Educational and curricular efforts exist in context. Furthermore, residence life and education departments do not exist on an island. When developing a campus or residential curriculum, it is important to identify partners and stakeholders early on and include them in the curriculum design process. This inclusion can include stages from planning to implementation, and throughout assessment and review processes.
Because developing a residential curriculum entails refocusing your departmental efforts towards student learning, it necessarily follows that you must develop a culture of assessment. A culture of assessment is one in which decisions are data-driven and tested through the design, implementation, and review of assessment measures. As Lakos and Phipps (2004) describe it, a culture of assessment is: An organizational environment in which decisions are based on facts, research, and analysis, and where services are planned and delivered in ways that maximize positive outcomes and impacts for customers and stakeholders. A Culture of… Read More
When getting started in developing a curricular approach to student learning outside the classroom, there are a number of different terms and concepts that are used with which one should become familiar. Many of the terms used have been systematized over time, particularly by the faculty of ACPA’s Institute on the Curricular Approach. However, some of the terms may be used differently in practice at various institutions. Regardless of whether you call something a learning goal, a learning outcome, or a learning objective, what is more important than the actual word is that… Read More
When encountering the curricular approach for the first time, many staff may wonder why the approach has gained such currency within student affairs and residence life and what research and data backs up and supports its use. When asking these questions, it is important to understand that the curricular approach is a model of how to organize one’s educational activities to ensure the achievement of learning outcomes. It is a planning and organizational tool. The actual execution of these occurs differently on different campuses. Therefore, it is difficult to ascribe success to… Read More
An important element of developing residential curriculum involves scaffolding and sequencing learning. Rubrics, or tools developed for the purposes of scoring and rating development along a scale, can be useful in this scaffolding and sequencing process. As discussed earlier, residential curriculum rubrics break down learning outcomes into successive stages of development and mastery. Although coming after the development of an educational priority, goals, and outcomes, rubric development is often an iterative and reciprocal process that requires one to loop back and revise goals and outcomes in light of knowledge gained thorough the… Read More