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Residential College Assistant Chair


No longer accepting applications for the 2022-2023 academic year.


Position Description

Assistant Chairs are Northwestern doctoral students appointed by the Director of Residential Academic Initiatives on the recommendation of the Faculty Chairs of residential colleges. Appointment requires an interview by the Associate Director of Residential Academic Initiatives, who recruits a pool of applicants from which Faculty Chairs may select candidates for their college. While Assistant Chairs work most closely with their residential college’s Faculty Chair and student executive board members, they also have responsibilities to the Office of Residential Academic Initiatives and collaborate with the Residential Life staff of the college.

Assistant Chairs must be in residence at Northwestern through the academic year, from early September through the week of Commencement in June, with the exception of University holidays. Absences for three or more consecutive days (including weekends) require permission in advance from both the Faculty Chair and the Associate Director of Residential Academic Initiatives. 

The work commitment averages 10 hours per week during the academic year. The overall time and percentage of time devoted to each area outlined below may vary at different points of the year. Assistant Chairs are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate and professional manner at all times in their role at the University with responsibilities ranging from student advising to financial transactions. Specific duties and assignments are subject to change based on the needs of the Faculty Chair or Office of Residential Academic Initiatives.

Assisting Faculty Chair with Programming and Community

  1. Building relationships with students and fellows.
  2. Implementing academic and cultural programs.
  3. Facilitating spending and reimbursements.
  4. Alerting the Faculty Chair to important issues in the college.
  5. Recommending the appointment of graduate associates.

Advising College Executive Board and Student Members

  1. Informally advising student members.
  2. Formally advising the college executive board.
  3. Overseeing spending with college debit cards.
  4. Attending designated college meetings.
  5. Holding office hours.

Performing Administrative Duties for the Office of Residential Academic Initiatives

  1. In-person residency expectation during academic year.
  2. Coordinating college participation in Office of Residential Academic Initiatives programs.
  3. Attending meetings with the Associate Director.
  4. Preparing monthly and quarterly reports on college programs.
  5. Participating in the annual conference for new executive board members.

Collaborating with Residential Life Staff

  1. Maintaining regular communication with the college’s Resident Director.
  2. Referring executive board business as needed to the Resident Director.


Assistant Chairs receive an annual stipend (currently $11,164.00) allocated through monthly paychecks (September through June inclusively) plus access to periodic meals with the affiliated residential college during academic sessions.

Information for Prospective Applicants

Applicants must be within the first to fifth year of their doctoral program during the 2022-23 academic year to apply. 

Anticipated Openings for the 2022-23 Academic Year

 You can learn more about the colleges by visiting the residential college housing pages. 

Informational Sessions

Interested doctoral students are encouraged to contact Nancy Anderson for an individual consultation by Zoom or phone.

Indication of Preference

The themes of residential colleges that have one are not extensions of academic departments. When you consider where to apply, follow your interests and not necessarily your field of study. Residential colleges provide the opportunity for people to meet a variety of people who share diverse interests.

You may apply to multiple colleges with posted openings, but do not indicate any ranking or preference; doing so may jeopardize your chances with colleges lower on the list because your application will be sent to the Faculty Chair of each college you select.


Not all applicants are interviewed. Appointment requires an interview both with the Faculty Chair of the college and the Associate Director of the Office of Residential Academic Initiatives.This year, we anticipate that all interviews will be conducted by Zoom. Generally, appointments are made by mid-June.

Application Process

Access the Assistant Chair application form to apply. All applications must be received by 11am, Wednesday, May 4, 2022.  To complete your application, please have your departmental adviser or Director of Graduate Studies sign a Departmental Approval of Application [PDF], which certifies that the Assistant Chair position is compatible with your academic responsibilities and plans. You can submit a scanned version to


Contact Nancy Anderson, Associate Director, Office of Residential Academic Initiatives, or 847-491-2233