Residence Life at Reed

Division of Student Services

Resident Director Experience

In addition to these responses, you can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff page.

What do you enjoy most about working at Reed?

Julia

Julia: I enjoy the fact that Reed presents many opportunities to think outside the box while creating new procedures and policies. Since we are a younger student services division, we are paving the way in uniquely Reed ways. It is extremely rewarding to feel ownership over the creation of programs, initiatives, or procedures that can have a tremendous impact on the student experience.

tim

Tim: I enjoy working at a institution that values the uniqueness of each individual. There is a genuine caring nature and authenticity from students, faculty and staff. That is represented with students saying hello when you walk by or a staff member who remembers a past conversation that happened some time ago.

Nick

Nick: The Reed community itself, with its reputation for intellectual rigor and its small size, is what drew me to this institution, and it's what has kept me here. I greatly enjoy meeting and working with students, staff and faculty members who are actively engaged in critical dialogue on how to best function and thrive as a conscientious and caring community.

 

sydney

Sydney: One of the main reasons I was drawn to Reed (and continue to enjoy working here) is because of the use of harm reduction practices. I feel that using harm reduction ideologies allow us to support the health and wellness of students, in ways that punitive practices don’t. There is a focus, from all staff, on keeping the community at Reed as welcoming as possible. Also the food is great!

Lindsay

Lindsay: The students. How cliché, right? But seriously, Reedies have a way of making you appreciate the small things. The late night breakfast thank-yous and the knowing smiles once they find out that you're the one who has been bombarding their email with programming invites and well wishes. I get up in the morning because I enjoy what I do and so much of that is because of these students.

What is the most unique thing about working at Reed?

Nick

Nick: The students themselves. I am perpetually in awe of the intellectual capabilities and broader inquisitive nature of our student population. At times, they challenge decisions and the rationale for why things are done the way they are done, demonstrating (at least in my mind) a genuine desire to learn and to contribute to the larger campus community.

Julia

Julia: Reed's Honor Principle means that we continuously work in "gray areas" at Reed. Our conversations with students are often framed differently than other places I've worked due to the lack of "student codes." That means we are able to have have more frank and honest discussions with students about their decisions and impact they have on themselves and others. Additionally, Reed is the most "student centered" institution I've seen - from an autonomous student body to student representatives in almost all decision making groups. This level of involvement reflects just how much students care about this community and want to see it bettered.

sydney Sydney: Reed college campus culture and student body are unique in so many ways. My favorite way that this uniqueness shows up is in Reed College traditions, such as Renn Fayre and Canyon Day. Being able to support and work with the creative, intelligent and dedicated students upholding such traditions is such a unique and special opportunity as a student affairs professional.

tim

Tim: The most unique thing about working at Reed is the students! Yes, the intellectual capabilities and sheer inquisitiveness are noticeable. What is not highlighted enough is the genuine care and incredible passion that students show in all aspects of their life. It is truly empowering and unique to see all of these qualities in each student.

Lindsay

Lindsay: The most unique thing about Reed is our students’ ability to change gears and maintain focus on what matters to them. One day they are protesting downtown, the next they are stressing about their Junior Qual exams. In between there, they find time to voice dissent about course readings and syllabi all while making sure they are excelling academically in the very courses that frustrate them. No matter what is going on, their academic integrity never seems to falter. It is truly a show of their intellectual passion. Our challenge is to help them find the fine balance that allows them get the most out of their time here.

In what ways are you challenged or able to grow professionally at Reed?

Julia

Julia: The students at Reed are definitely the biggest challenge; they are curious, engaged, and often critical of everything they encounter. This requires a high level of conversation in every aspect of our work, and accountability to understand both how we do our work, and the "whys" behind that work. At Reed, we are also privileged to work with a very supportive department and supervisor, who is invested in our professional growth and the experiences we bring to the table.

Nick

Nick: Resident Directors regularly work on different projects associated with different committee assignments. They are also encouraged to attend regional conferences, local housing meet-ups, and pursue/explore personal areas of interest and bring said passions back with them to their professional peers. I’ve had the opportunity to work on items related to student staff member training, programming assessment, as well as our theme and language housing registration processes, and have presented at two regional conferences on our team's approach to Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Policy violations. In combination with other RD responsibilities (for example, student staff supervision, building operations, and closing), I've been actively challenged to grow in my competence as a support person and as student affairs practitioner. This has been one of the most significant experiences in my professional journey thus far, and I believe that we (as a team) are better professionals because of the experiences and support that we have received in this department and at this institution.

Lindsay

Lindsay: There is a strong focus on autonomy in our daily and weekly to-do's. As someone who has always loved organization, but had not yet found a "way" that worked for me, the challenge was to hold myself accountable. There are very few "due dates" (which had been my life from grammar school through grad school) and so I had to figure out a way to stay on track and stay motivated. Seeing the big picture and learning about our processes more in-depth were key, but so was being aware of how I was spending my time and energy. (Don't worry--I didn't have to do this alone! I got feedback and suggestions at every step of the way! Thanks colleagues and supervisors!)

tim

Tim: As a new professional working in student services/residence life, the opportunity to grow professionally and to be challenged were what drew me to Reed. Having multiple identity lens and a plethora of diverse life experiences helped create a foundation for me professionally. With the support of Amy, my peers and campus partners, they provide the encouragement, tools and opportunities to be successful and grow.

sydney

Sydney: This position is my first, full-time professional position in Higher Education. The Res Life Leadership team and my colleagues are constantly supporting me! I believe this position is set up to intentionally support our professional growth. For example, as RDs we participate on a number committees, which enables us to learn about and support the overall direction of the department.

What's so great about Portland?

sydney

Sydney: Portland is as “hipster” as you think it is, but don't let that scare you off. There are so many benefits to the hipster culture; great coffee, good public transportation, amazing restaurants with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients, and cute dogs everywhere!

tim Tim: Portland provides a plethora of different options for everyone. From food carts, food markets, music venues and concerts, to sporting events, and finally to scenic beauty that is easily accessible (from the coast to Mt. Hood and everything else in between). I am amazed that Portland, while a major metropolitan city, (with incredible public transportation options) can be calm in its residential areas.

Lindsay

Lindsay: When my husband and I first moved here, we joined an adult recreational softball league which has given us our very dearest friends. We also got really into the PDX soccer scene and became part of the Timber's Army. You can find us in the fan section, standing, cheering, and screaming at the referees at nearly every home game. I personally love that brunch is a religion here. One that I firmly subscribe to. Also, we're an hour and a half from the coast and about an hour from beautiful camping at the base of Mt. Hood (in a matter of 25 minutes you feel like you're well outside of the city... I love that quick escape!).

Nick

Nick: I'm a bit biased, as I'm from Portland. The music scene, restaurants and food carts, craft beer, proximity to the coast, mountains, forests, and high desert region, as well as opportunities for community involvement, make this a city in which I easily feel at home.

Julia

Julia: I really enjoy that Reed is located in a more residential area, but that I can drive for 10 minutes and be in the heart of downtown. Portland has an amazing food and craft beer/cider culture, and there are tons of quirky events that happen, from mermaid parades to pirate festivals! I also love Portland's beautiful green scenery, and summers here are just spectacular for floating down the river.

What do you enjoy about working for this Residence Life department?

tim

Tim: We have the proper blend and balance of support from others but yet the latitude to do our own work from our own unique voice and individual identity. Within our department but working with other campus departments, there is the sense that their is a genuine care for everyone to be successful here. Everyone seems to be willing to give advice or helpful feedback in how to help best support students and collaborate the most efficiently.

Nick

Nick: I've greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with many amazing and magnanimous student staff members and professional peers. It’s common practice to engage in critical dialogue with our House Advisers and other professionals within Res Life on a variety of subjects related to student support; subsequently, opportunities for change or adjustment manifest often, which presents challenges as well as exciting opportunities for growth. We are also encouraged to invest ourselves (our personal ideas and values) into our projects and tasks, and are granted the flexibility and autonomy to help shape our residential communities. We also interact regularly with other campus community partners and collaborate on different projects, culminating in an experience that provides individuals in this department with fantastic opportunities for professional development.

sydney

Sydney: I feel so grateful to work with the students in the Res Life Department.  Our House Advisers are dedicated to supporting their peers, are always challenging the department to grow and are actively engaged! They're truly part of what makes this a great place to work. 

Julia

Julia: I think the size of our Residence Life department allows us to have close relationships with our colleagues while having a good amount of autonomy and responsibility. Since we are a smaller department of 7 people, we get to meet weekly with everyone, and get to know each other well. On the flip side, we are all responsible for our own areas and projects, and are trusted to do the work needed with the knowledge that if we need support or a few extra hands, our colleagues will jump in to help.

Lindsay

Lindsay: My colleagues, supervisor, and other folks I look up to within and across departments are so invested in the success of the RDs here. They all want to see us succeed and have provided helpful and critical feedback at times when they see opportunities to challenge ourselves. I have never felt so simultaneously challenged, fulfilled, and supported in a role and I think that's due to the appreciation for what we do. Our roles are always evolving, and thus we are always learning. That's what makes this department great. No two days are ever the same.

Connect With Us

Contact Us

res.life@reed.edu
503/777-7536
Fax: 503/517-7691
Office: 28 West,
5436 SE 28th Ave.