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.
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.
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… Read More
Believing that community building happens naturally and doesn’t require intervention is a myth. This “myth” is often not one that is widely believed by most professionals that work in residence life, but rather those that work outside of it. What many individuals do not realize is the amount of work and intentionality that goes into developing happy, healthy, and productive communities. Rather than just providing “sleeps and eats,” campus housing and residence life departments construct living spaces with intentionality. This intentionality has many benefits beyond just the “warm fuzzies” of community belonging. It… Read More