Join Our Residential Life Team

As a comprehensive teaching and research institution with a diverse student population of more than 18,000 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 13-to-1, we provide all the amenities of a large university with a small-college feel.

Housing and Residential Services employs over 40 full-time and graduate assistant staff for the student population of approximately 3,300 that lives on-campus at NIU.

A group of staff members


We offer leadership and employment opportunities to undergraduate students through Residence Hall Association, community councils, and our community advisor, desk assistant, and tour coordinator positions. We also employ hall directors and complex coordinators for each of our six communities.

Full-Time Residence Hall Director

The Full-Time Hall Director provides primary leadership and overall management of a residence hall housing approximately 500 students.

  • Supervises 1-2 Graduate Assistants and 10-18 Community Advisors.
  • Directly supervised by a Complex Coordinator.
  • 12-month live-in position with a meal plan.

Graduate Residence Hall Director

The Graduate Residence Hall Director provides primary leadership and overall management of a residence hall housing approximately 300-500 students.

  • Supervises 5-10 Community Advisors.
  • Directly supervised by a Full-Time Residence Hall Director or Complex Coordinator.
  • 10-month, 20-hour-per-week live-in position with a meal plan.

Graduate Assistant for Leadership Development

The Graduate Assistant for Leadership Development serves as an operational advisor to the Residence Hall Association, providing primary leadership and overall advising of the student governance initiatives within Housing and Residential Services.

  • Directly supervised by a Complex Coordinator.
  • 10-month, 20-hour-per-week live-in position with a meal plan.

Graduate Assistant for Residential Community Standards

The Graduate Assistant for Residential Community Standards provides leadership to and management of student conduct matters within Housing and Residential Services. The Graduate Assistant will also provide support for implementation of community standards on all residential floors and crisis response programs.

  • Directly supervised by a Complex Coordinator and the Director of Student Conduct or designee.
  • 10-month, 20-hour-per-week live-in position with a meal plan.

Desk Operations Graduate Assistant

The Desk Operations Graduate Assistant (DOGA) is responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of a reception desk and its staff and supports night security services in a residential facility housing up to 2,000 students.

  • Supervises 12-35 undergraduate student staff.
  • Directly supervised by a Complex Coordinator.
  • 10-month, 20-hour-per-week live-in position with a meal plan.

The NIU Experience

Our residence hall positions offer real-life experiences that are an excellent complement to NIU's Adult and Higher Education program. Former staff agree that their NIU experience prepared them for future careers in counseling, adult education and higher education.

So glad I started my career with NIU.

During my two years managing Stevenson C Tower as a Graduate Hall Director, I learned what it took to supervise a large staff, manage crises, and be a true team member. The relationships I built with my cohort are still the people I turn to when I need advice and encouragement. I know I would not be the housing professional I am today without the NIU Housing department and the dedicated Adult and Higher Education faculty.

Sarah Meaney
Director of Housing and Residence Life at Elmhurst College Former Graduate Residence Hall Director at NIU

An incredibly positive impact on my career in Higher Education and beyond.

I had the opportunity to advise student organizations, sit on various committees on campus and in the region, and use my research and skills in the classroom to contribute back to the residential communities.

Rachel Stice
Coordinator for Residential Education at Crown College
Former Residence Hall Director at NIU

Lifelong lessons

My experience in the Adult and Higher Education program at Northern Illinois University provided me lifelong lessons, lifelong friendships, and the unwavering pursuit of lifelong learning.

Jarvis K. Purnell
Assistant Dean of Students at The University of Chicago
Former Graduate Residence Hall Director at NIU

Complemented my coursework

My assistantship challenged me to apply theory to my daily work and provided me with experience that made me a more marketable candidate in my job search.

Patrick Haught
Student Activities Advisor at University of Minnesota
Former Graduate Residence Hall Director at NIU

Why NIU?

NIU's Housing and Residential Services stands out from other institutions.


We're committed to student-centered service.

Our Division of Student Affairs is a national leader in higher education through its commitment to student-centered service, partnerships focused on student learning, establishing an inclusive community, and actively building collaborative relationships.


More opportunities for professional development.

Departmental, divisional and university committees offer many professional development opportunities at NIU. Staff also participate in webinars, on-campus internships, and travel for professional development conferences outside of NIU.


Students choose NIU because it's a place where they feel they belong.

More than half of our first-year students are also first-generation college students. Our students meet people from different communities, cultures and countries. No matter what life experiences they bring, they have a home here.


Staff enjoy additional benefits.

  • Tuition waivers: Staff working in Housing and Residential Services are eligible for tuition waivers.
  • Partner policy: We allow live-in and live-on staff to have a domestic partner reside in their apartment.
  • Pet policy: With approval, staff can have a cat or small fish in an aquarium in their apartment.

Fast Facts

6 residence halls.
3300+ students living on campus.

Over a quarter of NIU's undergraduate population lives on campus.

13 Living-Learning and
Special Interest Communities.
Students together in a residence hall

Our Residential Curriculum is at the core of our work.

Through the intentional interactions with students, we focus on the following learning outcomes using one-on-one conversations, programs, bulletin boards, poster series, field trips and a wealth of other initiatives.

Through engagement in our residence halls, students will be able to:

  • Manage personal relationships (family, roommates, dating, etc.).
  • Actively contribute to creating an inclusive climate within the community.
  • Contribute responsibly to the residential and greater communities through engagement opportunities.
  • Demonstrate habits that contribute to academic success.
  • Identify and implement healthy life choices.

Our Students

Residence Hall Association and Community Councils

Our students participate in RHA and enjoy the leadership opportunities offered by Community Councils in each hall.

2018 GLACURH Student of the Year

Awarded to Anne, a Community Advisor, for her involvement at NIU and in the region.

2017 NACURH Most Spirited Delegation

For our exemplary enthusiasm, community participation and Huskie spirit!

Equipped me to serve students with diverse needs, experiences, and backgrounds.

My two years as a graduate assistant in NIU Housing helped me to elevate my skills in supervision, advising, crisis response, and student support. The skills I learned are ones I use daily and have continued to build upon throughout my career. The opportunities I had to contribute to departmental processes helped to prepare me for future roles, and the relationships I built with students and staff better equipped me to serve students with diverse needs, experiences, and backgrounds.

Shandee Ewert
Assistant Director for Staff Development and Training at Loyola University Chicago
Former Graduate Residence Hall Director at NIU

Grow where you're planted.

There are amazing things to be learned from the people at your institution, in your division and in your department who you work next to everyday, but have never truly connected with!

Alandis R. Philips
Conduct Coordinator at Loyola University Chicago
Former Graduate Residence Hall Director at NIU

Diversity at NIU

We're committed to creating communities that value the diversity of our members and are free from discrimination. Our students, staff and visitors hold a shared responsibility to work toward inclusiveness, educational equality and ongoing personal growth. We value mutual respect and we embrace those around us for who they are.

We understand that individuals living and working in our communities bring values from their personal background, and we offer a safe space and opportunity to learn and grow from our diversity. It’s the responsibility of all community members and visitors to be respectful and approach others with understanding.

Diversity of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, class, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex, veteran status, ability, age and student status makes our communities thrive. Not understanding another’s identity is not a reason to be disrespectful to a student, staff member or visitor.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources

Life in DeKalb, Illinois

The city of DeKalb and its surrounding DeKalb County communities provide a familiar place to live and study for most NIU students. Reflections of cities, suburbs and farm country all are here.

Much of DeKalb County remains rural, still home to miles of cornfields along two-lane roads with occasional stop signs.

But DeKalb (population 43,849), Sycamore (population 17,600) and the bustling highway that connects them (Route 23) are the sites of exciting commercial and residential growth reminiscent of the suburbs.The boom of new retailers and restaurants offers shopping and dining for almost any taste, and the heart of Route 23 is home to the county’s modern health care corridor.

Meanwhile, the downtown areas of DeKalb and Sycamore offer homegrown shops and eateries that cater to a more eclectic crowd. Each town also hosts its own festival during the fall semester: DeKalb Corn Fest attracts more than 50,000 visitors during the last weekend in August, and the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival provides family-oriented Halloween fun in late October.