Residential curricula are focused on student learning. Ultimately, curricular approaches primarily concern themselves with what we hope students will know and be able to do once their time with us comes to an end. Community building falls outside the learning-focus of the curriculum but it is critically important for its effectiveness. A switch to a curricular approach does not mean that a department abandons its community building responsibilities, rather, community building is a critical component of a department’s pedagogy. Read More
Curricular Approach Q&A: Can a Curricular Approach Work on a Campus with a Large Commuter Population?
A curricular approach to student affairs work utilizes the processes and methods of teachers in the classroom and adapts it to the out-of-class setting. Setting learning objectives and planning strategies and engagements with students works regardless of whether they live on campus or not. You may need to think about your curriculum differently, however. Read More
Facilitation guides function as the “lesson plans” for delivering educational strategies in a residential curriculum or curricular approach. Facilitation guides are detailed plans that provide all of the information necessary so that anyone with the appropriate level of training and skills could execute the planned strategy. A department or division that has a fully realized a curriculum will have a catalog of facilitation guides upon which to draw when executing their educational plans for the academic year. Read More
Residence Hall Associations (RHAs) and Hall Councils are student organizations commonly found in residence halls across the United States. Typical functions for these organizations include student-lead programming, community building efforts, and representation and advocacy around issues of concern to students. When developing a curricular approach, a number of institutions have questioned what role these types of organizations should play under this different model. Read More
Developing a residential curriculum or a divisional curricular approach is hard work. It takes time. It can take years to develop a curriculum that you feel is on solid footing and functioning well. The move to a curricular model is not just about identifying objectives, writing facilitation guides, and completing tasks. There is a lot of work required to change organizational culture, the way you work, and how you understand problems and conceive of solutions.
Because this evolution takes time, many institutions will frequently say that they don’t have a “true” curriculum. The idea of a “true” curriculum, however, is somewhat of a myth. While it is true, some curricula are more highly developed than others, some are more consistent with their learning outcomes, and some adhere more closely to and achieve the 10 essential elements, institutions can still benefit from adopting many of the components of a curriculum. If you department or institution is not ready to take on a curricular approach, the following are three curricular concepts you can still benefit from in your practice. Read More