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Staff Overboard: Updated Approaches to Mentorship and Job Descriptions for Mid-Level Staff 

May 14,2024 03:21 PM

By Alice A. Mitchell, Matthew Venaas, and Sherry Woosley

Imagine a campus housing department as a cruise ship. At the helm is the senior housing officer, setting the course and overseeing all that happens on the vessel. Meanwhile, the entry-level staff make up the ship’s crew, working hard to maintain the engines, keep everyone safe, address issues as they appear, and meet the passengers’ needs. And sitting between those two positions are the mid-level staff, who act as cruise directors. These are the individuals who manage the operations and ensure that crew members show up to work. They see that services are delivered, snarls are navigated, and the operation runs smoothly. You might even say they keep things ship shape.

Unfortunately, while the good ship ResLife has encountered some rough seas, it is those cruise directors who are quietly (and not so quietly) lowering the lifeboats at a startling rate. This wave feels like more than that of younger professionals testing the waters of their new careers. That leads to the question of what researchers, housing leaders, and mid-level professionals know about why these staff are jumping ship and what life preservers would help retain them.


#EnablingWorkforceSustainability

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