Residential programs may often seem to be just a room and a bed to students and parents. This typically is not the case as a residential living space on a college or university campus is often (if not always) viewed as a purposeful learning environment by the campus and most certainly by the student affairs professions who are responsible for the wellness of their residential students.
Miami University has many lenses in which to view the residential community as a learning community. The first lens would be that of all the academic research that occurs in regards to the developmental needs of traditional aged students, i.e. student development theory.
Another lens would be that of our University President, David Hodge. Dr. Hodge is very committed to the “Engaged University” with his focus on the development of the whole student. Academically we are committed to Critical Thinking, Understanding Contexts, Engaging with other learners, and Reflecting and Acting. Still other lenses would include the Student Affairs Mission Statement and any other mission statements of any other academic or student affairs office on campus.
Through all these lenses a Residential Curriculum was created by the Office of Residence Life. This is essentially a syllabus for what students should be learning within the residence halls. Our residential curriculum is based upon the Learning Partnerships Model developed by Dr. Marcia Baxter-Magolda (a leading student development theorist who taught here in the College Student Personal Masters program for many years).
The model is essentially four learning outcomes that should be developed during your time at Miami University. Those learning outcomes are then divided into 3 stages 1) Moving In, 2) Moving Through, and 3) Moving On. The Moving In stage would be skills that should be developed during the freshman year, Moving Through would focus on the sophomore year and beyond. And the Moving On stage would focus on the junior year and beyond. All of this is said with the understanding that different students are in different places developmentally. It is those Moving Through skills that this office collaborates with the Office of Residence Life.
“Departmental Strategies” are then the “nuts and bolts” or the “how to” in order to accomplish the lofty goals (or competencies) outlined in the Residential Curriculum. Traditional residential programming models often prescribe exactly how many programs will be done by resident advisors and on exactly what topics. The model used by Miami University is more in tune with the Learning Partnerships Model where the resident advisors are more responsible for determining what the needs of their students are and how to meet those needs. The resident advisors then work with their supervisors to determine what programs/activities and how to offer them to their residents. Second Year Programs partners with the residence hall staff to help with programming focused on second year learning outcomes (Commitment to Major, Career Identification, Wellness, Cultural Competency, Service to the Community and Transitioning to the Oxford Community) occur in the residence halls.
Second Year Programs also partners with many offices across campus to offer fun and social programming. Check out the “Programming” tab to see a complete list as well as short descriptions of the programs.