Residential curriculum altered to be more standardized


The Appalachian Online

Angela McLinton

Starting this year, the residential curriculum program materials found in dorms will be more curated, meaning that bulletin boards will no longer be open for students to post on.

“We decided to implement the residential curriculum because we realized that learning in the halls could be planned more intentionally and sequentially,” Shannon Jordan, senior associate director for Residence Life, said. “There are many great opportunities for learning in the residence halls and the curriculum formalizes this learning.”

Last semester, a bulletin board in Lovill Hall addressing privilege was set on fire.

“The fire in Lovill didn’t influence our decision, but it did highlight the importance of the curriculum’s implementation,” Jordan said. “In this way, the curriculum is a preventative measure — one that is rooted in the best practices in education.”

The decision to implement the RC took three years of consideration and discussion, with one of those years spent planning the curriculum.

“For the past two years our Residence Life staff has been attending training to understand a new approach to programming within the halls which focuses on learning outcomes,” Tom Kane, director of University Housing, said. “This is occurring nationally on many campuses. Over the course of the year we can then present topics more orderly in all the residence halls versus each doing their own thing. We still have most of the same bulletin boards in our inventory as past years, but we actually have a plan when each should be ‘rolled’ out to match with actual activities taking place in the halls.”

Other schools participating in the RC across the country include the University of Kansas and Miami University, with the majority of American universities participating in other residential living programs. The basic principles are all the same but it is up to the individual institutions to determine how creatively they deliver the principles.

“The whole white privilege thing on bulletin boards is crazy,” freshman Hannah Bean said. “I do think there should be a screening process on what is put out for everyone to see. Everything is checked out and no one is offended by what’s said [or] posted on the boards. [However], no one can truly express how they completely feel.”

Under the program RAs are also limited in what they can post.

“The RAs do need to use our approved boards,” Jordan said. “RAs have creative liberty in terms of how they would like to display the information. The RAs cannot create their own content because we want RAs to focus on getting to know students, forming relationships, and creating community on their floor instead of researching educational material for bulletin boards.”

Story by: Angela McLinton

Photo by: Dallas Linger, Photo Editor