Student Affairs Curricular Approach Status Update

December 2, 2021

 As we prepare to launch the new Student Affairs Strategic Plan in January 2022, concerted efforts are already under way to enhance our approach for centering student learning.  The Curricular Approach was identified as the framework to evolve the Carolina Excellence Initiative to a more intentional, connected, and integrated learning experience for students where learning progresses as students engage with different programmatic touch points and services across the Division and beyond. 

In summer 2020, shortly after the pandemic hit, Student Affairs colleagues were given the opportunity to familiarize themselves about the Curricular Approach.  Thirty-five student affairs colleagues, including the Carolina Excellence Steering Committee members, engaged in a summer reading discussion on Dr. Paul Gordon Brown’s compendium, “Developing a Co-Curricula Learning Model” over the course of six sessions.  The compendium provided a thorough overview of the Curricula Approach, including alternatives for implementation.

 On January 6, 2022, the members of the Student Affairs Leadership Team (SALT) will convene for a half-day retreat to identify the educational priority for Student Affairs.  For more context, a Curricular Approach is directly connected to the institutional mission, context, and the population of students served.  The Educational Priority is the primary educational goal we want students to achieve and serves as the basis from which learning goals and outcomes are derived (Kerr, Edwards, Tweedy, Lichterman & Knerr, 2020).   

In preparation for the SALT Retreat, the Student Affairs Assessment Council gathered and summarized data points, literature reviews, and other relevant artifacts to help inform the educational priority and the subsequent curriculum.  According to Brown, “A curriculum is not merely a schema of categories and check boxes. It is a researched, developed, and scaffolded system that can take years to develop and hone,” Brown, 2020). 

As we begin the journey to a Curricular Approach, there will be many opportunities for staff engagement in this multi-year implementation process.  Please stay tuned on ways to get involved once the educational priority has been determined.


Brown, P. B. (2020), Developing a co-curricular learning model: Residential curriculum and curricular approaches in Student Affairs and residence life work,

Kerr, K. G., Edwards, K. E., Tweedy, J., Lichterman, H. L., & Knerr, A. R. (2020). The curricular approach to student affairs: A revolutionary shift for learning beyond the classroom. Stylus. 

Bettina Shuford, Associate VC for Student Engagement

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