How to Conduct an Archeological Dig for a Curricular Approach to Student Affairs

Before embarking on a curricular approach, it is important to conduct an audit, or archeological dig, to surface important characteristics and concepts that should be present and accounted for in your curriculum. As Siri Espy states, “Much like an archeological dig, your mission is to start with a set of bones and construct a skin that will fit. Ask yourself what an animal with all of your identified characteristics would look like, then set out to build one” (p. 86). During the audit and discovery phase of your dig, you should seek… Read More

Residential Curriculum Element #1: Directly Connects to the Institutional Mission

Curriculums do not exist in a vacuum. They exist on college campuses which have unique histories, traditions, contexts, cultures, and demographics. To this end, a well developed residential curriculum should be built not only off of peer-reviewed research and national and international standards, but also on the unique aspects of an institution. Many institutions starting a curriculum for the first time may skip over this step, but it is critical to ensure that a curriculum is built off a solid foundation. A curriculum is not merely a schema of categories and check boxes…. Read More

Words Matter in a Residential Curriculum

When thinking about my own experience in developing a residential curriculum, I’m reminded of a wordsmithing session I had with some colleagues.  We were attempting to set some broad learning goals for our curriculum and we wanted to ensure that our language encouraged critical reflection but also allowed for a diversity of viewpoints.  It took us a while, but there was one phrase we finally settled on: “Students will be able to act from an internal coherent ethical belief system.” This original formulation was mine and I chose my words carefully.  I chose “internal”… Read More