Developing A Culture of Assessment in Your Residence Life and Education Program

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 Assessment… Read More

Breaking Down Curricular Learning Goals into Learning Outcomes

Continuing down the cascade of your curriculum, one becomes more specific in the learning objectives one hopes residents will achieve. In this way, the cascade functions as nested structure includes successively more specific statements as one moves towards the level of practice. One’s educational priority is the broadest statement of learning one hopes students will achieve. It is typically divided in 3-5 learning goals, and these learning goals are in turn divided into 4-6 learning outcomes. It is at this level, the level of learning outcomes, that one begins to see the… Read More

A Glossary of Terms for Residential Curriculum and Curricular Approaches Outside of the Classroom

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

What are the Benefits of Moving to a Curricular Approach to Residence Life?

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

Developing Your Educational Plan(s) and Putting Your Residential Curriculum Into Practice

Once a department or division articulates the goals, outcomes, and objectives it hopes to achieve, and they’ve undergone the work to rubric, map, and sequence these objectives, the final step in the process is the development of an overall educational plan.  Educational plans function much like blueprints. As plans, they outline time-based progression through the curriculum.  They include all major components of the curriculum (from the Educational Priority to Goals, Outcomes, and Rubrics) and include all of the facilitation guides for each individually executed strategy. In short, your educational plan is the… Read More