State of the Student: Residence Life

State of the Student is a report compiled by Vice President Sarah Visser to give Faculty Senate a sense of current trends in students’ mental health needs. Chimes will highlight different categories of the data provided over the following weeks. This first installment focuses on Residence Life.


Residence Life staff have already handled comparable numbers of mental health cases since 2021 as in entire past years. (Abigail Ham)

Since 2016, the number of Residence Directors / Area Coordinators overseeing dorm life on campus has been reduced from eight to three. Remaining Residence Life staff have faced a seemingly ever-increasing volume of mental health-related cases per year. Fortunately, new supports are in place to help close gaps on meeting student needs. According to Associate Dean of Residence Life Becki Simpson, Residence Life has hired four part-time staff and two social workers who provide care on evenings and weekends. By next fall, residence life will also employ a part-time case manager for students who have “the highest level of mental health needs,” according to Simpson. 


With fewer full-time staff, Residence Life now handles more mental health-related cases than five years ago. (Abigail Ham)

“Even with these supports, Residence life staff have definitely felt higher workloads due to these staffing reductions, but we are aware most other departments at Calvin have also had to deal with this reality,” Simpson said.