EDL 301: Student Development in the Residence Halls (1 credit hour)

Fall Semester 2014

Tuesday: 2:15-3:55

McGuffey 416, Miami University

“Unless we give part of ourselves away, unless we can live with other people and understand them and help them, we are missing the most essential part of our own lives.” Howard Taylor

Name:Erik Sorensen / Mike Maude / Nathan Lutz
Title: Assistant Director - ORL / Third Year RA / Third Year RA
Office: Warfield 204 / 847-687-9951 / 614-464-7485
Phone: 9-4002 / /

Course Introduction:

The Office of Residence Life has established the following learning objectives for EDL 301. As a result of this course, students will:

  • Understand the residential curriculum and its application
  • Develop an appreciation of diversity and an understanding of social justice concepts
  • Explore personal identity, leadership styles, values, and ethical decision making
  • Develop strategies to build community
  • Learn the appropriate way to handle a crisis situation
  • Understand job responsibilities and be able to prioritize appropriately
  • Be aware of campus issues and resources available to provide internal and external support

In addition to the ORL objectives, this class is intended to provide a safe and open environment for you to discuss what is happening in your communities, on campus, and in your life. Our expectation is that participants come prepared to be engaged in honest conversation with peers and instructor(s) and participate in both group and individual projects, papers, and other assignments. This class is a grade-baring academic course which upholds standards set by the Educational Leadership Department and Office of Residence Life at Miami University, and it is expected that upon completing this class, participants will have stronger written, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills. Together, we will work to establish an environment that is inclusive of multiple experiences, values systems and points of view. It is expected that all viewpoints and ideas are respected even if they differ from your personal values.

Course Expectations:

  • Attend class weekly
  • Be respectful: listen to others talking

  • Come prepared: reading/assignments completed
  • Connect with your fellow staff members

  • Ask questions
  • Participate
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Arrive on time


Part of your responsibility is to arrive for class prepared and ready for discussion. Another expectation is for you to be respectful of your peers and instructor(s) and arrive for class on time.

This course will meet eight times. Attendance will be taken every class period. You are expected to attend each and every class session. For excused absences, you must request to be excused via email within 24 hours of the absence. Every unexcused absence will result in your final grade being lowered one letter grade. For example, if you are earning an “A” and miss one class unexcused, your grade will be dropped to a “B”. Absences will be excused at the instructor(s)’s discretion.

Required Text

There is no required textbook for this course. All supplemental readings will be provided for you in an electronic format by your instructor. Please contact your instructor if you require the readings in an alternative format.


All papers and projects must be submitted on time and at the beginning of the class period. Late Assignments will receive a 20% point reduction if turned in within 48-hours of the initial due date. All assignments should include name and date in the upper right-hand corner.

Unless requested or approved by the instructor(s), assignments that are emailed will not be accepted. A hardcopy is required for each assignment (use your best discretion). The only exception is for assignments that are due during a class for which the student has prior approval for an absence.

Writing Competency

Assignments should be typed, stapled,doubled spaced, printed on white paper and with 12-point font (Times New Roman, Calibri, or another standard font). Please use one-inch margins. Your course work should demonstrate a working command of the English language including correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure. You must edit and proofread your work prior to submitting it. Writing competency is expected in all assignments. If you need assistance with your writing skills, see the Howe Writing center at

Evaluation of Work

Grades, in part, gauge how well you have learned and applied course material. Although a grade will be assigned for all work, you should track your learning and set a high quality standard for your own academic work. Your work will be evaluated based on your demonstration of critical thinking and effective communication.

Your grade will be based on the following: %

Attendance/Participation...... 40 points93-100A

Facilitated Discussion...... 15 points90-92A-

Reflections (6 total, 10 points each)...... 60 points87-89B+

Crisis Inventory...... 10 points83-86B

Corridor Sociogram Project...... 40 points80-82B-

Exploration Project...... 50 points77-79C+ 73-76 C

215 points total

A grade of “C” is the minimal grade needed to pass this class and to maintain your position

as a Resident Assistant for the Office of Residence Life.


Conversations, stories, and/or personal experiences should not be shared with those outside of class. Out of respect for others in class and the classroom of learners, confidentiality is of utmost importance.

Academic Accommodations

It is the policy and practice of Miami University to make reasonable accommodations for students with properly documented disabilities. Written notification from the Office of Disability Resources is required. If you are eligible to receive academic accommodations and would like to request it for this course, please discuss this with your instructor(s). If you have any questions about receiving academic accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Resources (19 Campus Avenue Building) or the Office of Learning Assistance (14 Campus Avenue Building).

Academic Dishonesty

Scholastic dishonesty is a serious matter. Miami University will not tolerate any form of academic dishonesty. You should know the particulars of what constitutes scholastic dishonesty. You can find them in The Student Handbook, misconduct policy (Chapter 5, 1.5A-1.5B). The following tips might be useful as you consider how to approach this course. You should take risks, attend class and be prepared, ask questions, and be a helpful critic. You must be an active participant in everyone’s learning experiences. If there is a topic you would like to discuss, let an instructor(s) know and we will decide as a class whether to incorporate it. So, if the syllabus is modified, it will be because we have mutually agreed that the changes are beneficial. Therefore it is your responsibility to help identify what you want to learn and decide on ways to learn it. The most powerful learning comes from the questions you ask rather than the answers you hear. Learning in a class setting is a collective responsibility, which requires you to read, think, listen, question, reformulate and critique. You are expected to assume your share of it.

Course Assignments

Attendance/Participation – (5 pts. per week; 40 points total)

It is expected that you attend and actively participate in each class. There are a total of 40 points available should you show an effort to be engaged in discussion and in-class activities. If you miss class you are unable to participate and thus will lose your points for that day. If your absence has been excused by the instructor(s), you will be given an opportunity to complete a make-up assignment to earn the missed points. Refer to the Attendance policy for more information.Absences will be excused at the instructor(s)’s discretion. It is in your best interest to attend every class session.

Facilitated Discussion – (15 points)

Good facilitation skills are essential to the successful resident assistant. To help you improve and hone your facilitation skills, you will be facilitating a discussion in class around a pre-determined topic or reading. While some students may facilitate alone, most students will be leading the discussion in pairs or small groups of two. The discussion topics are listed below and will be assigned during week one. You will be graded according to your preparation for the discussion and ability to facilitate in-depth discussion around the topic.

  • Week Two: Community Standards and Agreements ______& ______
  • Week Three: Academic Integrity ______& ______
  • Week Four: The Bystander Effect ______& ______
  • Week Five: Gender Socialization ______& ______
  • Week Six: Privilege on Miami University’s Campus ______& ______
  • Week Seven: Conducting Civil Conversations Around Difference ______& ______

Reflections – (10 points per journal; 60 points total)

The goal of this assignment is to encourage critical thinking and personal reflection. The reflections will ask you to respond to a question or series of questions to help you more deeply think about either course topics or your personal values and reactions. The format of the reflection is open and could range from a formal, written reflection to a poem to a video – consult with your instructor on what genera or media you wish to use for your reflection. If written, the reflection is expected to be one to two pages in length. A comprehensive list of the reflection topics are is listed below.

Reflection Prompts:

  • Reflection One (in class): Think back to training – what was this experience like for you? How were you challenged by training? What topics do you wish you had learned about or would like to learn more about?
  • Reflection Two: Track your life for a week – complete a schedule of activities/commitments and come prepared to speak about it in class
  • Reflection Three: Have you ever witnessed someone being a passive bully or been one yourself? Think of a time when you could have benefited by someone speaking up about an injustice rather than just ignoring it or expecting someone else to take care of it.
  • Reflection Four: Do you feel that gender stereotypes have influenced your life? In what ways?
  • Reflection Five: Based on the in-class activity in Week 6, reflect on an aspect of your personal identity that gives you privilege. What is this identity? When did you become aware that this gave you privilege? How does this aspect of privilege make you feel? What can you do to extend this privilege to others?
  • Reflection Six: Spend some time reflecting on your time in EDL 301 over the past few weeks. How can you apply this knowledge to the RA position?

Crisis Inventory – Due Week 3 (10 points)

The purpose of this assignment, distributed to you during RA training, is to help you assess your comfort level with potential crisis situations. Once you complete the assessment, it is your responsibility to set aside some time with your supervisor (possibly during a one on one) to discuss your assessment and to brainstorm ways in which you can gain information to become more comfortable in confronting the situations listed. Your supervisor must then sign your Crisis Inventory sheet to indicate to your instructor that the discussion has been had. A signature must be received in order to receive credit for this assignment. (BCDs)

Corridor Sociogram Project – Due Week 5 (40 points)

The purpose of this project is to determine how well you are getting to know your residents. It is to be used as a learning tool for you to determine which residents you are getting to know well and which you still need to learn more about. The assignment challenges you to develop a visual representation of your floor community in terms of sub-groupings and relationships among residents and to identify potential areas of concern. It also challenges you to reflect upon your community and the people within it.

Part I. The Community (10 points)

  1. Be creative in representing your communities attributes.
  2. On a large butcher size sheet of paper, which cannot be an 8.5 x 11 size of piece of paper (or label a prepared schematic) your corridor or apartment community including student rooms, bathrooms, lobby/lounges, etc.
  3. Identify the residents of each room/suite/apartments by writing their names in their room space.
  4. Identify the formal leaders (community council, RHA, etc.) by drawing circles around their names.
  5. Identify informal leaders – persons with no official position who exert either positive or negative influence on your area. Draw a square around the names.
  6. Draw a line connecting people who spend lots of time together (i.e. eating, watching TV, playing sports, hanging out). Use different colors or line patterns to distinguish different subgroups.
  7. Draw lines of most frequent interaction from the RA room to students’ rooms. Identify with a separate type of line students who visit the RA frequently.
  8. Identify where the roommate conflicts are occurring or may occur.
  9. What challenges or issues need to be dealt with right now?

Part II. The Developmental Identities (10 points)

  1. Identify individuals in your corridor or apartment community who: (use at least ten developmental identities, which should be reflected in your corridor)
  • prefer to be alone
  • are homesick
  • have family related issues
  • are struggling academically
  • are involved with Fraternity or Sorority life
  • involved in a student organization (i.e., community council, RHA, ASG)
  • have a significant other
  • might feel depressed
  • might have problems with alcohol
  • visiting the Rec Center
  • are skipping classes
  • have health problems
  • trouble finding a social outlet
  • YOU feel uncomfortable with
  • have discipline concerns
  • are significant noise makers
  • are struggling with their identity
  • and any other developmental issues or observations

Part III. Applying What You Have Learned (20 points)

Utilize the prompts listed below to reflect upon this activity in a 2-3 page paper. Questions 1, 2, and 3 are mandatory, any other question you choose to answer outside of the first three will pertain to your specific community.

  1. What are some of the goals or specific plans you have for your community for the entire semester?
  2. What is your role in relating to all the different subgroups on the corridor/apartment community?
  3. Which subgroups have the most impact on the atmosphere of the community? Is it positive or negative?
  4. Which subgroup represents the most diversity in people and behaviors?
  5. Which students do you have the most difficulty interacting with? Why?
  6. Which students are you have most concerned about?
  7. Which students do you need to have conversations with? To keep an eye on?
  8. How well does your corridor/apartment community reflect the kind of community you have hoped for?
  9. What else you have learned about the students by positively interacting with them?

Exploration Project – Two Steps – (50 points total)

As a group, you will participate in an immersion experience, whether on or off campus, that will challenge you to see beyond your own perspective. It is recommended that the group explore some aspect of diversity or interest that is different than your own identity and in which you have had little or no experience. It is highly recommended that each group chooses a different experience.

Part 1: Exploration Project Individual Proposals: due Week 2 (10 points)

Consider three events you wish to experience. Ultimately, you will only experience one of these events; however, to help determine group assignments, list three options. Please provide:

  • Your rationale for choosing to attend each event.
  • A brief explanation of how this experience will help expand your perspective of this topic/group.
  • What do expect to gain from this experience?
  • The date you are planning to attend/experience this event.

Make sure to plan ahead and determine if the event will take place or be available before the paper is due. This project should provide an opportunity for you to experience something new and different; it may make you feel a little uncomfortable to be out of your comfort zone and this is okay as long as you are not too uncomfortable.

Based on the class’ individual proposals, the instructor will match individuals with the same or similar interests into groups that will carry out the exploration project together.

Part 2: Group Presentation: due Week 7 or 8 (40 points)

In this 10-15 minute presentation, the group should be prepared to facilitate a discussion and educate the class on the event/experience attended. Be creative in your presentation, consider creating a pamphlet that describes the experience, make a PowerPoint with pictures, get the class involved with a game/trivia; think about what kind of presentation you would be interested in sitting through. Each member of the group is expected to be involved in the presentation in some way. The presentation should provide information regarding the following items (this is not a required list; feel free to add other pertinent information):

  • Description of the event/experience
  • Description of the population of the other participants at this event (not your group)
  • Why the group chose this particular event/experience
  • Any new information gained from attending this event
  • How this event/experience could be brought back to your communities
  • Impacts that this experience had on the group
  • Any additional information the class would or should know before attending/experiencing this event

Course Calendar

Week 1 – 9/2

Reflective Writing and Facilitation / Agenda & Learning Outcomes / Items Due
  • Review assignments & Residential Curriculum
  • Learn and practice reflective writing
  • Review and practice skills for effective facilitation
  • Reflection 1 (to be completed in class)

Week 2 – 9/9

Effective Community Engagement / Agenda & Learning Outcomes / Items Due
  • Community Standards/Agreements
  • Needs Assessment Model
  • Reflect on corridor/community so far
  • Developing Effective Community Engagement
  • Exploration Project Individual Proposal
  • Read: “Community and Diversity on Campus”

Week 3 – 9/16

Academic Success / Agenda & Learning Outcomes / Items Due
  • Discuss time management/wellness
  • Explore academic integrity
  • Reflect on personal strengths and weaknesses
  • Learn resources related to academic success at Miami University
  • Crisis Inventory

Week 4 – 9/23