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
Given that the curricular approach is relatively new in student affairs circles, there is a need for tools and resources that can help campuses and departments assess the effectiveness of their efforts. I, along with Ryan Lloyd, recently had the pleasure of presenting on two such resources at the 2018 International Convention of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education in Philadelphia, PA.
One of the very first steps one undertakes when developing a residential curriculum is crafting an educational priority. An educational priority is the basis upon which all other goals and outcomes are derived. Based in the mission, context, and values of your institution, an educational priority should provide a broad statement about what your division or department aims to teach. In many ways, the educational priority statement serves as a sort of “mission” for your curriculum–a short, bite-sized statement (or very brief paragraph) about what the curriculum is about and what students will learn.
In developing a residential curriculum, one of the first tasks a residence life department undertakes is the establishment of an educational priority. An educational priority is summative statement of what students will learn by their participation in a curriculum. An educational priority is broad, informed by research and theory, and contextualized to an individual campus and student population. A priority can be used as a measure to determine if a curriculum is successful in achieving its educational aims, and it provides a goal towards which students can reach.
There are a number of practices in residential life and education that have become commonplace, but that don’t always advance our roles as educators and student affairs professionals. Over my many years in residence life, I’ve seen the following four ideas surface again and again. They are concepts that seem to be ingrained in our collective experience and yet are not challenged as much as they should be. Is there a better way? Can we break out of some of these “bad habits”?