4 Documents that Place “Student Learning” at the Core of Residential Education

One of the primary roles of residence life professionals is to advance student learning. But given the myriad of hats and tasks that housing and residence life professionals take on, it can sometimes become lost in the mix. It requires professionals to remain vigilant. When developing educational plans, writing position descriptions, and training staff, these processes should be constantly evaluated in against what they do to advance student learning. Staff members should also be familiar with the justifications and reasons why advancing student learning is so important to their work. The literature on student learning in… Read More

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

Does Your Residential Curriculum Cascade?

An important concept in developing intentional learning experiences for students is the idea of the “cascade.” Much like the successive steps of a waterfall, as water flows from one plateau to another, learning goals and outcomes in a residential curriculum should flow from more general statements of educational priority down to more specific and measurable student-level outcomes. Cascading goals can also be used for a number of different purposes outside of a curriculum, including staff development and and departmental planning. The key to these processes, however, is to create links to ensure that all… Read More

The Missing Eleventh Element of a Residential Curriculum: Customized Student Learning

The Residential Curriculum Institute outlines 10 “Essential Elements” that make up a curriculum and yet little to no research has been conducted specifically on these Elements. While that is not to say that the Elements are unsupported by research, they borrow from proven concepts and sound principles of instructional design, but there is currently no body of research that  supports why an Element should be  a part of a residential curriculum specifically or why these elements are all “essential.” This begs the question, are there additional Elements that should be included? If additional elements are to be… Read More

Building Off of Bloom: Writing Progressive Learning Objectives

  One of the bedrock concepts of designing residential curricula and learning plans is the ability to write effective learning objectives. Writing effective and measurable learning objectives, however, is often more difficult than it may seem. The deeper one delves into learning theory and curricular design, the more nuanced one realizes these concepts are.