Implementing Intentional Conversations into Your Residence Life & Curriculum Work

Implementing Intentional Conversations into Your Residence Life & Curriculum Work
ACPA Commission for Housing and Residence Life Sponsored Program
Monday, March 12 | 4:00-5:00p | 342E
Presenters: Dr. Paul Brown & Dr. Hillary Lichterman

Staff in departments of housing and residence life are changing the way they approach educational initiatives within residential communities.  Influenced, in part, by the rise of the curricular approach to student learning beyond the classroom, many campuses have moved away from traditional programming models towards the recognition and utilization of various diversified strategies for engaging students.  One strategy that has grown increasingly popular is the use of guided, 1-on-1, peer conversations.  These intentional interactions, or intentional conversations, are a means of connecting with students individually and contextualizing learning to a student’s unique needs and situations.

During our session at the 2018 ACPA Convention, we will unpack the concept of “intentionality” and discuss the benefits and challenges of using intentional conversations as an educational strategy. Advice and resources will be shared on how to implement effective interactions through intentionally developed guides and prompts.  Furthermore, we will explore how transitioning to this approach can impact staff selection and training as well as assessment techniques. Continue reading


On Fishbowls, Role Modeling, & Self-Care by Sandie Downs, M.A.

fishbowl blog

At last, the end of the year has come or is closer than ever.  In residence life, we often like to celebrate the accomplishments of the last year through banquets and award ceremonies.  Working with student leadership groups, I had the opportunity to watch the National Residence Hall Honorary recognize others with their “fishbowl”: a literal candy-filled fishbowl given to the residence hall that has written the most “Of the Month” awards (a recognition tool used by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls). It’s a fun tradition, and although the candy tends to disappear in a few short minutes, the image of a fishbowl is something that has long been in my mind. Continue reading

(Re)imagining Theory-to-Practice in Residential Education

ACPA Commission for Housing and Residence Life Sponsored Program
Tuesday, March 28| 10:00a-12:15p | Convention Center B234
Presenters: Reginald Blockett, Arian Bryant, Kelly Hennessy

Enjoy learning about theory? Are you always looking for ways to incorporate theory into your practice? Do you want to learn about how student development theory has evolved over time? Research encourages incorporating theory into higher education and student affairs practice and as educators we are always examining how this is actually occurring on campuses. Using residence life as a context and by bringing together graduate students, scholar-practitioners, and faculty, ACPA will offer a session that will (Re)imagine theory-to-practice in residential education. This session will generate new insights into how a diverse group of educators actively foster a theory-to-practice culture across multiple institutional contexts. Continue reading

Activating the Potential for Student Bystander Intervention on Campus by Laura Stiltz Dahl

ACPA Commission for Housing and Residence Life Sponsored Program
Monday, March 27 | 12:45-1:45p | Convention Center C162AA
Presenter: Laura Stiltz Dahl, MEd

Most college and university administrators know their campuses are “at-risk” environments for sexual misconduct (McMahon, 2010).  Research suggests that 1 in 5 women, 1 in 16 men, and nearly 1 in 4 students identifying as transgender or gender non-conforming experience sexual and partner violence while in college (Cantor, et al., 2015; Krebs, Lindquist, Warner, Fisher, & Martin, 2007), with most campus assaults involving alcohol and occurring in social settings such as residence halls or fraternities (Abbey, Ross, McDuffie, & McAulens, 1996; Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2001; Messman-Moore, Coates, Gaffey, & Johnson, 2008).

Since more than 50% of survivors do not report because they believe the event was not “serious enough,” college campuses need to do more to prevent campus sexual assault as well as create a campus environment supportive of survivors.

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Engaged Feedback in Supervision: Utilizing Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly Engaged Feedback Checklist by Bianca Hicks

Screenshot 2016-05-02 16.10.30Evaluation season can be a nerve-wracking time of the year for employees. For those in Residence Life and Housing, it is all encompassing as there’s a wide-range of areas to assess one’s growth and success. For student and professional staff alike, knowing a performance evaluation is ahead can sometimes bring self-doubt and general uncertainty and anxiety. One’s perspective of feedback can make or break the outcome of a conversation involving feedback. One of my favorite tools in my supervisory tool belt is Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly Engaged Feedback Checklist from her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. This 10 item checklist is essential to the supervisory experience; when utilized properly, conversations involving constructive feedback happen with significantly greater ease.

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Stonecatchers: The power of empathy in supervision by Laura Arroyo


Over the past 10+ years working within higher education, I have had the distinct pleasure to serve on a number of professional opportunities outside of my immediate area of practice in Residence Life. Without question, one of the most defining experiences has been serving as the student life representative on the first year common read committee at Elon University.

First year common read programs, when done well, can be incredibly impactful to creating a cohort experience for first year students upon their arrival to college, and at Elon which is a small private, liberal arts college, this is definitely the goal. Elon’s common read selection is chosen based on books which are nominated for selection by all faculty, staff, students, and alumni; just about anyone connected with the university can nominate a book. The Elon common read committee itself is made up of faculty, staff and students, and ultimately it has one fixed, salient goal— to choose a meaningful book that will resonate with students, staff and faculty across disciplines, one not only culturally relevant, but also forward moving in spirit and design.

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Sponsored Program: Reinventing Roles: Shaping the Story of a Department Re-Organization

The Commission for Housing and Residential Life will be highlighting our six sponsored programs in preparation for convention in Tampa. The fifth program to be highlighted is:

Reinventing Roles: Shaping the Story of a Department Re-Organization

In 2010, Indiana State University’s President relocated Residential Life out of Student Affairs and into Academic Affairs as a way to increase the department’s focus on student success and completion. Over the past 4 years, this new re-organization has impacted the institution, along with its students, staff and faculty, in significant ways. This session will discuss the rationale for the organizational change as well as explore the challenges, outcomes, and opportunities that have resulted from this unusual alignment.

Amanda R Knerr, Indiana State University
Jessica Robinson, Indiana State University
Lindsay Peck, Indiana State University

Put it on your convention calendar!

Saturday, March 7, 2015
5 – 6 PM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Meeting Room 4

Sponsored Program: Living-Assessing-Learning: Re-Creating the National Study of Living Learning Programs (NSLLP)

The Commission for Housing and Residential Life will be highlighting our six sponsored programs in preparation for convention in Tampa. The fourth program to be highlighted is:

Living-Assessing-Learning: Re-Creating the National Study of Living Learning Programs (NSLLP)


The NSLLP is a survey theoretically constructed from data gathered from 600 living learning programs at post-secondary institutions across the country. Building upon elements of this survey, we recast it, using an assessment and utility-in-practice as opposed to a research framework. In this session, we will explore how the new survey was designed with practitioner needs in mind. To this end, we will workshop the survey, to solicit specific feedback from practitioners—a critically important step in empirically-based survey design.


Matthew Mayhew, New York University
Ethan Youngerman, New York University
Marc A Lo, New York University

Put it on your convention calendar!
Saturday, March 7, 2015
9:30 – 10:30 AM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Meeting Room 9

Sponsored Program: “The View” from the Director’s Chair in Residential Life

The Commission for Housing and Residential Life will be highlighting our six sponsored programs in preparation for convention in Tampa. The third program to be highlighted is:

“The View” from the Director’s Chair in Residential Life

View from the Director's Chair

Are you ready to climb up the ladder or make a move that is right for you? Mid-level professionals who plan to move toward a director position will need to think through the competencies and experiences necessary to assume this important role. This interactive session, hosted by housing directors, will touch on finding the right fit, understanding the big picture and campus political environments, and managing people. Participants will leave with an action plan for working towards a director position.

Troy Seppelt, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Amanda Knerr, Illinois State University
Charlie Potts, Gustavus Adolphus College

Put it on your convention calendar!
Friday, March 6, 2015
8 – 9 AM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Meeting Room 9