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

The Iterative and Reciprocal Process of Developing Rubrics (With Training Video)

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

Creating Effective Curriculum Facilitation Guides and Lesson Plans for Staff

Once you have decided on your educational priority, learning goals, narratives, and learning outcomes, and developed rubrics, it is time to begin putting these educational objectives into action through strategies. Strategies are the vehicles for educational delivery. They can include activities such as programs and events, newsletters, and guided community or individual conversations. Facilitation guides function as the “lesson plans” for delivering these strategies. By developing facilitation guides, educators can ensure consistency. This includes consistency across different facilitators and over time, from month-to-month or year-to-year.  Because of this consistency, facilitation guides also provide… Read More

Implications for Staff Member Duties, Selection, Training, and Development When Transitioning to a Curricular Approach

Transitioning to a residential curriculum is as much about educational plan development as it is about organizational change. The reason for this is that curricular approaches are often paradigmatic change–change predicated on an entirely new set of premises. In other words, rather than just rearranging the furniture in the room, you’re changing the entire room itself. Because of this, there are many implications for how your organization itself may need to change to account for a curricular focus.  Chief among these changes may be related to your staff member duties, and your… Read More