Here’s How Academic Deans Simplify Curriculum Management

By April 5, 2016 No Comments

As an academic dean in higher education, you probably have responsibility for ensuring your curriculum supports your institutional mission, addresses the needs of your learners, and satisfies the requirements of multiple accrediting bodies. Curriculum differentiates your institution and can be a key deciding factor for students applying to college and university. You know how important it is, but how do you make time for curriculum management, when you’re also required to staff your division, evaluate teaching, manage budgets, negotiate grade disputes, supervise administrative staff, oversee grants and contracts, and participate in institutional governance?

Every institution of higher education has a process for proposing, approving and modifying curriculum for courses and programs. This process often includes a set of forms, a series of meetings, a chain of approval relationships, and a system for maintaining records and documenting decisions. This ‘system’ can be a convoluted combination of paper forms, email conversations, spreadsheets for tracking progress, and some kind of shared document storage where stakeholders try to maintain continuity across versions. The complexity becomes a burden when it’s time to create catalogs and schedules or develop accreditation reports. Sound familiar?  Here are some other situations you may have encountered:

  • Accreditors request your curriculum and you can’t locate the latest versions.
  • Instructors modify your .doc forms and there’s no consistency across your division.
  • Some instructors will only use paper forms, others use email or refuse to manage curriculum on designated shared drives. (Your files have names like HIST231Jenkins2016ReallyFinalEdit.doc)
  • You’re modifying your General Ed core, but can’t figure out who approved the proposal last and whether it will get through the right channels before the next curriculum meeting.
  • Your new grant funded program needs to start enrolling in the fall, but your program approval process is so lengthy, you won’t be able to get it in the schedule on time.
  • You’re ‘technically’ on an annual program review cycle, but you don’t even know where to look to discover when programs and courses were last approved.
  • You’ve implemented global/institutional outcomes, but you have no way to search all your course and program documents to understand how the outcomes are being applied.

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The Kuali Student team spends hours each week listening to stories like these from academic administrators who are frustrated because this critical professional responsibility is such a huge logistical burden. We’ve worked with institutions like the University of Toronto, Coventry University, University of Hawaii system, Stellenbosch University, Northwest University, Southern New Hampshire University and the University of Washington to design a cloud-based solution to reduce the frustration. Kuali Curriculum Management (CM) is an online application that lets you create, submit and approve proposals, modify curriculum, and manage your course and program inventory from any device with an internet connection.

CM forms are configured to match the unique data collection requirements of your institution. You determine the fields your proposers must complete for courses, programs and learning experiences. Set form fields as required or optional. Add field descriptions to help your proposers understand the information requested by the form. The proposal process is simple enough for even your most technically challenged instructors. Type in the Search field to instantly locate the latest version of a course, or click the button to add a new one.

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Once a proposal has been submitted, approvers are notified when it’s their turn to review the submission. View your action list, visit the proposal and approve or reject it, with comments explaining your decision. The proposal will move to the next approver and you can easily follow the flow right on the screen. If you’re concerned about a bunch of proposals, like your new fall curriculum, put them in a Proposal Group and quickly check the status of the entire batch.

From a leadership perspective, you probably want to know more about the status of your courses and programs. Kuali CM analytics provide reports that help you quickly determine the status and also visualize things like the balance between number of courses in particular subject codes, or between graduate and undergraduate curriculum. You can also easily view and report on outcomes alignment between courses, programs and institutional outcomes or competencies. Accreditation reporting is a breeze with all the data in a single location!

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We know it’s not easy being dean. We listen to your challenges each day as we work to simplify administrative processes for colleges and universities.

We’d love to show you how academic deans simplify curriculum management at our customer and partner institutions. Please get in touch for a personal consultation and demonstration. Or register for our next webinar, “Eliminating CM Paper Trails and Hassles,” on May 17th at 1:00 ET.

Author Laura Kvinge

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