The Office of Residence Life provides support and opportunities that allow students to determine what it means to be in community with others and their responsibility in its development and evolution as empowered leaders.
Our work for learning in the residence halls is grounded in the research and theory of Self-Determination as developed by Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, as well as Marcia Baxter-Magolda’s learning and development theory of Self-Authorship. Staff partners with students living in residence halls to meet the needs assumed by self-determination theory while grappling with the essential questions of “who am I”; “how do I know”; and “how do I want to construct relationships with others” (Baxter Magolda). Understanding that “self determination is a combination of skills, knowledge, and beliefs that enable a person to engage in goal-directed, self-regulated, autonomous behavior” (Field, Martin, Miller, Ward, & Wehmeyer, 1998, p. 2), Residence Life provides a comprehensive map for the ways in which we not only create and build community in the residence halls, but the conditions in which we set up space for students to learn and explore with one another as they make meaning of their time at William & Mary.
Students engage with learning strategies such as community agreements, shared living expectations conversations, and community council engagement to exercise and develop a self-determined sense of self, and have clarity of beliefs, identity, and social relationships within the context of community (Baxter Magolda).