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King University News :: King Resident Assistants Receive Training in Preparation for Students Arrival

R.A. - for anyone who has lived on a college campus, you definitely recognize those initials.  An R.A. is a resident assistant trained as a peer leader who supervises students living in residence halls.  At King, R.A.’s go through a significant amount of training before students ever begin arriving on campus – Fall Training Workshop held one week prior to fall Launch and Winter Training Workshop held three days prior to spring check-in. 

Currently, Residence Life has 24 R.A.’s and three area coordinators (A.C.).  “We have great group of R.A.s and three wonderful area coordinators this year,” said Suzanne Mullins, Assistant Dean for Residence Life at King.  “Our A.C.s are bachelor’s level professionals whose full-time job is to run the residence halls assigned to them and supervise the R.A. staff.  The area coordinators also have a quarter-time assignment where they spend eight hours per week working with various Student Affairs office on campus such as Intramurals, S.L.A.C.K. (Student Life Activities Committee at King), and Community Outreach.  In addition to overseeing the R.A.s, the A.Cs handle everything from maintenance concerns to housekeeping.  This year, they will also begin hearing some student conduct cases.”

Michael Thornton of Nashville, Tenn., will serve as A.C. for Liston Hall.  Michael received his bachelor’s degree in Technical Professional Communication and a minor in Management Marketing with a concentration in Photography from King in 2011.  Charnele Luster, originally from Worcester, Mass., will serve as A.C. for Parks and Hyde Hall.  Charnele received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a minor in Visual Arts concentrating on Sculpture from Roger Williams University.  Our third A.C. is Amber Thompson of Butler, Penn.  She will serve as A.C. for Mitchell and Lower Liston Halls.  Amber earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Waynesboro University and her master’s degree in Higher Education from Geneva College.

“We have had six returning R.A.s on campus since Aug. 10,” said Mullins.  “This provides a staff presence for those student athletes who are required to arrive to campus prior to the beginning of the semester.  Currently, we have, on campus, athletes from men’s and women’s Cross Country, men’s and women’s Soccer, women’s Volleyball, Baseball, and several members of Track Field.”  Three of the six are head R.A.s who provide assistance to the area coordinator with administrative tasks and serves in a leadership role if the A.C. steps away from the building.

Some of the duties the R.A.s will be responsible for include ensuring students’ safety, building community, enforcing policy, and assisting students in navigating the college process.  R.A.s receive training in counseling referral and helping skills as well as safety and security.  They are also required to be CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation), AED (automated external defibrillator), and First Aid certified.

A new addition to the training regimen for R.A.s includes a leadership course for credit, Lead 1500, taught by Mullins with additional assistance from the A.C.s.  Incorporated into the course is StrengthsQuest, an online assessment tool which helps provide insights into the students top five talent themes, along with action items for development and suggestions about they can use their talents to achieve academic, career, and personal success.  StrengthsQuest is part of Gallup’s Education Practice and is used at more than 600 schools and universities in the United States.

Mullins works closely with Benny Berry, director of safety and security for King, to train R.A.s in areas required by law such as FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and the Clery Act, a federal mandate requiring all institutions of higher education that participate in the federal student financial aid program to disclose information about crime on their campuses and in the surrounding communities.  R.A.s also receive health and safety inspection training along with critical incident management training in areas such as fire safety, inclement weather emergencies.  They are also trained to assist with monthly fire drills. 

Students interested in becoming a resident assistants must be a sophomore, junior, or senior at time of employment and have lived on campus for at least two semesters, and must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5, although a higher average is encouraged. 

“Serving as a resident assistant is a unique position which will challenge, inspire and motivate you,” said Mullins.  “It also provides financial support for the present and valuable skills and work experience for the future.”

For more information on Residence Life, visit or contact Suzanne Mullins at 423.652.4743 or