Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-20-2011


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor James Griesen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2011
Copyright 2011 William Richard Fairfield Harmon


The purpose of this qualitative, multi-case study was to explore the experiences of resident assistants (RAs) as they transitioned from a traditional, corridor-style residence hall, to suite-style hall environments. RAs that were in the transition from the traditional, corridor-style hall to a suite-style hall contributed to this study by participating in multiple interviews over the course of the fall semester of the 2010-11 academic year. In addition, the Residence Hall Director (RD) was also interviewed during the fall semester. Throughout the study, the RAs were asked to reflect upon their (a) roles and responsibilities as RAs in the suite-style environment, (b) effects they have seen in their social and academic lives as a result of their new assignment, and (c) how their current experiences compared with their prior traditional hall experiences.

This study provided an opportunity to explore and understand how the suite-style halls are affecting the RA role. The study reports that many aspects of the RA role, such as their staff dynamics, social lives, academic experiences, and family interactions, have remained the same in the suite-style halls. However, the physical barriers have decreased interactions with residents, increased the difficulty in establishing community, and residents’ needs have changed what roles the RAs utilize in the suite-style environment. This study includes recommendations for future research and practitioners.