Presentation: Utilizing Standards to Assess the Effectiveness of a Residential Education Curriculum

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.

In this presentation, we presented two assessment tools that provide rubrics for assessing curricular development. The first tool was developed by myself based on my own research and my years of experience serving as a faculty member for the Residential Curriculum Institute. It examines the structures and practices a department needs to have in place in order to have a successful curriculum. This tool, also known as the Residential Curriculum Self Assessment Instrument, covers nine different areas of focus ranging from the development of foundational educational goals to how staffing structures and roles are determined. The second tool, a curriculum Organizational Barometer, developed by Hilary Lichterman from her own original doctoral research, examines organizational and cultural behavior for success indicators in the implementation of a curriculum. This tool examines curricular organizational change through Bolman and Deal’s four frames: structural, human resource, symbolic, and political.

Below you will find the abstract and learning outcomes from the session as well as the original slides.


In some residential education departments, 1-1 student staff-to-resident conversations have replaced programming as a main method of educational outcomes achievement. These conversations also feature prominently in designs for residential curricula. In this session, participants will learn how to implement effective interactions through intentionally developed guides and prompts. Additional topics include staff selection and training as well as assessment techniques.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the benefits and challenges of using intentional conversations as an educational strategy.
  2. Recall best practices in implementing and assessing intentional conversations in the residence halls.
  3. Discuss how to best select and train student staff to implement intentional conversations.

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