Pre-College Residence Director

“My summer at RISD taught me about the amazing variety of ResLife; from peculiar duty calls to truly creative programming, I will always be grateful for the “other duties as assigned” piece of this role. As a RISD Pre-College RD, I honed my skills as a crisis manager, practiced supervising a unique staff of RAs, and learned about the dynamic culture of critique that defines a fine arts institution. Education at RISD means learning through experience, and the Pre-College program gave me ample opportunity to refine the skills needed for my first full-time position after graduate school.”

– Bill Ollayos, Pre-College Residence Director ’15

Rhode Island School of Design, the leading art and design school in the world, and the Residence Life Office seek ambitious and emergent talents in the Student Affairs field upon which to build our 2019 RISD Pre-College team! The successful candidate will be enthusiastic, flexible, passionate about student care and social justice, a positive team member, and have a thirst to learn and try new things. 

RISD and Providence, RI are unique places and we want to share our love for this community with you as you research summer internships. Throughout this page you will find more information about RISD, Pre-College, the RD position, Providence, and alum you may contact to ask about their experience in the RD internship role. 

About Rhode Island School of Design

The RISD campus runs along the water in downtown Providence, RI.

Rhode Island School of Design is a private, nonprofit college founded in Providence, RI in 1877—making it one of the first art and design schools in the US. Approximately 2,480 students from around the world are engaged in liberal arts studies and rigorous, studio-based learning at RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”), where they choose from 19 studio majors and earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the fine arts, architecture, design or art education. Each year more than 5,800 children and adults also access our specialized studio facilities through RISD|CE courses.

About Pre-College @ RISD

The RISD Pre-College curriculum is based on experimentation and hands out experience.

Founded in 1877, Rhode Island School of Design (or “RIZ-dee” for the acronym RISD) is one of the oldest and best-known colleges of art and design in the country. RISD Pre-College offers rising high school juniors and seniors the chance to experience life as a RISD undergrad.

For six weeks students follow a college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, critiques and final projects. They work alongside hundreds of other creative, highly motivated students from around the world who will challenge, inspire and encourage you to push your limits and produce your best work. Students live like a RISD student, access renowned resources and instructors, strengthen their portfolio and forever change the way they approach art and design.

One of the hallmarks of a RISD undergraduate education is first year Experimental + Foundation Studies designed to push students to take risks, test theories, challenge ideas and refine work to go beyond your initial ideas and find the best solution. That’s why the RISD Pre-College curriculum also places a strong emphasis on foundation work: it is as crucial for their development as their major. In a typical week, students balance two, seven-hour days of Foundation Studies with two full days of Major work and a half-day of Critical Studies in Art, with an hour each day reserved for lunch. Evenings and weekends are reserved for homework, trips, and activities.

Click here to learn more.

“As an ACUHO-I intern at RISD, I had the opportunity to work with one of the coolest and most unique student populations I have worked with throughout my career in Residence Life, while gaining valuable administrative, collaboration, and crisis management skills that helped me to be successful in my current position. The staff team at RISD is tight knit and open to engaging with you.  At RISD, it didn’t feel like I was “just an intern”, I felt like an important part of the staff ,which was awesome. I was able to meet a variety of campus partners, and work on outside projects (such as working with the gender inclusive housing process). All in all, I would highly recommend RISD; I had an amazing and highly educational summer there.”

– Kassie Kurzhals, Pre-College Residence Director ’16

A Day in the Life: Residence Director

2015 Pre-College Move In Day

No day is the same as the last as a Residence Director. Working with the Pre-College program, RDs are guaranteed to have ample experience problem solving and working with various situations. A day may involve:

– 1:1s with your RAs
– Adjudicating a conduct case
– Plan and implement a staff meeting
– Talking with a parent on how to best support their student in the program
– Planning and implementing a social or educational program 
– Checking in on a student who isn’t adjusting well, or is having a difficult time
– Walking through the Residence Halls to say hello to residents
– Collaborating with fellow interns to prepare a presentation to the Residence Life team
– Meeting with another department to explore interest in other functional area
– Responding to a student crisis after hours
– Grab coffee with a student staff member

As RDs quickly discover, our students are highly intelligent, driven, and social justice-minded individuals. Through close supervision, RDs are able to engage in deep and meaningful conversations with student staff and residents around social justice and equity, activism, their practice, educational goals, and community values. These conversations will occur in both formal and informal settings and will inform much of your day-to-day experiences. 

Exploring Providence & Rhode Island

One of the many benefits of working at RISD is getting to spend the summer in beautiful Providence and Rhode Island! Rhode Island truly comes alive in the summer and is prime for weekend adventures and evening strolls. Being the smallest state, nothing is more than an hour away!

Well Known Locations & Events:

Waterfire: This is what Providence is known for! A bi-weekly festival at night along the river, where bonfires are lit down the middle of the river. Food, art, and performances are features for every waterfire.

Newport: A short 45 minutes bus ride, drive, or water ferry away. Explore Newport’s famous mansions, vibrant downtown, and numerous beaches.

Beaches: Rhode Island features abundant beaches prime for swimming, relaxing, and/or surfing. From Newport to Narragansett, there’s a beach for everyone. RISD also provides access to a private beach owned by the institution.

Farmers Markets: Throughout the summer, Providence has a variety of farmers markets within walking distance of RISD. 

Food: Providence is widely known as one of the top cities for food in the country. With the renowned Johnson and Wales culinary school, Providence is home to a wide variety of delicious restaurants. Explore Federal Hill, downtown, and College Hill, as well as our numerous specialty donut and coffee shops.

Providence Performing Arts Center: Catch a Broadway show, symphony, or special concert in the beautiful PPAC building. 

Boston: Want a taste of a bigger city and all it has to offer? Boston is an hour train ride or drive away! The Providence train station is a 5 minute walk from the RISD campus.

Making Connections to Academics

The RD position at RISD is meant to complement and enhance one’s master’s level academic experience. While the majority of interns are enrolled in College Student Personnel and Student Affairs master’s programs, we also make connections between the experience and any other academic program that our interns may be enrolled in. 

Through close supervision and planning with the Area Coordinator and Associate Director for Residential Education, RDs will be challenged to make connections between coursework and experience, chart out summer opportunities to develop professionally, and connect with other student affairs interns across the college. 

We work closely with summer RDs seeking coursework credit. We encourage RDs seeking coursework credit for their internship to connect early with their supervisor to make an achievement plan. 

RDS with student staff from RISD Pre College Artist Ball 2014

RDs will have ample opportunities to work towards developing the ACPA/NASPA Competencies. We highly encourage RDs to identify specific competencies they wish to develop over the course of the program.

Alum of RISD Pre College Residence Director Program

My experience in this program not only helped me to diversify my resume, but it also contributed to my confidence and leadership skills.  I am grateful for the autonomy and encouragement provided to me by my supervisors because this allowed me to create procedures and systems to help the Pre-College Program run more smoothly. In addition, the opportunity fueled my passion to embrace obstacles and to find solutions to challenging issues. RISD’s administration, student staff, and community were absolutely amazing and they have become part of my extended family. The RISD Pre-College students and student staff members were the most talented and amazing students I have ever met. This opportunity was an experience that I will never forget. 

– Charminta Brown, Pre-College Residence Director ’14

Below are names and contact information for alum of the program. Perspective applicants are welcomed to reach out to any of them to ask questions about the program, their experience, and see if this would be a good fit for them.

  • Elijah Amelse ’17, Hall Director at Concordia College,
  • Bill Ollayos ’15, Area Coordinator, Wesleyan University,
  • Charminta Brown ’14, Manager Academic Support Services, Florida International University,
  • Ashley Montague ’12, Assistant Director of CE Student Experience, RISD,
  • Kassie Kurzhals ’16, Residence Hall Director, The Ohio State University,
  • Britt Locklin ’17, Resident Director, RISD,
  • Maverick Cumming ’15, Residential Coordinator, St. Lawrence University,
  • Grace Stover ’15, Area Director, Endicott College,

Contact Us

We are more than willing to answer any questions perspective candidates may have. Please contact:

Daniel Murphy, Associate Director for Residential Education

Alex Bryan, Area Coordinator for Pre-College

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