What is the Residential Curriculum Model?

In informal discourse the term “residential curriculum” is used to describe an intentional way of promoting learning in college and university residence life and education programs. A residential curriculum, however, is a very specific approach to structuring these learning opportunities.

First implemented at the University of Delaware in the early 2000s, the Model was detailed in a 2006 article, “Beyond seat time and student satisfaction: A curricular approach to residential education,” in About Campus magazine by Kerr and Tweedy. This approach lead to the establishment of ACPA’s Residential Curriculum Institute in 2007. Since then, the curricular approach has become increasingly common and popular. In his 2015 work, Student Learning in College Residence Halls, Blimling provides an overview of the curricular approach and related models for designing residential education initiatives. A follow up article in 2017, “Shifting to curricular approaches to learning beyond the classroom,” by Kerr, Tweedy, Edwards, and Kimmel, further refined the Model.

To be considered a “true” Residential Curriculum, an educational plan should incorporate the following “ten essential elements” (Kerr, Tweedy, Edwards, & Kimmel, 2017):

  1. Directly Connects to the Institutional Mission
  2. Learning Goals and Outcomes Developed and Based in a Defined Educational Priority
  3. Basis in Developmental Theory and Research
  4. Educational Strategies are Developed to Advance Learning Outcomes
  5. Educational Strategies Go Beyond Programmed Events
  6. Student Staff Are Utilized in Roles Appropriate To Their Skill Development
  7. Learning is Scaffolded and Sequenced To Follow Time-Based Development
  8. Key Stakeholders are Identified and Involved
  9. Peer-Review is Accomplished Through an Intentional Process
  10. Assessment Occurs at All Levels: From Educational Priority to Learning Goals and Outcomes

Resources

If you’re looking to connect with others around curriculum, consider joining the Residential Curriculum Facebook Group or follow the #ACPARCI hashtag on Twitter and other platforms. There are a number of ways to connect with colleagues around this topic.

Posts About the 10 Essential Elements of a Residential Curriculum:

Further Reading on Developing a Residential Curriculum:

Residential Curriculum Institute:

Schools Implementing A Curriculum:

Although there are many schools implementing curricular approaches to residential and student life, detailed information on these approaches can be difficult to find online. The following is a list of schools who provide their curricular frameworks and/or planning documents (including learning goals and outcomes, strategies, lesson plans, etc.) online. The most useful links are in bold.

Presentations on Residential Curriculum

The following are presentations on residential curriculum that are publicly avaialbe online. The most useful links are in bold.