formerly the Residential Curriculum Institute (RCI)

15 - 17 October 2018 | Chicago, Illinois
Lodging at the Westin O'Hare

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Conference Overview

The 12th annual Institute on the Curricular Approach (ICA), formerly the Residential Curriculum Institute (RCI), will challenge you to rethink the practices and grounding philosophies of student learning and student success beyond the classroom.

The 12th annual Institute will take place Monday, October 15, 2018 – Wednesday, October 17, 2018 in Chicago, IL. This year we formally recognize the broader applicability of the Approach by changing the name of the institute from the Residential Curriculum Institute to the Institute on the Curricular Approach. We continue to see more and more colleagues apply this Approach in functional areas beyond residential life and as entire student affairs divisions. This name change formally recognizes that shift in interest from participants and acknowledges the applicability of the Approach to all learning beyond the classroom.

Through participation in the ACPA ICA, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Explain the rationale for a Curricular Approach to learning beyond the classroom;
  • Implement the 10 Essential Elements of a Curricular Approach;
  • Develop the components of a curricular approach;
  • Design, implement, and assess a curricular ;
  • Effectively navigate organizational change related to shifting to a curricular approach

A Curricular Approach (CA) is a paradigm shift from traditional educational approaches to an intentional, developmentally sequenced one, defined by institutional mission and purpose.  Staff members using a CA first identify clear learning goals and outcomes grounded in the history, culture, mission, and purpose of each institution. Then staff members identify student engagement strategies that can provide opportunities for students to achieve these learning goals and outcomes. Goals are sequenced, pedagogy rooted in scholarship of teaching and learning, and campus partners incorporated from throughout the institution. A CA uses assessment to inform a process of continuous improvement.

Kerr, K. G., Tweedy, J., Edwards, K. E. and Kimmel, D. (2017), Shifting to Curricular Approaches to Learning beyond the Classroom. About Campus, 22: 22-31.

Shifting to using a Curricular Approach is not superficial nor is it simply utilizing learning outcomes to guide programming. A Curricular Approach requires a new way to think about student learning and a refined leadership mindset. A curricular approach utilizes these 10 Essential Elements.

Kerr, K. G., Tweedy, J., Edwards, K. E. and Kimmel, D. (2017), Shifting to Curricular Approaches to Learning beyond the Classroom. About Campus, 22: 22-31.

More about the ICA:

This learning experience is an institute and not a conference. Sessions are organized and sequenced for professionals who are first-time attendees and returning attendees. Each session is presented by two institute faculty. Each session is also sequenced with learning outcomes and abstracts to create an integrated, developmentally sequenced, experience for the participants. Showcases are also offered from a variety of institutional sizes and types to give concrete examples of how a curricular approach can be implemented consistently across campuses but also tailored for each unique campus context. Whether it is your first Institute or your twelfth, you will leave inspired with new insights, new collegial connections, new examples and innovations, and new energy. We have representatives from all sizes and types of institutions who have benefited from the Institute experience. Come and learn with us!

Demographics of institute participants (based on 2017 institute evaluation data):

Team Attendance

     Years Attending RCI

Attended without a team

      First time attendee

Attended with two to five colleagues

      Returning attendee

Attended with more than six colleagues


Why Send a Team?

Consistently, some of the best feedback we receive from participants is from those who attended as members of an institutional team. While individual attendance is perfectly fine, if you can bring a team, we encourage it! Time is built into the schedule to reflect, brainstorm, and consult with faculty about your curricular approach.

Tentative Schedule

Sunday, October 14

3:00 – 5:30 p.m.    Registration

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.    Institute Faculty Meeting


Monday, October 15

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.     Registration    

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.    Breakfast

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.    Opening and Welcome

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.    Plenary

10:30 - 10:45 a.m.    Break

10:45 – 11:45 a.m.    Institutional Showcase            

11:45 – 12:00 p.m.    Q and A         

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.    Lunch

1:00 – 2:15 p.m.    Session #1

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.    Break

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.    Session #2

4 – 4:30 p.m.    Faculty Consult Block #1

4:45 – 5: 15 p.m.    Faculty Consult Block #2

6:00 – 9:00 p.m.     Institute Reception


Tuesday, October 16


7:30 – 8:30 a.m.    Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.    Session #3            

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.     Showcase #1

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.    Break

11:15 – 12:15 p.m.    Showcase #2

12:15 – 1:00 p.m.    Institute Lunch

1:00 – 2:15 p.m.    Keynote #1 and Q&A

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.    Session #4

3:45 – 4:00 p.m.    Break

4:00 – 5:00 p.m.    Showcase #3

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.    Faculty Consult Block # 3

6:00 p.m.        Night on The Town


Wednesday, October 17

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.    Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45 a.m.    Session #5

9:45 – 10:00 a.m.    Break

10:00 – 11:15 a.m.    Keynote #2

11:15 – 12:00 p.m.    Closure Experience

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.    Institute Lunch

For travel purposes, the Institute begins early morning on Monday, October 15, 2018 and ends after lunch on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. We suggest that attendees arrive on Sunday and book flights that depart after 3pm on Wednesday, October 17.


Adrianna Kezar headshotAdrianna Kezar

Professor for Higher Education and co-director of the Pullias Center for Higher Education
University of Southern California

Dr. Kezar is a national expert of student success, equity and diversity, the changing faculty, change, governance and leadership in higher education. Kezar is well published with 18 books/monographs, over 100 journal articles, and over a hundred book chapters and reports. Recent books include: Envisioning the faculty of the 21 st century (2016, Routledge), How Colleges Change (2013) (Routledge Press), Enhancing Campus Capacity for Leadership (Stanford Press, 2011) and Organizing for collaboration (Jossey Bass, 2009). She is the project director for the Delphi Project on the changing faculty and student success and was just awarded a grant from the Teagle Foundation to reward institutions that better support faculty and create new faculty models.

laura redon headshotLaura I. Rendón

Professor Emerita
University of Texas-San Antonio

Laura I. Rendón is a student advocate, education scholar and consultant. A native of Laredo, Texas, Rendón’s work has focused on reducing educational inequalities connected to college access, persistence and graduation of low-income, first-generation students. Rendón developed “validation theory,” which has been extensively employed by scholars and educational organizations as the framework to work with underserved student populations.  

Rendón is also a teaching and learning thought leader in the area of contemplative education. She is the author of the book, Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking Pedagogy): Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation. Further, Rendón is author or editor of numerous books, journal articles and practice and policy papers, including her new book (edited with Vijay Kanagala) The Latino Student Guide to STEM Careers.  

Rendón is currently Professor Emerita and Co-Director of the Center for Research and Policy in Education at University of Texas-San Antonio. She is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and former Fellow of the Fetzer Institute. Rendón is also on the Board of the John N Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. In 2013 the Texas Diversity Council awarded Rendón the title of being one of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas. Rendon’s archives can be found at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection Library, University of Texas-Austin.