Op-Ed: Armstrong Housing Faces Leadership Problem

Op-Ed: Armstrong Housing Faces Leadership Problem

The Armstrong Campus’s Housing team has no local leadership and is severely understaffed. This affects the daily lives of students living on-campus.

Georgia Southern’s Armstrong Campus has fewer students than the Statesboro Campus, and at times it feels like it has fewer resources. To shed light on potentially underserved aspects of the Armstrong community, the George-Anne Inkwell has investigated the Housing Department and its relationship with the Armstrong Campus.

The Inkwell sent various questions to the Housing Department that covered a wide range of topics. One topic was regarding the challenges the department faces daily.

“First, as with many employers currently, recruiting more individuals, who are passionate about serving our students that can help us expand our already dedicated and hardworking staff is a constant challenge. We are in the process of actively hiring a new campus housing leader at the Armstrong Campus and rounding out the supporting professional staff for the campus.”

Indeed, the Armstrong Campus seems to have a significant staffing issue, especially at the upper level. According to the Housing Department’s directory page, only 3 out of the nine listed positions are listed as filled. Currently vacant or “TBD” Armstrong positions include Director of Resident Life, Assistant Director of Resident Life, 2 Resident Director positions, Graduate Assistant for Student Care & Concern, and Coordinator of Office Services.

The Armstrong Housing Department has more vacancies than the other Georgia Southern Housing Departments combined. The Statesboro Campus currently has only three vacant positions out of the 18 they list on their directory. 2 out of 10 positions in the Central Office directory are vacant.

For anyone keeping score, the Armstrong Housing Department is 33% staffed. The rest of the Housing Department is 82% staffed.

Another concerning aspect of the staffing issue is the lack of local leadership. Jerrod Robinson, Windward Commons’ RD, is the highest-ranking housing official that works exclusively on the Armstrong Campus. With the Director of Resident Life position remaining vacant, the chain of command goes from Robinson to Statesboro.

Even the most dedicated and well-meaning staff leader will struggle to manage a property they do not see daily. Armstrong housing needs a leader that sees what goes on day-to-day.

This would help prevent problems such as the ones staff-writer Terrell Jackson experienced when dealing with a potentially traumatic series of events and significantly decrease the time it takes to solve these issues. Within the context of a busy semester, every second counts.

While the department recognizes this issue and says they are working to address it, it’s not clear how they are doing so. The OneUSG career portal currently lists no available openings for Armstrong housing, although these positions may have been closed, and the school is currently reviewing applications.

In the meantime, students have few professional resources available other than their RA, their RD, or an off-campus staff member. Until the Armstrong staff is filled, on-campus residents are stuck with what they have.

For more information on housing on the Armstrong Campus, visit the Housing Department’s website or call them at (912) 478-5406.