Title page for ETD etd-06242002-225038

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bell, Erin Elizabeth
URN etd-06242002-225038
Title Resident Assistant Motivations to Seek The Position: A Comparison Between Generations X and Y
Degree Master of Arts
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Janosik, Steven M. Committee Chair
Creamer, Donald G. Committee Member
Spencer, Edward F. D. Committee Member
  • Generation X
  • Residence Life
  • Generation Y
  • Higher Education
  • Student Affairs
  • Motivation
  • Resident Assistant/Advisor
Date of Defense 2002-06-21
Availability unrestricted
College administrators have been in the business of employing students as RAs or an equivalent position for many years. Over those many years, the students and the type of students hired for this position changed. Once again, it is time for a generational change. Gen Y students are currently entering at least their second year of college and are now eligible to apply for RA positions.

The present study operated on the assumption that student motivations to seek the RA position may have changed over time as new generations of students have entered higher education. The perceived benefits of student employments in positions such as the RA position may shift with the change in the characteristics, needs, motivations, and desires of the students to seek employment. Researching employment motivations periodically to gauge shifts in reasons for seeking employment in the RA position may be helpful.

The present study has significance for both future practice and future research in student affairs. In terms of future practice, three constituencies might be interested in the results of the study: Residence Life practitioners (RLPs), RAs, and student affairs practitioners.

In the current study, there were several significant findings. First, Gen Y students sought the RA position for the following reasons (by order of importance), Helping Behaviors, Career Development, Financial Obligations, RA Cohesiveness, Personal Growth, and Desire for Power. Second, Gen Y females reported Helping Behaviors as an important reason for seeking the RA position significantly more often than did their male counterparts. Third, the research found no statistically significant differences in the reasons majority and minority Gen Y students sought the RA position. Finally, statistically significant differences were found when the reasons Gen X and Gen Y students sought the RA position were examined. Although the study examined only a limited number of Gen Y students, the results indicate that Residence Life professionals and RA staff selections teams may want to reconsider the way in which RA applicants are recruited.

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