Which of the Residential Curriculum Elements are the Hardest to Achieve? And Why?

The Residential Curriculum Institute defines a curriculum as having 10 “Essential Elements.” These are the features and principles that a residence life department’s educational program should adhere to if it is to be considered a “true” residential curriculum. In 2013, while in my PhD program, I conducted some research on schools implementing this curricular approach. I wanted to find out more about how the Elements were put into practice and the extent to which schools were successful in fulfilling them. A subset of that research is presented here. This post explores the successes and struggles that schools encounter in enacting each of the… Read More

7 Learning Goal Themes Commonly Found in a Residential Curriculum

  Cascading from an educational priority are the broad goals of a curriculum. The goals of a curriculum are the main categories and statements of the educational components of the learning program. A typical residential curriculum includes 3-6 goals which are accompanied by narratives providing further detail. These goals, in turn, guide the development of learning outcomes and strategies. Below you will find examples of different learning goals from a number of institutions. As with the previous post on educational priority statements, it should be noted that these were collected through a public web search and… Read More

21 Examples of Learning Priority Statements for a Residential Curriculum

One of the first steps in implementing a curricular approach in the residence halls is to articulate an educational priority. Educational priorities are written statements, typically 1-3 sentences, that describe the overall mission or objective of a curriculum. These priorities should be grounded in research and scholarship as well as the institutional context of the department or division implementing the curriculum. Below you will find examples of different educational priority statements from a number of institutions. These were collected through a public web search and compiled here for easy reference. Because of… Read More

Residential Curriculum Element #10: Assessment Occurs at All Levels: From Educational Priority to Learning Goals and Outcomes

In order to be successful, a curriculum must be supported by a robust plan for assessment. This includes assessment at all levels of the curriculum–from educational priority to learning goals and outcomes. When beginning a curriculum, institutions may have a number of broad assessment measures already in place. These could include summative assessments, accomplished through national standardized instruments, as well as procedures for individual real-time assessments. Assessing a curriculum can draw from these available resources, but often requires a re-orientation and a deepening of commitment to assessing student learning. This includes going beyond satisfaction… Read More

Residential Curriculum Element #9: Peer-Review is Accomplished Through an Intentional Process

Because curricula are educational plans, they should be subject to the same peer-review processes as their course-credit-bearing equivalents. The idea of peer-review is borrowed from scholarly circles, whereby communities of scholars engage in self governance and ensure quality and standards are adhered to. The same holds true of a residential curriculum review process. With a residential curriculum, educational experts evaluate learning plans  to ensure they are meeting their stated objectives and suggest areas for refinement and improvement. In the case of a residential curriculum, the peer review process should involve a broad set of educational partners. These… Read More