Director of Residential Life

Northwestern University in Illinois

Date Posted April 24, 2014
Type Executive
Salary Not specified
Employment Type Full-time

About Northwestern University:


Northwestern University is a private research university located on lakefront campuses in both Evanston and downtown Chicago, Illinois. Northwestern was founded in 1851. In fall 2008, Northwestern opened another campus in Doha, Qatar offering bachelor’s degrees in journalism and communications in partnership with the Qatar Foundation.  


The university employs approximately 7,100 full-time faculty and staff members among its 11 schools and colleges. NU offers over 130 undergraduate programs and 70 graduate and professional programs to the almost 16,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled full time.


Northwestern University is committed to excellent teaching, innovative research, and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community.


Northwestern Opportunity:


Northwestern University seeks to employ a varied and diverse range of dynamic people who understand the importance of our mission and vision. When you consider a career at Northwestern University, you know that you are joining an institution with a deep history of academic, professional and personal excellence.


Currently, we have a career opportunity as a Director of Residential Life.


The Director of Residential Life will provide vision and leadership for the Residence Life program while managing a diverse professional and para-professional staff for a student housing population of 4,400 undergraduate and graduate students. The Director is part of the senior leadership team that initiates and sets policies, provides direction and supports the mission of the Department of Residential Services. Some evening and weekend hours will be required.


This critical role:


  • Designs and implements a vibrant residential life program that complements the University's and Student Affairs' strategic plans. Key components of this plan must include the development of meaningful connections with the academic community, increased student satisfaction, the development of community, the assessment of student learning, and a focus on safety and security;
  • Recruits, hires, trains, supervise, and evaluates the full-time, permanent Residence Life staff consisting of one (1) Assistant Director and two (2) Senior Assistant Directors;
  • Oversees the recruitment, selection, hiring, training and evaluation of the eight (8) Residence Directors (RD's), seven (7) Graduate Assistants and 104-107 paraprofessional live-in student staff RA's). Position is also responsible for two (2) Program Assistants;
  • Ensures that job descriptions and training provide staff with necessary knowledge, skills and abilities;
  • Creates an inspired sense of community among residential students;
  • Ensures that the Student Affairs Strategic Plan and student learning outcomes are incorporated into the residential programming model;
  • Maintains and enhance existing partnership with the office of Residential Academic Initiatives in support of co-curricular opportunities;
  • Supports and enhance the role and activities of residence hall student government and student leadership;
  • Directs centralized residence life administrative systems including but not limited to budget preparation and administration (approximately $1.1million dollars, not including regular staff and student salaries), coordinate and manage staff duty, and hall desk operations;
  • Serves on Residential Services senior administrative group, including the Director of Facilities and Construction, the Director of Administrative Services and the Director of Residential Academic Initiatives;
  • Participates fully, constructively, and cooperatively with all functional areas in establishing and guiding Residential Services operational policies and procedures;  
  • Represents Residential Services to various University Offices including, but not limited to: Counseling and Psychological Services, University Police, Academic Affairs, Dean of Students, several student life offices, Admissions, New Student and Family Programs, Greek Life, and Student Engagement;
  • Consults with individual students, parents, groups and the public on problems, interests and concerns related to Residential Services and residence life;
  • Participates in the establishment and administration of equitable student judicial policies and procedures with students and University judicial staff while monitoring student behavior. In consultation with the Dean of Students office, hear cases warranting suspension from the residence halls, handle judicial appeals, and determine menu of sanctions for policy violations;
  • Responds to emergency situations on a 24 hour basis;
  • Coordinates emergency response with residence life staff, the Dean of Students, and University Police;
  • Maintains safety standards and training to assure compliance with University, State, and Federal codes and regulations;
  • Serves as Residential Services representative on University committees;
  • Represents the University at local, regional, and national professional meetings;
  • Prepares and oversees the preparation of special and periodic reports on departmental operations, costs or programs;
  • Performs other duties as required or assigned.


Minimum Qualifications:


  • A master's degree in student personnel, educational administration or related field is required
  • Requires eight years of progressively expanded relevant administrative experience in residence life and/or student affairs; or the equivalent combination of education, training and experience from which comparable skills can be acquired;
  • Requires two years of professional "live-in" experience;
  • Requires four years of experience supervising residence life/student affairs professional staff;
  • Requires two years' experience with budgets and administrative systems;
  • Additional professional experience in functional areas of Student Affairs, apart from Residence Life, desirable;
  • Requires excellent organizational and communication skills;
  • Evidence of appreciation and support of other divisions of Housing operations (facilities/food service/business operations) is highly desired;
  • Evidence of commitment to the Housing profession through attendance, presentations, and publications at the regional and national level is preferred;
  • Evidence of ability to demonstrate high energy, enthusiasm, commitment to diversity, and relate to a wide variety of personalities and offices, and create the same in residence life staff is highly desired;
  • Evidence of knowledge of student development and application to programs and experiences or relevance, practicality, and substance to students is required.


Preferred Qualifications:


  • Experience in program assessment and strategic planning;
  • Demonstrated success in cultivating relationships and creating collaborative partnerships;
  • Comprehensive (7-10 years) related student development and higher education administrative experience, including supervision, mentoring, coaching and training of a large staff.

Working at Northwestern University:


Beyond being a place to learn and grow professionally, Northwestern is an exciting and fulfilling place to work! Northwestern offers many benefit options to full and part-time employees including: competitive compensation; excellent retirement plans; comprehensive medical, dental and vision coverage; dependent care match; vacation, sick and holiday pay; professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.


Northwestern greatly values work/life balance amongst its employees. Take advantage of recreational, cultural, and enrichment opportunities on campus. Employees also receive access to childcare solutions, retail discounts, and other work/life balance resources.


Northwestern University is an equal opportunity employer and strongly believes in creating an environment that welcomes students, faculty and staff of all races, nationalities and religions. In doing so, we offer our students the opportunity to learn and grow in diverse communities preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly global and diverse work force.


For consideration, please click on the link below. You will be directed to Northwestern University's electronic recruiting system, eRecruit, where you will search and apply for current openings. To apply for this position in eRecruit, enter the Job Opening ID number in the appropriate search field. Once you apply, you will receive an email confirming submission of your resume. For all resumes received, if there is interest in your candidacy, the human resources recruiter or the department hiring manager will contact you. Job Opening ID number for this position is 23042.

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes including veterans and individuals with disabilities.


How To Apply

You can apply for this position online at