2020-2021 A/RCA Applications Open

Wednesday, Nov 6, 2019
by Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students

The Residential College Advisers (RCAs) and the Assistant Residential College Advisers (ARCAs) play an integral role in fostering a safe, inclusive, and engaging community for all residential college students by fostering community, encouraging holistic personal development, and promoting safety, citizenship, and health and wellness to build an inclusive environment. Each residential college adviser group (core group) is supervised by their Director of Student Life (DSL). The RCAs work closely with a group of first-year advisees (zees) to help them transition to life as Princeton students. Many RCAs, and all ARCAs (collectively, A/RCAs), are also assigned sophomore advisees and (in the four-year residential colleges they may also be assigned upper-class students). Advisers help students develop responsible personal, academic, and social decision-making skills, while encouraging reflection on the impact their decisions have on the community. A/RCAs are expected to foster relationships between and among their advisees, so that students feel comfortable reaching out to all A/RCAs for guidance and support. Some of the most common topics A/RCAs encounter include students’ health and wellness concerns, struggles in transitioning to the demands of academic work, alcohol and other drug use, and roommate conflicts. 

Undergraduates Holding Gonfalon Banners in front of Nassau Hall

The RCA and ARCA employ a familiarity and understanding with campus resources to serve as a vital communications link between campus offices and organizations and the members of their advisee group.  While RCAs are immediately responsible for students in their assigned areas, advisers work as a team to support all students in the college.  Additionally, RCAs and ARCAs act as liaisons to their residential college offices, referring zees directly to the Director of Student Life, Director of Studies, and Dean as needed.  Students interested in applying must attend one of the listed information sessions (please attend based on availability, as there is no relationship between the info session attended and employment eligibility for a specific Residential College). A detailed job description follows the break.

2019 RCA Info Session Poster (updated)

Community Development

  • Advisers are responsible for fostering community, encouraging holistic personal development, and promoting safety, citizenship, and health and wellness to build an inclusive environment.
  • Advisers mentor a group of advisees to help them transition to life at Princeton or to welcome folks back to campus. Advisors building community in their area by hosting activities and through informal interactions with each of their advisees.
  • Advisers must reside in the college and eat at least seven meals a week with their advisees in the college dining hall with the stated purpose of building community and relationships.
  • Advisers are expected to get to know each of their advisees personally, by meeting with each of them on a one-on-one basis at the beginning of the fall semester and again at the beginning of the spring semester.
  • To develop personal connections and to foster a sense of community, advisers will host weekly study breaks with their advisees.
  • Many RCAs and all ARCAs are assigned sophomore advisees and, in the four-year residential colleges, are also assigned upperclass students.
  • The A/RCAs collaborate with their Director of Student Life, Resident Graduate Students (RGSs), and Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs) to throw weekly study breaks and to build a campus culture that enhances and enriches the experience of all Princeton students.
  • Advisers support the College Council with their programmatic initiatives.
  • Mediate difficult conversations among students and/or roommates.
  • Through advising and programming efforts, advisers ensure the community’s awareness of and sensitivity toward all of its members.
  • Advisers are expected to be familiar with campus resources (academic, religious, social, or health-related).
  • Advisers are expected to promote and foster an appreciation of difference in the residential college.

Advising and Resource Referral

  • As advisers, A/RCAs are private (but not confidential) resources for their advisees.  A/RCAs cannot promise complete confidentiality to advisees because they are required to report information they may receive about potential Title IX violations to their DSLs.  When the DSLs share information about advisees (e.g. housing information) with the A/RCAs, such information needs to be confidential and the A/RCAs may not share those with anyone without the DSLs’ approval.
  • RCAS are expected to meet one-on-one with each of their first-year advisees by the end of the second week of the fall semester.  This will provide them the opportunity to get to know their advisees and also reiterate their role within the community.
  • A/RCAs are also encouraged to hold one-on-one meetings with their sophomore and upperclass advisees if time permits.
  • When conflicts arise within the 'zee group, the A/RCA is expected to serve as a mediator in resolving the conflicts.
  • In order to adequately serve as a campus resources to their advisees, A/RCAs are expected to become familiar with University resources and refer their advisees to the appropriate resource when the needs arise.
  • A/RCAs will work closely with Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs) and Resident Graduate Students (RGS’s), who will be two other resources that are immediately available to advisees.
  • Other resources that the A/RCAs should become familiar with for the purposes for supporting their advisees include (but are not limited to): the residential college staff, Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS)  staff and other Campus Life Resources like the Office of Disability Services (ODS), Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), University Health Services (UHS), Career Services, Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE), Carl A. Fields Center, LGBT Center, Women’s Center, Pace Center for Civic Engagement, McGraw Center, Office of Religious Life, etc.

Community Safety & Duty Responsibilities  

  • One A/RCA is on call in each college every night during Orientation and every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during the school year from 8:00 pm until 8:00 am the following morning (with the exception of fall break, Thanksgiving break, winter break, intersession, and spring break).
  • A/RCAs will also be on call on certain other days or evenings, such as Lawn Parties, as set forth by the DSL.
  • All A/RCAs must participate in the on-call rotation.
  • The on-call A/RCA must remain in the college the entire time they are on call. The second A/RCA is required to be in the college only while 'walking the college' with the on-call A/RCA.
  • By noon the following day (four hours after the end of each on-call 12-hour period), the on-call A/RCA must fill out the on-call log.
  • Advisers are mandated reporters when they learn of situations involving interpersonal violence (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, and stalking). Advisers must be responsible for knowing confidential campus resources as a way to support students.
  • Advisers have a responsibility to report any incident of harassment, bias, or discrimination to their DSL.
  • All advisers are expected to support and promote all policies, procedures, and programs initiated by the Office for the Dean of Undergraduate Students and the residential colleges as well as policies specifically related to the adviser position, especially the Alcohol Policy.
  • Address violations of University policy when such violations are observed, contacting Public Safety, Maintenance, and/or their DSLs when necessary, and documenting each of their on-call shifts in a timely manner through the on-call logs.
  • Uphold policies and model good decision-making and community living as peer leaders.
  • Obey all federal, state, and local laws, the Princeton University- Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, and all Department of Housing and Residence Life policies.
  • Serve as a role model and demonstrate responsible and mature behavior in social and academic settings.

Personal Development  

  • All A/RCAs must attend Fall and Spring trainings.
  • All A/RCAs must participate in ongoing developmental opportunities through a series of in-service trainings.
  • Participation in weekly Core Group meetings.
  • Be open to feedback via supervisory meetings, formal evaluations, and the progressive discipline process.
  • Regular check-ins with DSLs.

Administrative Responsibilities

  • A/RCAs are expected to prioritize the position as their primary non-academic commitment.
  • Assistant Residential College Advisers (ARCAs) must be willing and able to fill an appointment as a Residential College Adviser (RCA), should an opening become available.
  • Checks and responds to email and other communications from the DSL (and other college staff) promptly.
  • Prompt, present and engaged at all core group meetings.
  • Prompt and present at one-on-one meetings with their supervisor, the DSL.
  • Manages and tracks budget and submits monthly Concur reports on time.
  • Distributes program and community standards information to residents as directed by DSL.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Departmental Responsibilities

  • All A/RCAs are expected to be on campus during fall and spring reading periods.
  • All A/RCAs are expected to promote First Year Residential Experience (FYRE) programs, which may require facilitating debrief discussions, bringing advisees to FYRE programs, and working with other peer leaders to coordinate the programs.

Required Availability

  • Blackboard mini course for New Advisers – Newly selected RCAs and ARCAs who will serve in 2020-21 will be expected to complete online training sessions in the summer of 2019. Each of the sessions focus on core advising skills.
  • Spring Kickoff – During Reading Period, each college will hold its own individual, college-specific session on one afternoon or evening.  The specific day and time will be announced by the Director of Student Life (DSL) well in advance. On Wednesday, May 6, 2019 noon to 5pm , we will hold a university-wide mandatory kick-off session. All advisers are required to be present. All A/RCAs must plan your academic work so that they are able to give their full attention to spring training. 
  • Fall Check-In –All A/RCAs must plan to move into their room on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 by 5pm.
  • Fall Training – Mandatory training for all advisers will commence before Freshman Orientation begins.  All advisers must be back on campus by Tuesday, August 18, 2020 to begin training
  • Orientation – All A/RCAs are expected to be available during the entire period of fall training and Orientation, which goes through Thursday, September 3rd, 2020, in order to support the incoming students in whatever ways your DSL and other college staff members direct.
  • Wintersession – All A/RCAs are expected to be on campus throughout wintersession from 1/11/2021 to 1/24/2021 
  • Additional Trainings During the Year - RCA training is ongoing during the course of the academic year. RCAs are required to attend weekly core group meetings within the college under the direction of the DSL.  There will also be a selection of university-wide in-service training sessions from which RCAs may choose.
  • End of year RCA Celebration – All A/RCAs must attend this event in May 2021.