Advice on Effective Curriculum Transformation*
* This advice is based on the work of campuses in AAC&U's American Commitments project.
- Ground recommended curricular changes in the larger mission or diversity statements adopted by your college or university.
- Be clear about the expected learning goals for diversity courses. Recognize that there are multiple goals for learning about diversity, and take the time to collectively identify priorities important for your students and your community.
- Build cross-departmental coalitions early in the process of developing recommended curricular changes. Involve students in curricular change efforts.
- Make faculty development that includes both study and dialogue a separate and essential commitment.
- Think about assessment early. Pilot test any newly required courses. For required courses, develop carefully defined criteria that courses must meet to fulfill the requirement. Develop course approval and ongoing assessment processes to ensure that programs have continuing integrity and support.
- Explore how curriculum can be strengthened by links to student-life programming.
- Recognize both the campus community and the neighboring community as important sites for learning.
- Effectively communicate to students and faculty members why students are required to take diversity courses. Put clear language in course catalogs. Explain requirements to students in freshman orientation programs. Develop orientations for new faculty.
- Be aware of potential unintended consequences. The climate in the classroom changes radically when a course becomes "required." Be sure faculty members are prepared for these changes. Incorporate pedagogical issues into faculty development efforts.
back to top