The University of Delaware Office of Residence Life hosted its annual mid-year training for resident assistants on Jan. 26, with Gary Weaver of American University a guest speaker.

Mid-year training

Residence Life hosts professional development focused on RA training

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8:38 a.m., Feb. 4, 2013--The University of Delaware Office of Residence Life hosted its annual mid-year training for resident assistants (RAs) on Jan. 26.

Ongoing training and development for UD’s resident adviser staff is focused on skill building to enhance their capacity to assist students and develop skills that will help them in their future paths.

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The morning began with a presentation by Gary Weaver, who has been a member of the faculty of the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C., for more than 40 years. He he engaged the audience of 160 resident assistants around the topic of cross-cultural communication and strategies to succeed in a global workforce.

His three-hour workshop included key strategies for RAs to successfully work in a wide variety of cross-cultural communication situations and methods to help international students at UD with their adjustment process. 

The workshop was followed by a presentation by representatives from UD’s Career Services Center -- Jenifer Laird, Robin Marks and Jill Pante -- who volunteered their time on a Saturday afternoon to host a business etiquette lunch for almost 200 participants.

Throughout the session, participants were asked to set their places and learned how to engage in conversation while eating and appropriate table manners to impress future employers.

According to Hannah Lightcap, resident assistant in the Dickinson Complex, the etiquette lunch “was challenging and also helped me gain more understanding of how to eat in the midst of potential employers.”

After lunch, participants attended hour-long conference style presentations that they were able to pre-select based on vocational interest.

In addition to a résumé and 30-second commercial for personal promotion workshops presented by the Career Services Center, UD’s Mary Martin, assistant provost for graduate and professional education, hosted an overwhelmingly popular informational session about applying to graduate school.

Participants could also choose to attend informational sessions about Teach for America and AmeriCorps with representatives from each organization.

Sarah Swanson, an RA in the Christiana Towers Complex, commented that “mid-year training inspired me to create my five-year plan,” adding, “The Teach for America Workshop was really beneficial and it sparked ideas for me for next year and into the future.”

Remaining sessions offered by representatives from the Office of Residence Life included “Creating your Personal Brand,” “Discovering the YOU in Networking” and “The Career Map,” sessions devoted to future exploration and skill building for life after UD.

“I was challenged in ways I never thought possible,” commented Lightcap. “Today I was asked to meet people I did not know, talk to them as if they were a potential employer, and make a connection with a one line introduction during the networking session. I also confronted the next step of my life, graduate school. I was educated about the process and fears of graduate school as well as ways to approach the thought of applying straight from graduation … Today was definitely an introspective day for myself and many others.”

Article by Christina King and Katie Pifer

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