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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Interviews commence to find potential RLC canidates

No, those sort-of young-looking people in business casual suits walking around campus are not prospies. They actually have masters degrees and could be your quasi-parents next year—they are the newest RLC candidates.

The yearly search for new Resident Life Coordinators (RLCs) has started and this year Student Affairs plans to hire three new coordinators as current RLCs, Katie Lau and Eric Vos, leave at the end of this year.

Ideally, administration wants six permanent RLCs for next year—one for each cluster of residence halls on campus. This is a change to the current RLC set up, which consists of five RLCs, one of which also functions as the Lilly Intern. There are currently 10 candidates, all of whom are viable applicants, according to Andrea Conner, Assistant Dean and Director of Residence Life.

To ensure productive interviews, Conner followed suit to previous years and enlisted the help of Student Staff and members of the student body. To initiate student participation, she sent out about two hundred e-mails to Student Staff, along with anyone else who wanted to participate in the interview process, indicating the dates and times candidates would be interviewed.

Student Affairs provided students with copies of suggested interview questions, candidate resumés, the RLC job description and evaluation forms so that they could effectively question and assess candidates. Student Affairs gave Student Staff members and non-staff members the same form at the end of the process.   

“It is the same blue form for all ‘evaluators,’ Conner said. “The forms aren’t the only response venue, though—we also converse about it in person.”
P.J. Mahaffey ’11, the Senior Student Advisor in Clangrala, took advantage of the opportunities open to students to meet with the candidates.

Mahaffey’s positions, created by Student Affairs to ensure both Clangrala and CND have separate RLCs, made him more aware of the importance of finding RLCs who understand and appreciate self-governance.

“Some RLCs in the past overstepped their boundaries in that they came off too strong and were more worried about rules than creating a positive environment for students—an environment that they would be comfortable in,” Mahaffey said.

Last week he and a few other students had lunch with two candidates who had graduated from small, liberal arts schools similar to Grinnell.
Mahaffey mentioned that when he asked an applicant who graduated from Kenyon College why they chose to apply to Grinnell, they said it was because it seemed to be a good, fun environment to work in. They were also intrigued by the self-governance aspect of which both candidates had a good understanding.

Conner said that several of the candidates attended “great undergraduate institutions with a commitment to the liberal arts and strong graduate programs in Student Affairs.”
“The group includes a significant number of international people, people of color and LGBTQ folks,” Conner said. She believes such candidates would be able to enhance the diversity that the Grinnell campus publicly strives to foster and achieve.

Speaking from her own RLC experience, Lau pointed out that they are looking for candidates who would make themselves available to students, are very attentive their surroundings and would work well with the existing staff.

During the interview process, Mahaffey has been on the lookout for those with personable qualities and those who realize Grinnell’s unique environment.
“I like candidates that see the RLC position as a resource and not something to be used as authority,” Mahaffey said.

With the departure of Katie Lau at the end of this semester, CND cluster resident Christian Snow ’13 hopes that the newly hired RLCs will still place their interests in interactions with students.

“I want somebody who is approachable and seen around campus interacting with students but at the same time is not overbearing,” Snow said. “I would like someone who can be seen as confident that I could go to for advice about any situation.”

As the interview process winds down, the administration is using student and faculty input to narrow down their RLC choices. The Grinnell community should continue to express the qualities that they want in resident life coordinators while they can. Student Affairs plans to mail out letters to chosen candidates by May 1.

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