General Statement of Duties:

The Multicultural Advisor at Central Michigan University is an upper-class student who lives in the residence hall and serves as a primary resource for information and assistance on a building-wide basis, fostering student learning and growth.  The Multicultural Advisor position was developed foremost to be a source of support for students of color and other minority orientations. The MA also serves as a catalyst for building a positive community and global awareness in the residence hall; assisting residents with both personal and academic concerns; helping residents connect with each other and CMU; being an educator by promoting and supporting intentional learning through our residential curriculum, Learning in Community; knowledge of and upholding University policy; and serving as a resource and/or liaison for the University.  Paraprofessional staff play an important role in helping Residence Life achieve our educational priority, so that as a result of living on campus, residents will become empowered citizens who responsibly impact their communities.

As students begin their University experience, the Multicultural Advisor can assist all students with their transition to University life and to help enrich their cultural development. The Multicultural Advisor and Resident Assistant work together to best meet the needs of students in their building.

Supervision Received:

The Multicultural Advisor is directly accountable to the Residence Hall Director and MA Advisor(s)  and indirectly to the Assistant, Associate and Director of Residence Life.

Minimum Qualifications and Additional Requirements:

1. Be at least sophomore status (26 credits)​ at the end of the semester in which the candidate applies (i.e. May for a fall position).

2. Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher at the time of application and during the period of employment.

3. Be available for employment for two semesters upon initial hire.

4. Not be on disciplinary probation at CMU or any other university. Applicants who are on disciplinary probation will be eligible for consideration if it has been more than one year since being placed on probation on the day applications are due.  During the period of employment, paraprofessional staff must not be in violation of any university policies or procedures.

5. All employment positions within the department of Residence Life are interrelated.  Consequently, disciplinary action received while employed in one Residence Life position may impact employment status in another Residence Life position, up to and including discharge.  If a paraprofessional is terminated from the position and would like to reapply to be a paraprofessional, the individual must not be within one year of being terminated on the day applications are due.

6. Staff are expected to place the position as one of their highest priorities. Non-academic involvement for paraprofessional staff members in their first semester in the position cannot exceed 15 hours per week. Non-academic involvement for all other paraprofessional staff members must not exceed 20 hours per week (no paraprofessional staff member may work more than 15 hours a week outside of their position). All requests are subject to approval by the RHD/supervisor and Assistant Director for the area of campus.

Note: International students may not be employed outside of the position due to restrictions in their student visa.​


1. Community Development through Residential Education

A.    Contribute to the implementation of the residential curriculum, Learning in Community, utilizing multiple learning strategies including intentional interactions, self-guided learning opportunities, events, programs, etc.

B. Become personally acquainted with each resident of color and other minority orientations and build a rapport with all residents that will foster open communication. 

C. Work closely with the RHD and/or RA regarding concerns in the respective community.

D. Engage in dialogue to deepen understanding, respect and empathy for others and build a rapport that will foster open communication.

E.     Assist residents in their transition to university life, connection to campus resources and understanding their identities, values and beliefs.

F.     Serve as a positive role model by supporting and adhering to university policy and displaying positive academic and social behaviors.

G.    Develop community in the building through floor/building events and building/community council initiatives and may assist with room agreements.

H.     Assist residents in designing and implementing strategies for effective conflict resolution.

I.      Actively educate and engage in the areas of equity, justice and social responsibility for the purpose of building safe, healthy and thriving communities.  

J.      Coordinate events for the purpose of promoting interpersonal interaction across difference and community development, or utilize events and activities that already exist on campus and in the Mt. Pleasant community that meet the needs and interests of students of color and other minority orientations and that support our learning goals.  

K. Educate and be a resource to residents and staff on issues of equity and justice.

I.      Report all events and community building efforts as directed by the RHD.

2. Peer Assistance

A.    Recognize human differences and develop the capacity to listen and understand in order to be flexible and open-minded in responding to student needs and concerns.

B.     Utilize provided resources to have intentional and meaningful conversations with residents about their transition to CMU, academic habits, identity development, etc.

C.     Encourage and assist individuals in finding their own solutions to issues.

D.    Refer residents to departmental, campus and community resources.

E.     Maintain appropriate confidentiality with residents; inform the RHD of any concerns.  

F.     Maintain familiarity with the locations and operations of departmental, campus and community offices and organizations (e.g. Career Services, Listening Ear, Student Employment Services, Office of Residence Life, etc.) and make referrals in conjunction with the RHD as appropriate.

F. Maintain contact in your building with students of color and other minority orientations as well as with the rest of the building population. 

3. Administrative Duties

A.     Assist in opening and closing of the building, verification of rosters, damage inventories, various reports and other duties as assigned.

B.     Complete reports, documentation and surveys in a timely, thorough and professional manner.

C.     Utilize the Paraprofessional Resource Center as a resource for community development and the Multicultural Advisor Community Board for as a resource for your position.

4. Health and Safety

A.    Become familiar with fire safety equipment, assist with drills, respond to alarms and follow all emergency response protocols.

B.     Encourage residents to make informed choices for the safety and well-being of self and others and role model this behavior.

C.     Be observant and report all safety hazards and maintenance concerns in a timely manner.

D.    Assist the RHD, CMU Police, etc. during emergency situations.

5. Residence Life Policy and Protocol

A.    Know, abide by and be consistent in enforcing rules and regulations pertaining to student behavior.  Communicate rules and regulations to residents.  Assist residents in developing methods of self-enforcement.

B.     Take appropriate action to protect the health, safety and rights of residents. Encourage residents to live productively among others, to assume responsibility for their actions and to understand their rights and responsibilities for living in a community.

C.     Assume duty responsibility according to the formal and/or informal building schedule and remain on call as required.

6. Staff Relations and Development

A.    Provide the RHD with accurate and timely community and resident information via reports, documentation, 1:1 meetings, staff meetings, emails and other communication tools.  

B.     Develop and promote a positive working relationship and effective communication within the staff team and among all individuals working in our communities.

C.     Complete all required training, including but not limited to: fall and winter staff training, in-building or area training, Campus Security Authority, etc.

D. Attend and actively participate in regularly scheduled MA staff meetings and developments; bring information and resources back to the building staff, hall council and residents as directed.

E.    Utilize department provided online and other resources.


  • Employment is normally for the academic year; however, continued employment is subject to satisfactory performance. Individual evaluations of staff will be made during each semester by the RHD.
  • MAs receive remuneration for the position in the form of “in kind wage” for their room and board.  This “in-kind” support is classified by the U. S. Department of Education as a financial resource that reduces financial need. The amount of the MA remuneration will reduce CMU grant aid dollar for dollar.  Additionally, CMU maintains a policy that CMU gift assistance (scholarships, grants and other “in-kind” remuneration) may not exceed the cost of attendance.  Students should contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to determine what affect accepting an MA position will have on their award package. 
  • The University recognizes the value of reduced occupancy in staff rooms and will strive to achieve this whenever possible. It should be understood, however, that the capability to provide this option is based on building occupancy.
  • Circumstances may arise that necessitate the transfer of MAs within the Residence Life system. Responsibility for transfer rests with the Office of Residence Life.
  • Duty schedules will vary according to the lifestyle of a particular building; however, all MAs are allowed a maximum of 16 nights out of the building/semester. All MAs are on call as required.
  • MAs may be issued or have access to master keys, and loss or misuse of any key may be considered cause for termination of employment.
  • The University recognizes MAs as strong role models for all students. It is expected that MAs present a positive attitude and example with regard to responsible behavior and responsible alcohol use.
  • Other duties as assigned. Each RHD and staff may discover needs within their building that are not addressed in this job description.

Learning Outcomes

Paraprofessional staff members gain a wide range of skills as a result of performing position duties.  Most significantly, they will increase their knowledge, skills and abilities and be able to:

  • Understand their identities, values and beliefs.
  • Recognize human differences and educate others about them.
  • Engage in dialogue to deepen understanding, respect and empathy for others within the staff team and building community.  
  • Design and implement strategies for effective conflict resolution.  
  • Manage time and balance competing priorities. 
  • Establish and maintain boundaries. 

Revised July 2017