About the Office of Residence Life

Mission of the Office of Residence Life

The Office of Residence Life collaborates with other offices to facilitate students' successful adjustment to and transitions through their collegiate experience. We work to provide a safe and supportive environment promoting academic success, personal development, involvement in campus life, and understanding of intercultural issues. We support the University's commitment to build citizen leaders for the future.

Vision of the Office of Residence Life

To provide Miami University students with a superior residential experience that leads to their academic, social, developmental and occupational success in a dynamic and ever-changing world.

ORL Departmental Values

About Our Values

Milton Rokeach, in The Nature of Human Values, provides the following definition of the word value: “an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposition or converse mode or end-state of existence.” His definition includes the word enduring, signaling that values are long lasting and not temporary. Values are chosen and guide our professional behavior and goals. Thus, the set of department values that the Office of Residence Life espouses must be ones that are enacted in our daily work lives, a task more easily written (or read) than done each day we work in our residence halls, commuter center, Heritage Commons apartments, and Warfield Hall. 

We should not be naïve that living organizational values is easy; it is not. Rather, it is hard work especially when individual or organizational behavior with which we are dealing is oppositional to the values we wish to model. It is also difficult when we don’t fully understand an organization’s values or ourselves, making the enactment of values a significant challenge. The challenge becomes even greater when the organization’s values conflict with one’s own personal values. Reconciling these differences often is needed before an employee fulfills his/her duties to the best of his/her ability.

The set of values, detailed below in alphabetical order, was created in August, 2004 by the professional staff working in the Office of Residence Life at that time. While it has been subject to clarification via language editing, most recently in July, 2010, this set has served us well as one of the foundations of our work. Therefore, the descriptors of each of these values are provided, in the context of our work in Residence Life at Miami University.

This set of values is but one of the foundations of our work in Residence Life, albeit an important one. Each does not stand alone; rather, they are intertwined among each other and the other foundations of our work. Questions or comments about this document can be directed to the Director of Residence Life. Rokeach, Milton.

The nature of human values. New York: The Free Press, 1973.

Celebration

It is the desire of the Office of Residence Life to create communities that are celebrative in nature, ones that recognize the achievements of our students and staff. We strive to accentuate the positive attributes our students and staff possess, focusing on strengths and accomplishments. We help plan ceremonies and celebrations that unite others and give students a sense of belonging to the communities in which they live. These affirmations occur publicly and privately, individually and collectively, and in formal and informal ways.

Diversity

The Office of Residence Life is committed to creating supportive and nurturing living and learning environments that recognize and celebrate each individual’s uniqueness, identities, values, and experiences which one brings to us upon their arrival to campus. Through diversity education and a climate of celebration and acceptance, we help students and staff discover human difference in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity expression, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, ideology, religion, and national origin. We also strive to help students understand the privileges they have, both earned and inherited, and how these privileges impact their lives and the lives of those around whom they live now and in the future.

Healthy Exploration

The Office of Residence Life encourages students to test their knowledge, to stretch themselves, and to engage with others in ways that may be foreign to their previous experience. However, this healthy exploration must exist in an atmosphere of positive self gain, without self-harm or harm to others. Examples of such exploration include engaging in undergraduate research, getting to know others different from themselves, taking courses that lead to a true liberal education, planning and attending co-curricular events and service activities, and so forth. A focus on healthy exploration leads to extraordinarily engaged students, equipping them to achieve uncommon success.

Integrity & Ethics

Using the ethical standards defined by our professional associations as well as the policies of Miami University, staff in the Office of Residence Life must act with integrity and honesty in our interactions with others. When faced with ethical dilemmas in the course of our work, we must not pretend they don’t exist. Rather, we seek the counsel of others (e.g. supervisor, colleague, mentor) to help provide alternatives/answers to help manage these dilemmas. Intentional acts that abridge this value cannot be tolerated. 

Meaningful Partnerships

The Office of Residence Life recognizes that we do not do this work in isolation. We work with a variety of partners in the education of our students. Most prominent in these partnerships is our students themselves. They are in charge of their lives; we are not. However, because of our expertise and experience, we engage our students in dialogue about their lives, and we invite others to do so with us: parents & family members, Living Learning Community stakeholders, faculty and staff on campus, and others within the Oxford and surrounding communities. We understand that willingly and eagerly collaborating with others to help shape the experience of our students leads to more enriching learning environments for all. We also understand that reaching out to others can be risky, particularly when our collaborators may not understand what it is we do. Thus, we have an obligation to our partners to also educate them and listen well to them too.

Respect, Compassion, and Peaceful Relationships

The Office of Residence Life wants to engage others with a desire to understand others’ points of view and respond appropriately. This does not mean we always agree with those points of view. Our value to respect others, have compassion for others, and act in peaceful ways should not be interpreted as an aversion to conflict. Rather, this value dictates the manner that guides our interactions with others and how conflict is resolved. We strive to be peacemakers. We know our students err as they live with us, and we want to be forgiving to the extent that we can, with our orientation to forgiveness tempered by the rights of others to live peaceful lives as well. We strive to not meet anger with anger and open our ears before our mouths. This may be the hardest value for us to live each day, given that we, too, are human and subject to human error just as others are.

Staff Development

Just as the education and development of our students is important, so, too, is the continuing education of all staff in the Office of Residence Life. Thus, staff development opportunities, some required and others optional, exist for staff members to increase their knowledge and skills. These opportunities focus on both interpersonal and intrapersonal growth. Staff members should be fundamentally better employees from the start of an academic year to the end of an academic year, and our focus on intentional staff development opportunities is one way to accomplish this growth. Furthermore, the department recognizes the experience of staff members and validates that experience through peer education opportunities, rehiring processes, and promotion when appropriate and permissible.

Student Learning

The staff of the Office of Residence Life believes that students can learn and change, continuing their growth into more learned citizen leaders. They can and should better understand themselves and others as well as their place in society. Students do not come to us with a set of views that are fully in place upon their arrival to college. Rather, through intentional learning opportunities in both curricular and co-curricular settings, students continue to develop as human beings, intellectually and interpersonally. It is incumbent, therefore, that we continue to learn about students and how we can strategically influence these changes.