The goal of our curriculum is to create a purposeful experience for students living in our residence halls to prepare them to become citizens of the world. We want to help students explore their own identity, passions, and goals. Understanding that the development of students is not uniform, the residence life curriculum works to support each person on their individual path.
Our structure is not formally linear, nor necessarily sequential, but rather serves as a guideline to help work toward the creation of communities based on where each student and community is during their time at NDSU.
Much like a grain of sand, students each have their own identifying characteristics and as the waves of time come into contact with the students, the route they take, or how often a wave strikes them makes an impact on who they are and where they end up.
The residence life curriculum is designed to understand that our impact is much like a wave as the tides come and go, so do our students. Therefore, our curriculum is broken down into waves that we hope students develop characteristics of throughout their time at NDSU.
Wave 1: Basic Social Integration
This is the introductory phase. During this time, students are learning the basic rules of engagement within a collegiate setting. Staff work to develop connections to set a foundation for the community and future success.
Wave 2: Exploration and Development of Self
College is a time of great exploration of not only the world around them, but even more so their identity. Wave 2 is about self-exploration and development on who they are as an individual and what they bring to the community. This wave will come and go depending on the stage of life the individual is encountering. The community can also have an effect on the person during this time. More questions than answers will come about as the students evaluate their morals and values to find their place within the community.
Wave 3: Integration with Community
The honeymoon of the new community is coming to an end during this wave and individuals are starting to settle in to a new normal. During this time, there will be a realization of differences amongst community members and it will be important to engage in conversations that allow students to learn from and accept one another. This may bring about conflicts as people are more willing to say what is making them upset, but successful resolution of these issues will strengthen the community.
Wave 4: Community Interest First
During this wave, students are starting to think about how their actions fit within the overall community. Strong friendships have been built and informal interactions come naturally to this group. Service activities will be a strong interest and through these, the individuals will start to recognize that the world is much bigger than them as they further interact with diverse populations.
Wave 5: Focus on Global Citizenship
It would be normal for residents to start holding each other accountable without the help of the RA during this wave. They understand the community exists to support one another and to give back to the world around them. Students will have a greater awareness in regard to cultural competence.
Implementation of Curriculum
Student Interaction Reports (SIRs)
In order to help students be successful, NDSU Residence Life has developed the Student Interaction Report, a process which involves a series of intentional discussions between the Resident Assistant and students. The intentional interactions between staff and students are designed to provide support and build community.
As part of our residential experience, residents of each house or floor community work together to create a community agreement. This agreement allows students to take ownership of their environment. With support from Resident Assistants, students discuss what they hope their community will be like and what is important to them as a group to make the environment a comfortable space for everyone.
Roommate Success PLan
Learning to share your living space is a life-skill we help our students develop. To lay a healthy groundwork, our staff facilitates the completion of a Roommate Success Plan. This agreement between roommates addresses common areas for potential future conflict; such as the cleaning schedule, guest visitation, and sharing belongings. Each roommate separately fills out a “Roommate Success Tool” to help decide their personal preferences on these subjects, then their Resident Assistant holds a meeting with all the roommates to complete a fair Roommate Success Plan. This reduces common potential disagreements and gives each roommate an equal voice in determining the expectations in their room.
Touch Points are those every day interactions that Resident Assistants have with students, but taken to the next level. An example of a Touch Point is if a student were to get locked out of their room, it would be very easy for the RA to walk with the student to their room and unlock their door. However, to take this to the next level an RA could ask the resident why they were locked out and discuss how to prevent being locked out of their room again, especially if this isn’t the first time the student is locked out. These can also be events that the RAs plan or are happening around campus and things in the house or floor community like door decorations or billboards. Touch Points are an easy way to help students get connected and engaged in their hall and across campus.