Date of Award

December 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership - Higher Education

Committee Member

Michelle L Boettcher

Committee Member

Tony Cawthon

Committee Member

Jacquelynn Malloy

Committee Member

Rachel Wagner


Since their emergence at colleges and universities, student affairs and housing and residence life (HRL) administrators have continuously evolved their role on campus. Foundational documents challenged administrators to engage in student learning to support institutions’ missions and bridge the gap with academic affairs.

The emergence of the Curriculum Model (CM) provides a framework for professionals in HRL to this work. The CM extends learning beyond the classroom and formalizes it by developing learning goals and outcomes, educational strategies, facilitation guides, and learning assessment with rubrics. To effectively implement a CM, practitioners must acknowledge their roles as educators and seek intentional opportunities to build meaningful relationships with students to guide learning.

Implementing a CM is a paradigm shift for staff as they complete tasks previously unfamiliar to them. Educators must develop their own internal conception of being an educator and leverage learning partners to build confidence and efficacy in the model. The goal of this case study is to explore experiences of professional live-in educators at one HRL department implementing a CM. Research questions include: 1. How do live-in staff in housing and residence life that implement a Curriculum Model see themselves as educators for students? 2. In what ways are live-in educators in housing and residence life supported through learning partnerships to implement curricular-based learning? Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, group observations, and document analysis. Baxter Magolda and King’s (2004) Learning Partnerships Model served as a theoretical framework. Participants drew from internal passions for learning and teaching. They compared their work academic teaching and created scaffolded meaningful learning experiences for students. As educators, they recognized a deeper purpose to their work. The departmental environment created an environment that supported participants through resources, partnerships, and supportive relationships of supervisors and peers. Participants thrived in opportunities to contribute significant adaptations to the curriculum based on their knowledge and expertise. Effective communication supported participant growth, and external challenges inhibited development.

Implications may inform (1) practice of HRL departments to create support for professionals acquiring competency in a CM, (2) midlevel supervisors on ways to engage entry-level staff within a curricular approach, and (3) professional and graduate staff in developing strategies to identify learning partners build skills toward work within a curricular framework.



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