spring breaks.  
    • The following communities are open for Winter Break: 820 Henderson, 650 Lincoln, Bates West, East Quad, Green Quad, Horseshoe, Maxcy/Thornwell, South Tower, South Quad, Park Place. Staff in these locations are expected to work during the break periods in which these communities will be open. 
  17. Accept financial responsibility for any equipment issued by the University during employment and replace or pay damages for loss of any item including, but not limited to, keys, manual or binder, nametag, RA supply box and duty cell phone. All University Housing staff accept full responsibility for the master key, sub-master keys/cards and/or any keys/cards issued to them in relation to the position. Master keys may only be used for official purposes which are directly related to job responsibilities. Upon termination of employment, the final paycheck may be withheld until all keys and materials are returned. 
  18. Based on occupancy needs, University Housing reserves the right to place roommates with RAs. RAs will receive roommates if the need for additional bed spaces arises. 
  19. University Housing reserves the right to relocate a RA, shall the need arise to do so based on the needs/restrictions of the community and the department. Placement decisions/specific room assignments are made based on the needs of each residential community and the department. 
  20. Failure to uphold employment expectations will result in progressive corrective action by University Housing and may include documented conversations, written warnings, probation, and termination. Job accountability will be in alignment with a department-wide standard measure of accountability that will take into consideration the current action and past job performance.  
  21. RAs are not guaranteed to be rehired. The employment agreement is renewable upon evaluation of continued satisfactory performance in the position as well as the successful completion of the job application process for returning staff.  
  • New RAs are required to complete a Success Consultation with the Student Success Center. These Success Consultations are one-on-one meetings between the RA and a Peer Consultant, who will go over items like study skills, time management, and exam preparation strategies with you. In addition, the Success Consultation will help the RA become more familiar with the Student Success Center, which is critical to the RA role.   
  • University Housing staff will use the GPA as reported by the Registrar’s Office at the end of each semester to determine eligibility for the position. At no time will cumulative or semester GPAs be rounded up when considering candidates for hire and/or rehire. 
  • Any RA whose USC system semester or cumulative GPA falls below a 2.0 (USC academic probation) will not be considered for the RA position. If this occurs while the RA is employed, the RA will be terminated immediately. 
  • RAs must always maintain a 2.5 USC system semester and a 2.75 USC system cumulative GPA while employed in the position. 
  • Newly hired RAs who do not have a 2.5 USC system semester and a 2.75 USC system cumulative GPA at the conclusion of the semester preceding their employment may have their RA offer rescinded for failure to meet the academic requirement of the position. 
  • RAs whose semester and/or cumulative GPA fall below the requirements will be placed on probation for the next semester of employment. RAs will have the probationary semester to earn a 2.5 USC system semester and/or 2.75 USC system cumulative GPA and fulfill the terms of probation, including, but not limited to a Student Success Center consultation. Failure to do so will result in termination.  
  • A RA terminated for academic performance may be re-hired when they meet the grade requirement based on available position vacancies. 
  • RAs will not be allowed to use the summer session or transfer classes to raise their GPA to the required standard. Only USC system GPA will be considered for GPA requirement. 
  • Separation of employment occurs when an employee chooses to resign or is terminated for job performance or academic reasons. 
  • In the event of resignation, the employee must send an email advising of the final date of employment and make plans with your supervisor(s) to return all work-related materials and complete any other relative tasks related to separating from the position. 
  • In the event of termination, the employee will have a meeting with their supervisor(s) or appropriate authority and be sent a follow-up email. The RA makes plans with their supervisor(s) to return all work-related materials and complete tasks related to separating from the position. 
  • If a RA resigns or is terminated for academics, the RA is considered “in good standing” with the department and is eligible for rehire but must participate in the established returning RA selection process. 
  • If a RA is terminated for job performance, the RA is considered not “in good standing” with the department.  
  • RAs must sign the University Housing Single Student Residence Hall Contract. The Housing Contract is a legally binding document.  
  • RAs separating from the position are encouraged to consult with University Housing – Occupancy Management to review available housing re-assignment options and/or Housing Contract cancellation procedures. 
  • Separation from the RA position will result in being re-assigned to another on-campus housing assignment outside of the residential community in which the RA was assigned (pending availability). 


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