5 Signs Your Residential Curriculum is Actually a Programming Model with Learning Outcomes

Curricular approaches are more than just writing and defining learning priorities, goals, outcomes. In many ways, implementing a curricular approach is as much about organizational change as it is about defining a structure. This is one of the reasons why Kerr, Tweedy, Edwards, and Kimmel (2017)call it a “paradigm shift.” The word “paradigm” is most famously associated with Thomas Kuhn. In a book Kuhn wrote entitled, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn describes shifts in thinking that are so fundamental in nature, that they represent completely revised ways of thinking resting on entirely… Read More

The Realities of Competing For Student Time in the 21st Century

Now, more than ever, residence life professionals are competing for students’ time. Technological change has brought about a revolution of choice for self directing one’s learning and a multitude options for one’s use of free time. This is not a new phenomenon, but the competition has changed. Residence life and student activities have always had competition. In the past it was televisions, VHS and DVD movies, and video games. Now, however, with multiple online video streaming services, smartphones with apps and games that can be used on the go, a more mature internet… Read More

Dear RAs… I want you to STOP PROGRAMMING!

  It’s time for an intervention. PUT DOWN the glitter. STEP AWAY from the construction paper. DO NOT OPEN the pizza boxes. I WANT YOU TO STOP PROGRAMMING! I don’t really want you to stop programming, but I do want to stop putting on programs that are not developed with a strong set of learning outcomes and an associated lesson plan that seeks to further those outcomes. In fact, I want you to revisit the idea that holding a program is the most effective method for delivering on these outcomes. Part of this is “giving up”… Read More

Why the Frequency of Residence Hall Programs Matter More Than the Overall Number

Stacks of Rocks

Many traditional programs models within residence life are designed such that staff members must complete x number of events or programs a semester. Relying on an overall number of programs, however, ignores an important variable in the educational equation: frequency. Rather than focus on the total number of programs to be completed, it is perhaps even more important to ensure that programs are evenly spaced throughout the year and occur at the appropriate times.

10 Different Strategies for Promoting Residential Student Learning

The ultimate mission of student affairs work is to advance student learning. Although this occurs across campus, the professionals that work in residence life are uniquely situated in this process given the relatively high level of contact they have with students. Unlike most faculty members, however, the educational environment created by student affairs and residence life educators is not confined to the classroom. This has both benefits and challenges as it increases the methods and means of educating students, but lacks the directed consistency of a formal course. Although many residence life and education departments… Read More