Future of the Profession

A forward-looking initiative to design a stronger, healthier, and more sustainable campus housing profession.


The campus housing and residence life profession continues to evolve, as evidenced by groundbreaking facility designs, increased assessment, innovative student engagement opportunities, growing resident expectations, updated business models, and more. The ACUHO-I Core Curriculum, defined and refined by subject matter experts, lays out the knowledge and skills necessary for campus housing professionals to be best prepared to meet these growing expectations.

The ACUHO-I Core Curriculum includes 13 competency areas that guide educational offerings and knowledge resources. They also can also be used to plot individual professional development plans. The emerging ACUHO-I Core Curriculum develops these core competencies in three critical ways:

  1. It identifies knowledge, skills, and understandings that every housing and residence life professional should have about the total operation (e.g., a generalist knowledge), in addition to expertise in their individual specialized area of work.
  2. It assists individuals in identifying specific knowledge, skills, and understandings they should have and then builds upon it.
  3. It progresses with the professional by connecting the knowledge they should have to where they are in their career trajectory. These stages are categorized as direct service (entry-level), management (mid-level), and strategy and policy (senior-level). 

Expand Your Knowledge Base

Campus housing professionals do not need to master every aspect of the Core Curriculum. As you progress throughout your career, though, possessing a foundational knowledge of each competency–and how to apply them within a housing department–becomes increasingly valuable. Learn more about the following competencies and explore ways to strengthen your knowledge through ACUHO-I events and resources.

Ancillary Partnerships

Campus housing departments often engage in partnerships with private developers, specialized housing for fraternities and sororities, or others that must be managed strategically and successfully. In addition, housing will often partner with other campus departments, such as security, in managing the overall housing and residence life operation.

Conference Services

A number of campuses leverage their housing facilities during low student-use periods by using them for summer camps, institutes, and other short-term experiences. Exploring issues of sales, contracting, resource allocation and management, and service delivery of these experiences in on-campus facilities can enhance the overall housing operation.

Crisis Management

Risk is an inherent aspect of campus housing management, and staff must be prepared for both prevention and intervention techniques. Crisis management prepares staff to identify, manage, prevent, and follow up on incidents that affect on-campus residents and facilities. 

Dining Services

As housing services adapt to changing expectations, so do campus dining services. Focused on the operational aspects, this competency explores the role of dining services in achieving the mission of housing and residence life operations.

Equity and Inclusion

Understanding that campus communities are microcosms of society as a whole, residence life departments support efforts to enhance residents’ educational experiences, understand themselves and others as individuals, and value cultural groups of difference within the framework of social justice.


Campus housing and residence life professionals entrusted with significant responsibilities must embrace ethical principles governing behavior, decision-making, and matters of value and power.

Evaluation & Planning

Assessment is vital in understanding the effect campus housing can have on students, staff, and campus communities, as well as strategic planning for continued improvement. Such tools may include assessment of programs and services as well as student outcomes. Benchmarking and external standards can also generate a new understanding of programs and services. In addition, utilizing outcomes of a high-level study of an issue allows professionals to ground decisions, programs, and policies on tested models and beliefs. 

Facilities Management

Creating, maintaining, renovating, and managing a housing department’s core facility infrastructure is essential for successful housing and residence life operations. This wide-ranging competency includes the knowledge and skills for strategic master planning and building capital projects, as well as the assessment and maintenance of existing facilities. It also includes sustainability initiatives and functions related to inventory control and materials handling. 

Fiscal Resources & Control

Overseeing substantial revenue and expenditures, housing and residence life operations require effective fiscal management. Managing those fiscal resources often begins with smaller and simpler budgets but can quickly escalate to deep and wide fiscal policy at more advanced career levels. These require an understanding of budget development, accounting practices, and policies for purchasing, contracting, and outsourcing.


Regardless of their role within a campus housing and residence life department, the professional ultimately serves the philosophical underpinnings of student affairs and should reflect them in their practice. 

Human Resources

How individual staff time is allocated and the quality of that work has an unparalleled impact on a campus housing department. Focusing on the initial recruitment and selection of staff, providing orientation, education, and training, and completing comprehensive supervision and performance appraisal is critical to deploying a strong and effective staff.

Information Technology

Explores the rapidly changing role of technology in storing, retrieving, transmitting, and manipulating data and information within the context of campus housing operations. Specific skills within information technology include security, network and systems administration, computer support, and application selection.


Leadership development includes a broad category of skills, knowledge, and competencies that are developed throughout the career trajectory. A significant part of leadership is designing and implementing a continued professional development plan.


In an increasingly consumer-centric market, professionals must successfully plan, craft, and deploy messages about the value of campus housing and ways to become further engaged in campus communities. Marketing skills include the thoughtful planning and design of messages, and their strategic delivery through print, online, and other appropriate venues to the intended stakeholder.

Occupancy Management

Occupancy management is the fiscal keystone of any housing operation. Maximizing space allocations in campus residential communities strengthens the housing and residence life operation. Occupancy management involves the strategic and practical aspects of space utilization, including contracts and lease agreements, room assignments, and forecasting short- and long-term housing trends.

Resident Educational Services

Addressing those aspects of residential life that promote personal growth, community building, and student advising, this competency is grounded in student development research, theories, and models exploring how college students grow and develop. It includes academic initiatives that integrate the academic experiences of students with their on-campus residential experiences, including the broad scope of residential academic support, living-learning programs, residential colleges, residential curriculum tutoring, peer mentoring programs, and other initiatives. In addition, it includes programs and services to train, supervise, and advance the role of undergraduate student leaders who serve as live-in resident assistants.

Student Behavior

To address potential inappropriate behavior, campus housing departments must establish and uphold conduct policies consistent with existing laws and administer them ethically and equitably. In addition, they must educate students on conflict resolution strategies and, when necessary, mediate those processes. 

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