The Residential Life Service within the university-managed and leased halls at the University of Manchester has gone through exciting times.
Following a restructure, the service has moved away from the traditional part-time honorarium-based roles, in which people undertook secondary roles at the middle-management level, to a full-time staffing structure.
Manchester had introduced the Residential Life model in 2016 by adding three new full-time roles of Senior ResLife Coordinators into the previous pastoral care structure to support the full-time Residential Life Manager. Due to the success of these, further changes to the service were considered, consulted on and then implemented – including the addition of 10 full-time Residential Life Coordinators – as the value of having full-time dedicated staff within ResLife was recognised.
The new roles have been created to enable the Manchester Residential Life model to be enhanced and moved forward to allow for a greater focus on proactive residential living and welfare support in residences. There will be an increased focus on the delivery of strong learning and social communities. In addition to providing dedicated reactive welfare support, a key part of the work will involve working to develop the Manchester ResLife Programme of proactive events to enhance the university’s Six Ways to Wellbeing. The new full-time staff will also be able to work closely with other support services within the university to help to deliver this.
A Graduate Talent Intern has also been recruited to the structure. They will be working to improve communications about the programme with residents through social media and reviewing the Accommodation and ResLife web presence.
There will be an increased focus on the delivery of strong learning and social communities
ResLife Advisors who deliver the service on the ground are still largely postgraduate students at Manchester.
This is the next area that is being considered for changes and the senior team is currently gathering evidence from colleagues in other HEIs, through student and staff focus groups to inform potential changes to this area of service delivery.
Ideas include utilising second- and third-year undergraduates to deliver engagement activities alongside postgraduates and staff who support the reactive work.
ResLife Manager Brendon Jones says, “This is a really exciting time to be working in ResLife within the HE sector. These changes at the University of Manchester are a huge investment in the ResLife Service that we provide to our students living in our halls. The changes will help us to adopt a more holistic approach to delivering both reactive welfare support and pro-active events to support student wellbeing. The ResLife brand colour is green and it was fantastic to see a sea of green across the halls over Arrivals & Welcome Week as the team worked to deliver the best possible student residential experience.”
If you would like to find out more about the changes in Manchester, please contact Brendon Jones at: [email protected]