Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jill M. Tarule


This study explores the implementation of Restorative Practices (Costello, Wachtel, & Wachtel, 2009) in a residential life program at a small public university. Narrative inquiry is used to explore the perspectives of eleven resident advisors (RAs) who have been trained in Restorative Practices (RP) and are using them in their residential communities. Participants were interviewed three times over the course of one academic year. The study illuminates the RAs' perspectives, growth and experiences with RP over that year. The findings demonstrate that RP may not only provide a structure for RAs to succeed within their challenging position, but may also encourage growth in a RAs' leadership capacity and abilities. This research also addresses how RAs conceptualize their position and role, including how they negotiate their dual, and sometime conflicting, roles of serving simultaneously as an authority figure and peer within the residence hall community, and how RAs benefit from and are challenged by implementing RP in their hall.

In addition to examining the RA role specifically, the study also addresses how RP can serve as a theoretical framework for preparing RAs for their work in residence halls and for supporting them throughout the year. Further, the research suggests that RP, as a framework for the RAs' work in the residence halls, can potentially transform the residential experience for both the residents and the RA. The result may be the creation of the kind of community experience that the research has shown contributes to the retention of students. Finally, this study concludes with identifying some of the issues that are important for Residential Life departments in a process of successfully implementing RP in college residential settings.



Number of Pages

195 p.