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Director, Student Development and Residence Life

Department: Housing and Residences Effective Date: August, 2011

USG 13

35 hr/wk

Reports to: Director of Housing & Residences

General Accountability

The Director, Student Development and Residence Life is accountable to the University Housing Officer for developing and managing strategies in all facets of Residential Life within uWaterloo Housing and Residences. This includes strategic development and implementation of all programs and services directly impacting student life in the areas of residence life, living learning programs and front desk student service.

Nature and Scope

Also reporting to the University Housing Officer are the Director, Organizational Services, Director and the Director, Admissions and Marketing.

The Director, Student Development and Residence Life works collaboratively with the senior management team on issues that affect the Department. These include, but are not limited to, strategic direction, financial planning and resource allocation, marketing strategies, Departmental policies and procedures, staff development, information systems, evaluation of existing facilities and services, growth opportunities and the evaluation, rationalization, and provision of new residence accommodation.

Reporting to the Director, Student Development and Residence Life are the Manager, Residence Life, the Manager, Living-Learning Programs, and the Manager, Desk Services.


The Director oversees strategic development of an integrated implementation of services related to student development and student services for over 5,000 residence students. Students living in residence vary greatly in terms of age, maturity and student type. Housing and Residences provide accommodation for first-year undergraduate students, senior undergraduate students, exchange and international students, graduate students, and families. The diverse clientele necessitates a clear and thoughtful approach to maximize service and learning opportunities to all groups.


This necessitates using current research and best practices in undergraduate education, living-learning communities, and adult learning principles as a foundation. The goal is to create an intentional Residence Life program that fosters student learning and engagement in opportunities that support academic success and learning outside the classroom. As such, the Director must be knowledgeable about current and prospective students, as well as apply student development theory for the purpose of building a residence community that is based on mutual respect and the ability to educate. Partnerships with all Faculties, the Graduate Studies Office, the Student Success Office, Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment, Counselling Services, Police Services, and Health Services, among others, are crucial to successfully providing education, support and resources to students.


Residence Life must ensure the overall well-being of all students by proactively creating supports and mentors through a residence life system of Dons, learning communities and academic peer mentoring, as well as in-facility customer service through Desk Services. The development of an integrated student educational program through these different areas of responsibility is a significant component of this position.

The Director’s area is responsible for using effective training methods and communication tools for approximately 28 full-time and 200 student staff each term to deliver the integrated education, support and resources to students.

Statistical Data

The Department of Housing and Residences is an ancillary operation which must maintain its fiscal viability by remaining competitive and effectively marketing its services. The Director, Student Development and Residence Life is responsible for an expense budget of just under $2 million broken down as follows:


Specific Accountabilities


Working Conditions

Much of the time is spent sitting in a comfortable position with frequent opportunity to move about. Located in a comfortable indoor area. There is a frequent need to give close attention to various stimuli such as written material and information given verbally to co-workers. The work is varied.  There are deadline pressures, while at the same time there is a demand for thoroughness and accuracy. Evening, weekend, and on-call responsibilities require flexible hours.