Smarter curriculum reviews: using technology to empower better decision-making
Higher Ed institutions are having tough conversations these days. Over the past two weeks alone, I’ve read articles about one institution considering ending 55 separate programs spanning from associate’s to doctoral degrees. Another institution is considering transitioning its honors program to an honors college within the campus. Others are adding programs that either fit the needs of their communities or the strategic plans of their institutions – growing STEM programs or readying for an overseas program.
A process that leads to questions
There is an incredible amount of work and deliberation that happens around each one of these decisions – and each decision has huge implications. Naturally, there’s the impact on students and their ability to complete what they started. But there are also accreditation considerations and communication strategies ranging from announcing the changes to making sure those changes actually make it into the course catalog.
You already have the best process? Good
Is there a best practice for “Curriculum Review?” There is. It’s yours.
That’s right: Your process is the best practice. Let’s face it: You’re already talking about adding or deleting a program or a course. Why change the way you’re conducting your Curriculum Review at the same time? Too much change can be overwhelming and it sometimes results in resistance for resistance sake – which is counterproductive at best.
Sometimes, a better process might move slower
Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t make our respective “best practices” smarter. During a recent presentation, I heard a client talk about how her institution applied technology to Curriculum Review to slow the process down. As someone used to talking about how everything should go faster, I’ll be honest: I audibly gasped.
But as she went on to explain, San Juan College applied OnBase technology to the beginning and the end of its Curriculum Review process to make the routine parts move faster. The college also used it to gather information, enforce deadlines and automate communication about decisions. By doing so, San Juan College had more time to be that much more deliberate in its evaluation of curriculum changes.
Upon hearing this, I broke out into a big grin. By applying technology on the bookends of its process, San Juan College carved out more time for its staff to assess curriculum changes – you know, the part of the process that really only humans can do. I love that.
Higher Ed, I salute your courage to have these tough conversations that are vital for the health and growth of your institutions. I invite you to consider ways to make your Curriculum Review process smarter to deliberately give your faculty and staff the greatest amount of time possible to make the hard choices that affect the success of your students, and ultimately, your institution.