One of the key features of ACPA’s Institute on the Curricular Approach (formerly the Residential Curriculum Institute) is the “Showcase” sessions. Showcases are presentations from individual schools that have adopted the curricular approach. Functioning similar to case studies, these showcases dive into one institution’s work with the model and the challenges and successes they’ve had along the way. Sometimes these showcases can be about an institution or department’s entire journey and sometimes they focus in on one or two aspects of it.
Things to Remember When Embarking on Your Journey to a Residential Curriculum or Curricular Approach
As you embark on developing a curricular approach for your division or your department there are a few key concepts that you should keep in mind. Think of these as a set of reminders and guiding principles. They represent the core of the philosophy behind the curricular approach.
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.
Curricular Approach Q&A: Can a Curricular Approach Work on a Campus with a Large Commuter Population?
Yes. 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.
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.