Transitioning to a curricular approach represents a cultural shift. A department can have well-articulated goals, outcomes, and educational plans, but a residential curriculum will never be successful without the necessary cultural and organizational change that comes along with it. For residence life departments, in particular, this means preparing your student staff members for this shift, involving them in the process, and helping them through the process of change. This is also true of other departments that may employ large numbers of student staff programmers or for those that work with student leaders… Read More
Moving to a curricular approach calls upon us to become better at assessing student learning. Although it may be common on a campus to have students respond to short surveys providing feedback about a program or service, it is often less common to assess student acquisition of knowledge and skills as a result of an engagement. Institutions and departments transitioning to a curricular approach need to be mindful that every touch point with a student is an opportunity for learning and that assessments should be integrated into these moments to check for… Read More
One of the hallmarks of curricular approaches to student learning outside the classroom is that learning is scaffolded and sequenced to follow a student’s journey through their time in college. After educators identify their learning objectives (cascading from Educational Priority, to Learning Goals, Narratives, Rubrics, and Outcomes), the next step in the process is to map out objectives and sequence them to allow for cumulative learning. Rather than being a lock-step process, mapping and sequencing learning objectives allows curricular planners the ability to test their objectives and identify gaps in learning. This… Read More
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 Assessment… Read More