Part of developing a curriculum is the realization that educational opportunities need not originate within a residence life program in order to be valuable for residents. If there are experts in a given area on campus, and they already provide educational opportunities and services, why not figure out a way to package, market, and provide these to residential students in a way that fits with their needs? This is one reason why collaboration with key partners and stakeholders is an important part of any learning plan. The residence hall can act as a crucible for learning and a place where educational messages can be amplified.
There are many ways residential education can partner with campus stakeholders to promote educational opportunities, including:
- Have student staff encourage attendance at an event and bring residents along with them.
- Develop supplemental programming in the residence halls that deepens a learning experience. This can include discussions of events (pre- or post- opportunity) or workshops for applying learning.
- Develop suggested questions that a student staff member can ask a resident in a one-on-one conversation that relate to particular issues, services, or events associated with a partner office.
Engaging with stakeholders shouldn’t just be about providing educational opportunities to residents. Stakeholders can also be of help in creating and developing the curriculum itself. When developing learning goals and outcomes, content experts exist across campus that can aid a department in choosing relevant and developmentally appropriate objectives. Stakeholders can also help in the review of the curriculum and ensure it is meeting its stated goals and outcomes. As is discussed in Element #9, they can be important partners in the curriculum review process as well.
Some schools that have begun the curriculum development process have found that, through collaboration, the curriculum becomes something much more than just the purview of a residential education department. Setting a division-wide curriculum is an intentional way of infusing learning throughout an institution. In many ways, residence life can lead the institution in developing, assessing, and enhancing student learning.
- Who are your important partners and stakeholders?
- How might you engage partners and stakeholders in the development of learning opportunities?
- How can partners and stakeholders be involved in the curriculum development and review process?
- How can you extend the curriculum to a division-wide curriculum?
Reference: Kerr, K. G., Tweedy, J., Edwards, K. E., & Kimmel, D. (2017, March-April). Shifting to curricular approaches to learning beyond the classroom. About Campus, 22(1), 22-31. doi:10.1002/abc.21279