Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Brent S. Mallinckrodt

Committee Members

Sean L. Spurgeon, Dawn M. Szymanski, Joe Miles

Abstract

Residence Life “Resident Advisors/Assistants” (RAs) are an essential component of student affairs staff on many college campuses. They live in residence halls and share important responsibility for the emotional health, physical safety, and student development of the undergraduates living in their residence hall. Because they provide such an important function, RAs often receive extensive training, however, the emphasis on multicultural training varies from university to university. Surprisingly, there is little research to show whether the training makes a difference. This study utilizes the 29-item Brief Everyday Multicultural Competencies Scale (BEMCS) as a tool for measuring the effects of multicultural programming of a week-long Summer Training program for University of Tennessee RAs. This study also explores how Big Five personality factors interact with training to influence training outcomes. Findings suggest that the RA selection process already in place tends to attract trainees with higher everyday multicultural competencies than typical first year UT students. Also, applicants with the Five Factor traits of Openness, Agreeableness, and Extraversion may become the most successful RAs. Those with Neurotic tendencies may be at risk for not succeeding. Students of color, women, and especially women of color seem to have the highest levels of everyday multicultural competency, and therefore may become the most effective RAs. Additionally, more time and intentionality needs to be placed on multicultural education of RAs.

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