This year, Ohio State has seen some turnover within the hall director community, but from the university’s perspective, it’s nothing out of the ordinary.
University residence halls Park-Stradley Hall, Jones Tower, Canfield Hall, Nosker and Barrett House and Blackburn House have received new hall directors since the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year. This turnover rate is a bit higher but not abnormal from what the university experiences each year, Dave Isaacs, university spokesperson, said in an email.
The hall director position is attractive to many early on in their professional careers because of the opportunities and skills it provides, Isaacs said. Hall directors take part in many aspects of student life and affairs that prepare them as good candidates for positions in other departments.
Alex Smith, Park-Stradley hall director, said hall directors have a wide range of responsibilities, such as programming, out-of-classroom education, supervision of the resident advisers, crisis response, committee attendance and manning the front desk.
Isaacs said that on average, hall directors typically keep the position for two to three years. Ohio State has about 50 hall directors and assistant hall directors, with one to two hall directors assigned to each residence hall.
“As a hall director professionally develops, then they naturally move on to higher positions, maybe in house or residence life or maybe in an entirely different field,” he said.
Isaacs said the recent increase in turnover has to do with specific hall directors and the opportunities available to them, such as positions within the university’s student conduct, advising and student life departments.
Smith has been the Park-Stradley hall director for more than two years and said the timing of the job openings is different, but the number of losses does not stray from what the university typically experiences.
“Some people only want to do two years because it can be quite emotionally taxing. It could be a hard job sometimes. Or some people just really want certain opportunities that are out there and so they’ll apply when they come up,” he said.
Ohio State does not require hall directors to stay for a certain period of time, and there is no single residence hall that undergoes this change more than others, Isaacs said.
After a hall director leaves, depending on the number of hall directors assigned to the building, an interim hall director is put in place, Smith said. If there are two hall directors or an assistant hall director, others will have to carry more responsibility until the university decides to hire or finds a new hall director.
To meet the university’s standards, Isaacs said hall directors must be earning a master’s or doctorate degree from a higher education and student affairs program.
Smith said that in the process of getting their degree, hall directors typically get classroom or practical experience working with students, contributing to a range of skills they may later use in higher positions.
“I get to work with students on a whole lot of different levels that I would really miss if and when I’m ready to move on,” he said.