Retriever Residential Experience

Educational Priority and Framework

Co-creating experiences with students is essential to the mission of our university, division, and department. Founded on restorative practices and a vision of community engagement and civic literacy, the Residential Curriculum at UMBC engages students in skill development and learning toward the creation of positive change in the UMBC community and beyond.  Considering this, our educational priority is:

As a result of living with Residential Life at UMBC, students will engage as high achieving, responsible members of their current and future communities.

Five Principles of UMBC Residential Life

These five principles frame how we approach building and engaging in community within Residential Life at UMBC:

  1. Prioritize connection before content
  2. Lead “with”, not “for” or “to” others
  3. Promote responsibility by balancing high accountability and high support
  4. Use fair process to make inclusive decisions
  5. Value community, which requires commitment, and community standards

Restorative Practices As a Foundation

Restorative Practices is a form of democratic dialogue, which at its core, is about relationships within communities. This includes teaching students skills for being in relationship with their peers, understanding obligations that exist based on community needs, and the responsibility to engage as a community to repair harms caused within those relationships.  Through collaborative processes, Residential Life professional and student staff use restorative strategies explicitly and in practical ways that elicit healthy residential community conversations where mutual respect and accountability flourish. Residents are taught how to resolve and understand conflict and tensions and differences in respectful ways that engenders trust, empathy, responsibility, and fosters healthy relationships.

Learning Goals and Outcomes

Building Community

Connection, community building, and collaborative endeavors build social capital and contribute to a positive climate within communities. Residential students will:

  • Explain the importance of connection in building community
  • Demonstrate understanding of restorative practices through facilitation and/or active participation in restorative circles and meetings
  • Use affective statements as a tool for community building and maintenance

Restorative Leadership

Restorative leaders work collaboratively with others and seek to develop self-efficacy, commitment, and engagement within the communities they are leading. Residential students will:

  • Recognize the importance of investing in authentic relationships with others in community
  • Prioritize upholding community standards within their community
  • Hold community members accountable to commitments within their community
  • Identify their personal leadership values

Conflict Transformation

Healthy conflict is an important part of community wellbeing, and the ability to navigate conflict and recognize the impact that one’s actions have on others is a critical part of community membership. Residential students will:

  • Identify the role of emotion in a conflict situation and conflict resolution process.
  • Reflect on the connection between affect and emotion in the experience of conflict and wrongdoing
  • Communicate the connection between an underlying cause, an emotion, and feeling in their conflict management approach
  • Recognize the positive and negative impact that their actions have on community

Just and Inclusive Communities

Restorative practices can serve as a blueprint for the creation of a more just and inclusive community.  Through inclusive decision making, education, and reflective practice, residents will seek to create inclusive communities. Specifically, residential students will:

  • Recognize the value of making decisions in a way that includes community members
  • Consider multiple perspectives, identities, and contexts
  • Distinguish between dialogue that allows for multiple perspectives to be heard and dialogue that suppresses other’s perspectives and experiences

What We Do:

Below are a snapshot of ways that students engage with Residential Life in order to reach these outcomes:

  • Interact Program
  • Bulletin Boards
  • Newsletters
  • Lobby Tabling
  • Community Town Halls
  • Health and Safety Inspections
  • Floor Meeting
  • Setting Community Standards
  • Community Building Circles
  • Restorative Circles
  • Retriever Chats
  • Roommate Agreement Meetings
  • Roommate Mediations
  • Student Led Initiatives
  • Critical/Deliberative Dialogue
  • Fun Programming
  • Late Night Collaboration
  • Social Change Initiatives
  • Study@Home Program
  • Faculty Mentor Initiatives and Programming