“Make it more fun”: Residence life employees' insights on hosting and advertising outreach programs for undergraduate students


  • Kristen Shuyler James Madison University




programming, residence life, cognitive work analysis, academic libraries, student affairs


What can library workers learn about student-centered programming and outreach from student employees who design, advertise, and lead programs for college students as part of their employment in a student housing or residence life department? This study draws on cognitive work analysis to understand how employees of the Office of Residence Life (ORL) at a public research university host outreach programs for students. Fourteen interviews were conducted and analyzed to ascertain the definition and purpose of RA-led programming, challenges in this work, and strategies for overcoming challenges. Findings indicate that as these student employees do their programming work, they build community while meeting ORL’s requirements, assess students’ needs, design relevant or fun programs, and advertise programs in multiple ways. This study offers recommendations for program planners in libraries and extends the literature on co-curricular programming, offering detail from student employees’ perspectives.